The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Learn Something New Everyday

Baseball Almanac - Hall of Fame Fast Facts

So I was wondering tonight if pitchers have a fair shot at getting in the Hall of Fame. Checking out the evening's box scores I realized that as good a pitcher as Mike Mussina is (he almost threw a six hit shutout and is 7-1), he isn't likely to get into the Hall of Fame. And the thought struck me that it must be really hard to get into the Hall of Fame as a pitcher. Such a player has to win a lot of games, avoid losing a lot of games, have a good number of strikeouts and shutouts and such, AND, (and this is key) help himself by winning some major championship caliber games -- playoffs and World Series. So I wondered, if 10-11 pitchers are on every 25-man roster, are a similar proportion in the Hall of Fame? Do pitchers have a similar likelihood of getting into the Hall of Fame given their frequency in the game? What would constitute evidence of bias?

But along the way to finding out, something else happened. I learned that trivia lovers record all kinds of statistics about the Hall, including, the number of inductees from each team. Guess which team has the most inductees?

Nope, not the Yankees. The Giants! And the funny thing is, it's not even close. 23 Giants players are in the Hall. The runner up is the Cardinals with 16. After that the Yankees have 15 and the Cubs (yes the Cubs!) have 14 to round out 4th place. The Cubs have as many players as the Negro Leagues. Which tells you something about the voting process and the influence of large media markets. How many Cubbies fans around the world think that players like Ron Santo, Dick Williams, and Dave Kingman are Hall of Fame material?

Now let's looks at team performance. The Yankees have lost more Series than all but four other teams have been in total. They have won 26 Championships. Overall, they have been in the Series 39 times. The Cubs have been in 10, which isn't shoddy, but have only won it all twice -- and we all know how long that's been. The Giants have been in 17 Series (3rd place on the all-time list) with a neck squeezing record of 5-12.

Go figure!

Oh, and the fraction of pitchers in the Hall? 31%

The fraction on a typical Major League roster? 44%

Peter King calls Derek Jeter the best ever?

Early favorites - NFL - Yahoo! Sports: "2. I think I said something to my bride the other night that I never thought I'd say about a New York Yankee. As many of you may have divined from this column over the years, that's not my favorite franchise on earth. Anyway, I said to her: I'm not sure about this, but I think when Derek Jeter retires, I will say he's the best baseball player I ever saw.

Living in Jersey, I see the man come to bat maybe 300 times a season, and I watch him in the field maybe 40 percent of his innings. But Jeter personifies effort every time he puts on the uniform; there is never anything but 100 percent effort. Every at-bat is quality. Every ball hit to him, and some only close to him, are gobbled up with certainty. And the way he carries himself ... He is baseball's Tiger Woods. He is this Yankee generation's DiMaggio. And I think he'll go down as better than Mantle, because though Mantle was truly great, he also squandered much of his ability through wild living."

That's pretty impressive praise for a guy who isn't the best fielder or hitter at his position on his own team. But one I completely agree with. The guy is just a winner through and through and I would take him over ARod on my real team (not fantasy) any day.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Had Enough?

Can someone make this into a bumper sticker already?

Had Enough? - Yahoo! News:

The Nation --

"Had Enough?

"It's a phrase Newt Gingrich adapted from an ad exec in 1946 and popularized. Now he's telling Democrats to use it against his own Party. For once, Democrats should heed Newt's advice."

Two Days in October

Excellent, excellent, moving documentary about events involving the Vietnam War both abroad and at home in 1967. Catch it on TV if you can or read the transcript here (click below). Dr. Maurice Zeitlin of the University of Wisconsin, Madison gives just about the most perfect take on that troubled time and the actions of men and women on both sides of the debate at home over the war.

American Experience Two Days in October Transcript PBS:

"Maurice Zeitlin: I have only respect for the men who fought in that war, because they didn't make the war, they didn't choose to fight in that war, but they accepted a responsibility that they thought was theirs as an American citizen, okay? They carried the burden of being an American citizen. When they were sent to war, they fought. And I carried the burden, not at all comparable, of being an American citizen by opposing that war. And I had the choice and they didn't. And, for that, I was privileged and they weren't, but we were both doing our duty."