Tag: Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt Blasts Jose Bautista’s Bat Flip, Antics

Add Mike Schmidt to the list of Hall of Famers not impressed with Jose Bautista’s celebratory antics. 

Penning a piece for the Associated Press outlining the contrasts of what’s acceptable celebratory behavior and what’s not, Schmidt criticized Bautista for flamboyantly flipping his bat after smashing a towering, tiebreaking home run that propelled the Toronto Blue Jays to the American League Championship Series last October:  

Why do so many players today feel the need to embellish their success with some sort of hand signal to the dugout? What got more attention in last year’s postseason than a bat toss by Jose Bautista? Pointing to the sky is child’s play compared to that moment in the postseason on national TV. A flagrant disrespect of the opponent like that would have gotten somebody hurt back in the day.

The onslaught of criticism Bautista fielded for the celebration prompted the star slugger to justify himself in an essay for the Players’ Tribune last November titled “Are You Flipping Kidding Me?”

Bautista credited his behavior to being in the heat of the moment. The Blue Jays were in the playoffs for the first time since 1993, and he was at the plate with two runners on and two outs with the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning. This was all coming in a Game 5 that sent the loser home. 

“There was no script. I didn’t plan it. It just happened. … It wasn’t out of contempt for the pitcher. It wasn’t because I don’t respect the unwritten rules of the game. I was caught up in the emotion of the moment,” Bautista wrote.

Here is a look at the mammoth home run, courtesy of MLB, which was arguably one of the defining moments of last year’s postseason:

Schmidt noted Bautista isn’t the only player who has violated such unwritten laws of respect, but his gesture was among the most glaring last year:

That’s the problem with these on-field displays, it shows a lack of respect for your opponent and the history of the game. But today there is a faction of players that say damn respect — that guy on the mound gestures to the dugout when he strikes me out, so why can’t I flip my bat on a home run? That’s a good point, I guess it does go both ways. But who wouldn’t agree Bautista crossed the line?

Schmidt, who sits 16th on the all-time home runs list with 548, was among the many old-schoolers who played under the unwritten rules of respect that he believes Bautista’s bat flip defied.

Yet even the three-time National League MVP couldn’t help himself in the colossal moment when he joined the 500 home run club, as relayed by Jonah Keri of CBS Sports, which he said was the one moment in his career when he showed the most emotion:

Schmidt and Bautista come from completely different upbringings.

The former was a college star at Ohio University and made his major league debut when Richard Nixon was in the White House. 

Bautista grew up in the Dominican Republic and struggled mightily in his early years before breaking out as an MVP-caliber player in Toronto. Some of those differences may account for the players’ varying approaches to the game.

Bautista has always been among this era’s most passionate players, and even though another iconic old-timer publicly voiced his displeasure, the six-time All-Star likely won’t change his style.  

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

A Baseball Trivia Question and an Homage to the Larry King Radio Show

Once upon a time, before CNN was born, Larry King hosted an all-night radio talk show. The show originated in Washington, D.C., and was syndicated across the USA. As far as over-night radio on the AM dial, Larry was the king of the airwaves.

The Larry King back then was not the kind and gentle, heart-healthy Larry King who we see on television today. The radio version of Larry was a curmudgeonly, sarcastic man who ate lots of pastrami and corned beef at Duke’s Deli (a D.C. legend) daily, while seemingly divorcing wives annually. 

Larry did not hesitate to blow off a caller who tried to get cute on the air. For that matter, he would diss callers whose agenda was too slow-paced for his liking. King was also known to take an occasional catnap on the air. This was not the show for lonely people with who loved kittens.

One early morn, I was searching for the light switch while my alarm radio was broadcasting the Larry King show. A caller announced that he had the greatest baseball trivia question of all time. Larry grunted and told the called to let it rip.

One area that Larry did not trifle was his appreciation of America’s pastime. Larry is a true-blue Dodger fan. 

I heard the question and not trusting my foggy head, I scrambled to find a pencil so I could record this when the rest of the world was up and about.

NOTE: This question to follow was posed in 1991. Three players have accomplished this feat since this question was broadcast. For the sake of this story, I will acknowledge the three newest members of this story on the next slide.  The trivia question is …

Nine baseball players have won consecutive MVP awards in Major League Baseball. Consequently, each of these ballplayers played a different defensive position. Name these players.

(Your hint is that each consecutive MVP’er played one of the nine infield/outfield positions in their award winning seasons.)


1)  Pitcher:  ____________________

2)  Catcher:  _____________________

3)  1st base:  _____________________

4)  2nd base:  ____________________

5)  3rd base:  ____________________

6)  Shortstop:  ______________________

7)  OF:  ____________________

8)  OF:  ____________________

9)  OF:  ____________________

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Grover Cleveland Alexander Might Have Been a Greater Phillie Than Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt is the overwhelming choice as the greatest Philadelphia Phillies player of all time. Steve Carlton is considered the greatest Phillies’ pitcher ever.

In a recent poll by a national newspaper, the players selected as the greatest Phillies were Richie Asburn, Steve Carlton, Ed Delahanty, Robin Roberts and Mike Schmidt. It was no contest as Schmidt received 64 percent of the votes. Carlton finished second with 22 percent.

A player who might have been the greatest of all Phillies was not even listed.

In 1911, 24-year-old Grover Cleveland Alexander joined the Phillies. He set a rookie record that will never be broken when he won 28 games. Alexander pitched 367 innings, had a 2.57 ERA and a 133 ERA+.

Alexander pitched for the Phillies from 1911-17. During those eight seasons, he was 190-88 with a 2.12 ERA and a 143 ERA+. He averaged 27 wins a season.

In 1915, “Pete” won 31 games as the Phillies won the pennant. He followed that by winning 33 games in 1916 and 30 in 1917.

During the offseason,  Phillies’ owner William Baker sent Alexander to the Chicago Cubs. The excuse was that the Phillies thought that Alexander would be drafted to help the imperialistic goals of Great Britain and the United States, but Baker admitted that the deal was made because he needed the money.

Steve Carlton played for the Phillies from 1972-86. He was 241-161 with a 3.04 ERA and a 123 ERA+.

A strong case can be made that Alexander, despite pitching for the Phillies for only eight seasons compared to Carlton’s 15, was the greater Phillies’ pitcher.

Alexander topped Carlton with respect to ERA, ERA+, games won, innings pitched, and wins per season. Carlton led the league in strikeouts five times. So did Alexander, but Alexander did it in five of his eight Phillies’ seasons.

Mike Schmidt is another story. He was a great defensive third baseman who hit 548 home runs. Schmidt batted .267/.380/.527 over 18 seasons, 16 of which were full seasons.

It is impossible to credit any player with the victory when his team wins, even the pitcher.

When Mike Schmidt hit a “game-winning” home run, we tend to ignore the contributions his teammates made to put him in the position to hit the home run. When Carlton pitched one of his six one-hitters, he needed help from his teammates, without which he would have had no better than a tie game.

Whether Alexander was a greater Phillie than Schmidt is a matter of opinion.

Alexander averaged 40 starts a season, completing 31 of them. He pitched about 356 innings a season and was credited with an average of 27 wins.

Schmidt averaged about 134 games a season, with 30 home runs and 89 RBIs.

Schmidt’s Phillies played approximately 1,450 innings a season. Schmidt played approximately 1,200 of those innings.

Alexander’s Phillies played approximately 1,390 innings a season (154 game schedule). Alexander pitched 356 of those innings.

Now to use statistics to make a point. Remember, Mark Twain quoted Ben Disraeli when the latter pointed out there are “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Mike Schmidt played defense 1,200 innings a season, but he batted 678 times a season, which averages to four plate appearances a game. 

Taking 1980, which was Schmidt’s best season (48 home runs and 121 RBIs), he made 652 of the Phillies 6,265 plate appearances. That is 10.4 percent of his team’s plate appearances.

Taking 1915, which was Alexander’s best season, he pitched 376 and one-third innings. He faced 1,435 of the 5,478 batters the Phillies faced. That is 26.2 percent of the batters his team faced.

The above points out that pitchers such as Alexander, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Mordecai Brown, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson are involved as much as regular star players over the course of  season.

It is a baseball axiom that great pitchers stop great hitters more often than great hitters succeed against great pitchers. Or not.

Maybe Grover Cleveland Alexander really was the greatest Phillies’ player of all time. Maybe not.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Is Scott Rolen of the Cincinnati Reds a Future Hall of Famer?

I always despised when a baseball announcer used the words, “future Hall of Famer.” Were they attempting prognostication or trying to be a modern day Nostradamus?

The times that phrase was uttered about baseball great Pete Rose is incalculable. Of course, as everyone now knows, Rose shot himself in the foot by gambling on baseball games. That action proved to fail the litmus test for all those Cooperstown prophets.

Yet, here I am asking you if Cincinnati Reds third baseman Scott Rolen will someday be enshrined with the baseball legends of days gone by. He is in his 16th year and still going strong(er).

I must admit, even though I am a self-proclaimed baseball purist, it is titillating to engage in conversation about marginal players.

As a purist (and not a homer), I would give you a quick two-thumbs down on Rolen. He has nowhere near 3,000 hits. He isn’t close to 500 HR and he probably won’t get 1,500 RBI. He currently possesses a lifetime BA of .284 with 305 HR and 1,228 RBI.

He hasn’t won any offensive titles or crowns, he never was an MVP and never led the league in any category. He was, however, the National League Rookie of the Year in 1997 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

He was also the winner of the Silver Slugger award in 2002 and was named to six All-Star teams. Not enough to get in the Museum without a ticket, right?

Not so fast there, Mr. Baseball Writer of America. Should not we take a look at his defense? I mean, were it not for his outstanding glove, Ozzie Smith doesn’t belong there much more than I. Yet, there he is, and there he shall be.

He does have eight Gold Glove awards, winning the last one just last season with the Reds. He trails only Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt in the number of years receiving the award. Robby had 16 and Schmidt had 10—both are firmly entrenched in the Hall of Fame and baseball lore as well.

I am not an avid fan (still trying, though) of sabermetrics, but I will throw one out for good measure. Rolen ranks fifth all time in total zone runs for third basemen with 142

Let us recap what we now have. His offense is probably lacking so he can’t go in on that alone. His defense is superb and as good as it gets at the hot corner. So, offense no and defense yes, yes?

Rolen appeared in two World Series while with the Cardinals. They were swept in 2004 by the Boston Red Sox and won in 2006 against the Detroit Tigers. Postseason is a team effort, but that notwithstanding, he has a ring on his hand.

Let us now scroll through the Hall of Fame roster and see who got there from the hot corner. Let’s just filter out pitchers and only use position players.

Out of 158 players, third basemen are the loneliest lot of all. There are only 14, or 8.8 percent Hall of Fame third basemen. Even catchers, who can get in with .262 averages, have more with 16.

The last third baseman to be voted in (Negro League players notwithstanding) was Wade Boggs in 2005. The timing is right, wouldn’t you think?

Hey, Rolen isn’t finished yet, friends. He is still a vital cog in the New Red Machine. He is a team leader in every sense of the word. His value as a clubhouse leader cannot be measured. I realize intangibles do not count, but we are only pretending to be members of the BBWAA right now.

You vote your way and I will vote mine. I must give him a big thumbs UP!


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Philly TV Show Co-Host Makes a Pitch for Cliff Lee

TV show co-host LuAnn Cahn is “Pitching for Cliff Lee”. This is Cahn’s attempt to get the newly-signed pitcher to appear as a guest on The 10! Show.

Cahn plans on having a new attention-getting gimmick each day until Lee appears on The 10! Show. She has also started a petition to help make this happen.

The idea was sparked when Lee returned to Philadelphia, after turning down offers from the Yankees and Rangers.

Cahn’s initial interest peaked, when she noticed that her co-host Bill Henley was very vocal about Lee’s 2009 departure. He like many Philadelphian’s could not understand why they traded Lee.

Henley also made several remarks about Lee being in the World Series, while the Phillies sat at home.

Needless to say this would be a treat for them both.

In closing, it would be great to see a national sports figure come on a local show that supports his team. So, if you live in the Philadelphia area and would like to help sign the petition below.

In the past, Phillie’s stars such as Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have appeared on the local show. All were promoting outside projects so this would be the first time a player came on this show just because he can.

The 10! Show is a talk show similar to Regis and Kelly, just localized for the Philly area. It can be seen weekdays at 11 AM on NBC 10.





Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Totally Awesome: Schmidt, Boggs and Ripken Lead the Ultimate 1980s All-Stars

The 1980’s cannot be thirty years in the past already, can they?

Surely there’s been some mistake; say it ain’t so, Peter Ueberroth.  Please tell me Cheers and The Cosby Show are still atop the ratings, Bruce Springsteen is still The Boss, and Major League Baseball still has 26 teams, four divisions, no interleague play and no wild card.  Or if you can’t say all that, at least pretend for the sake of argument.

Have you got it yet?  That’s right, all you have to do is forget steroids, imagine Roger Maris and Hank Aaron still reign supreme atop the home run charts, and mentally switch the Brewers back to the American League.  There you go.  See how much better that is?

Well, your mileage may vary as to better or worse, but the 80’s were definitely a different time in baseball.  Whiteyball and Billyball led to record-setting stolen base seasons, teams carried nine or ten pitchers… and the players you’re about to see dominated the diamond.

I’ve spent the last week sifting stats to determine the roster for the ultimate 1980’s team.  I ranked the top 100 players per year, then added those rankings together to find players who excelled consistently throughout the decade.  Remember: We’re looking for the players who performed the best overall, not necessarily the best players to step on the field.  In other words, Roger Clemens might have remained dominant through the 90’s and Tom Seaver might have starred in the 70’s, but that doesn’t matter for our purposes.  All that counts is what happened between 1980 and 1989.

Ready?  Then it’s time to meet the starting lineup…

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National League Treasures: The Best Players in Each Franchise’s History

In today’s game of free agency and rebuilding sell-offs, it’s extremely rare for a player to stick with a team for much more than about a decade. Stars come and go, and the team’s is the only name that lasts through a fan’s lifetime.

But some players leave behind legacies that continue to capture the hearts of their fans long after they hang up their cleats.

Last week, Bleacher Report’s MLB Featured Columnists completed our hardest poll yet: picking the top players in the history of each NL franchise (for the AL results, click here).

Each voter was asked to name the top three players for each team, scored on a 3-2-1 basis. The greats were then ranked by points, with the number of first-place votes (in parentheses next to the vote totals) as a tiebreaker.

Some of the results were pretty predictable—I don’t think saying Hank Aaron and Willie Mays won for the Braves and Giants is much of a spoiler. But some of the winners were harder to see coming, and how the rest of the lists filled out was fascinating.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Note: I sent this survey only to the Featured Columnists who have been active in previous polls. If you are a new FC or you have changed your mind about wanting to participate, send me a message and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop for next time!

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2010 MLB All-Star Game: The All Time NL All Star Starting Lineup

In the 2010 MLB All-Star Game, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier will be starting in his first ever All-Star Game. For Ethier, just being selected is, no doubt, a thrill, and being chosen as a starter probably doubles his excitement.

Perhaps Andre Ethier will one day be on this list of the players who have the most All-Star Game starts, by position, in National League history.

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Top Player in the History of Every Major League Team

Is Chase Utley the Greatest Philadelphia Phillie of All Time?

As of now, no. That title goes to Mike Schmidt, and after Schmidt there are probably at least three other players—Ed Delahanty, Steve Carlton, and Pete Alexander—ahead of him on the list, to say nothing of current teammates Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and maybe one day, Roy Halladay.

Just to see where we stand, here is a Major League Baseball-wide look at the greatest player in the history of each franchise.

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