- Republican U.S. Sen. and Kentucky Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning has decided to weigh in on the Washington Nationals decision to hold Stephen Strasburg from his last start. Bunning told Jonathan Allen of Politico “Five-hundred twenty starts, I never refused the ball. What a joke.” Bunning went on to clutch his arm sarcastically and cry “My arm!”
- Bunning’s comments led to this hilarious tweet from the “OldHossRaburn” Twitter account, which is supposed to be the modern incarnation of the 1880s pitcher of the same name: “Dear Sen. Bunning, I am not impressed by your inability to complete 368 of your 519 starts. Ouch, my arm! Yrs, Hoss.”
- In part two of the Mobile Press Register‘s examination of the off-the-field life of minor league baseball players, Jared Macarin focuses on players’ fear they won’t ever make the big leagues. Former UK outfielder and Mobile BayBears slugger Collin Cowgill told Macarin “It’s like you’re interviewing for a job every single day.”
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports Ashland native and Diamondback’s right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb had to cancel a bullpen session after failing to get lose Wednesday.
- In a separate story Piecoro reports Webb may consider coming back as a reliever if he wants to pitch this season.
Bowling Green native and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart introduced himself to casual baseball fans last night with his impressive home run derby first-round, but he’ll look to add to his reputation tonight when he starts the MLB All-Star game for the National League. Tonight marks Hart’s second all-star selection putting him in an exclusive club of Kentuckians with multiple all-star appearances. Check out that state and others below in an All-Star edition of facts and figures:
- In total, 16 players born in Kentucky have been selected as MLB all-stars.
- Just 11 have been selected to multiple all-star teams.
- Hall-of-famer Pee Wee Reese leads all Kentuckians with 10 all-star selections.
- Ashland native and Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb leads active Kentuckians with three selections.
- Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, and Colorado Rockies right-handed pitcher Aaron Cook, born in Fort Campbell, are the other active Kentuckian all-stars.
- Former MLB outfielder David Justice, who was born in Cincinnati but attended high school in Covington and college at Thomas More was selected to three all-star games.
- Webb (UK), Justice and Paul Derringer (Georgetown College) are the only alumni of Kentucky colleges to be selected as all-stars.
Check out the full list of all-stars born in Kentucky with number of appearances below with active players in italics:
- Pee Wee Reese — 10
- Jim Bunning — 9
- Paul Derringer — 6
- Travis Fryman — 5
- Stan Spence — 4
- Gus Bell — 4
- Brandon Webb — 3
- Dan Uggla — 2
- Mike Greenwell — 2
- Woodie Fryman — 2
- Corey Hart — 2
- Aaron Cook — 1
- Len Barker — 1
- Jay Buhner — 1
- Vern Bickford — 1
- Paul Byrd — 1
* Stats are via Baseball-Reference.com
Tuesday was officially the last off day of the baseball season. The World Series returns to action Wednesday. The Yankees could clinch in game six, or the Phillies could force a game seven. Either way the next break from baseball will last until Spring Training.
- Aaron Fitt of Baseball America checks in with several college teams fall practices including UK. He reports UK ace James Paxton missed most of fall practice after having his knee scoped.
- Fitt also writes that the Cats could feature three future first-round picks in Paxton, Alex Meyer and freshman Taylor Rogers in their weekend rotation.
- 2009 Bats Sean Watson and Logan Ondrusek each pitched a scoreless inning for Peoria in the AFL Tuesday. 2009 Legend Daniel Meszaros also pitched a perfect inning
- Lafayette alum Chaz Roe allowed three runs in two and one-third innings for Scottsdale in the AFL.
- Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Lexington Herald Leader reports that former Ky. High School Coach of the Year at PLD Mickey Marshall plead guilty to two theft charges relating to funds he took from the baseball booster club.
- Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, also former Hall of Fame pitcher for the Phillies, threw out the first pitch in game five of the World Series.
- Former UK point guard Rajon Rondo, who is friends with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, was also at the game.
When compiling the record book I found a number of categories that didn’t fit anywhere else. For instance, what about all-star game appearances? For a long time there wasn’t an all-star game, and a player obviously couldn’t appear in more than one in a season. I wanted to do on-base percentage, but the logistics of compiling the single-season list ended up being too daunting. If I figure it out I’ll still pass it along, but until then here are some record lists that didn’t quite fit in any other post:
Career All-Star Game Appearances
- Pee Wee Reese — 1940-1958 — 10
- Jim Bunning — 1955-1971 — 9
- Paul Derringer — 1931-1945 — 6
- Travis Fryman — 1990-2002 — 5
- Stan Spence — 1940-1949 — 4/Gus Bell — 1950-1964 — 4
Career On-Base Percentage (Minimum 1000 games)
- Pete Browning — 1882-1894 — .403
- Earle Combs — 1924-1935 — .397
- George Harper — 1916-1929 — .380
- Bobby Veach — 1912-1925 — .370
- Stan Spence — 1940-1949 — .369
Career Slugging Percentage (Minimum 1000 games)
- Jay Buhner — 1987-2001 — .494
- Pete Browning — 1882-1894 — .467
- Mike Greenwell — 1985-1996 — .463
- Earle Combs — 1924-1935 — .462
- George Harper — 1916-1929 — .455
Career Winning Percentage (Minimum 200 decisions)
- Jesse Tannehill — 1894-1922 — .629
- Carl Mays — 1915-1929 — .622
- Howie Camnitz — 1904-1915 — .556
- Jim Bunning — 1955-1971 — .549
- Gus Weyhing — 1887-1901 — .532
In the second pitching category of the record book we’ll look at strikeouts. Once again the single-season record book is pretty one-sided, but Brandon Webb has a chance to crack it in the coming years if he rebounds from shoulder surgery. Remember we’re using the “Lincoln Rule” which limits the record book to players born in Kentucky.
Career Strikeouts Leaders
- Jim Bunning — 1955-1971 — 2855
- Gus Weyhing — 1887-1901 — 1665
- Woodie Fryman — 1966-1983 — 1587
- Paul Derringer — 1931-1945 — 1507
- Don Robinson — 1978-1992 — 1251
Single-Season Strikeouts Leaders
- Bunning — 1965 — 268
- Bunning — 1967 — 253
- Bunning — 1966 — 252
- Bunning — 1964 — 219; Weyhing — 1891 — 219
- Weyhing — 1889 — 213
Notes: Sen. Bunning and Weyhing are the only Kentucky-born pitchers to record 200 strikeouts in a season. In addition to the six seasons above, Bunning also struck out 201 batters in 1959 and 1960 (he lead the league both seasons), and Weyhing struck out 204 in 1888 and 202 in 1892. Brandon Webb is the only other Kentucky-born pitcher to record 1,000 strikeouts in a career, and he struck out 194 in 2007. Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton also has a chance to crack the 1,000 strikeouts plateau with 364 more K’s.
We’ll move to pitching categories in the record book feature, starting with wins. Don’t worry we’ll go back to batting for the average/on-base/slugging categories, I just require a little more time to figue them out. Remember we’re using the “Lincoln Rule” which limits the record book to players born in Kentucky.
Career Wins Leaders
- Gus Weyhing — 1887-1901 — 264
- Jim Bunning — 1955-1971 — 224
- Paul Derringer — 1931-1945 — 223
- Carl Mays — 1915-1929 — 207
- Jesse Tannehill — 1894-1911 — 197
Single-Season Wins Leaders
- Gus Weyhing — 1892 — 32
- Gus Weyhing — 1891 — 31
- Gus Weyhing — 1890 — 30
- Gus Weyhing — 1889 — 30
- Gus Weyhing — 1888 — 28
- Gus Weyhing — 1887 — 28
Notes: If you were wondering who led Kentucky pitchers in wins after 1900 that would be: Mays (27, 1921) (26; 1920) Derringer (25, 1939); (22, 1935); Brandon Webb (22, 2008); Tannehill (22, 1905); Mays (22, 1917); (21, 1918); Tannehill (21, 1904); Derringer (21, 1938); (20, 1940) Jim Bunning (20, 1957); Mays (20, 1924); Tannehill (20, 1902); (20, 1900)
Yesterday’s post about Kentucky Hall of Famers made me think about who would make an All-Star team composed of only Kentucky natives. With the help of the wonderful database at Baseball-Reference.com I set out to make such a team. Each player’s playing time is listed next to his name along with the team or teams he spent most of his career with. The second bullet under each name lists the players batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage, and his rankings among relevant categories are listed in bolded parentheses next to that category.
C — John Grimm (1888-1899) — Louisville Colonels/Brooklyn Grooms
- The running for greatest catcher in Kentucky history wasn’t a hotly contested one. Grimm leads Kentucky players who spent the majority of their career behind the plate in hits and games played, but ranks only in 28th and 30th place among all Kentucky natives in those categories. Grimm was born in Lebanon, Ky. His best season came in 1894 for the Louisville Colonels when he hit .298 with 7 home runs and 70 RBI.
- .267/.302/.359 — 705 hits (28), 706 games (30), .943 Fielding %
With Sunday’s induction of outfielders Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice into the Baseball Hall of Fame and Monday’s announcement from hall of famer Jim Bunning that he wouldn’t seek re-election to the U. S. Senate I thought we’d profile Kentucky’s four hall of famers. Clicking on each player’s name will take you to his official Hall of Fame entry.
Jim Bunning, RHP, Detroit Tigers
- Bunning is perhaps more famous for his political career as a U. S. representative (1987-1999) and U. S. senator (1999-present) today, but before he was a nationally prominent politician he was a hall of fame pitcher. Bunning pitched from 1955-1971 for Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. Over his career Bunning was 224-184 with a 3.27 ERA and 2855 strikeouts. Bunning was the first pitcher to record both 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in the American and National League and pitched a no-hitter in each league. He was a seven-time All-Star and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996 by the Veteran’s Committee.
Pee Wee Reese, SS, Brooklyn Dodgers
- “Pee Wee” was born Harold Henry Reese in Ekron, Ky., in 1918. The defensive whiz spent his entire career with the Dodgers organization and played along side Jackie Robinson for most of his career. Reese was the captain of the Dodgers during their dominant run through the National League in the 1950s and 1960s. Pee Wee is most famous for his embrace of Robinson during pre-game warmups in Cincinnati during Robinson’s first season in baseball. As Reese, a white man, embraced his black teammate on the field the crowd that was heckling Robinson quited. The moment was immortalized in a statue in Brooklyn in 2005.
- Reese led the National league in putouts four times, double plays twice and fielding percentage and assists once each. Reese helped lead Brooklyn to seven pennants and never missed a inning of the seven World Series he participated in. Reese only batted over .300 once in his career and finished his playing days with a .269 average, 2170 hits and 1338 runs scored. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984 by the veterans committee.
Monday was another crazy night of baseball in the Bluegrass. Lexington came from behind in the ninth to win in walk-off fashion for the second consecutive game and Bowling Green got in on the walk-off fun as well. Check out those stories and more in today’s hot links:
- Bowling Green’s walk-off victory wasn’t your typical clutch win. The Hot Rods defeated Lake County 3-2 on a walk-off bunt from Robi Estrada.
- Lexington’s second consecutive walk-off victory was even more unorthodox as Michael Diaz “drove” in the winning run with a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the ninth to defeat Hagerstown 6-5.
- Louisville cut an 8-0 lead to 8-5 late in the game but couldn’t finish the comeback against Syracuse.
- According to the C-J, Bats’ pitcher Justin Lehr was named the International League pitcher of the week.
- We’ll generally stay away from politics on the blog, but this note is baseball related. Ky. Sen. Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame pitcher, announced he would not seek re-election in the U. S. Senate.
- Several BluGrass players were called up over the weekend. Former UK pitcher Chris Rusin was promoted from rookie AZL Cubs to short-season Boise. Former UK infielder Michael Bertram was promoted from high A Lakeland to AA Erie. The Reds promoted pitcher Josh Roenicke, pitcher Robert Manuel and infielder Drew Sutton from Louisville to replace injured Reds Jared Burton, Micah Owings and Chris Dickerson.
- I try and tweet roster moves like that as I hear about them. You can follow BluGrass Baseball on twitter here.
Just a few lunch time notes to pass along:
- The Detroit Tigers activated Carlos Guillen from their disabled list today. To make room for Guillen on the roster, the Tigers designated former EKU Colonel and Lexington Legend Josh Anderson for assignment. Hopefully Josh, who still holds the distinction as the only Kentucky native to play for the Legends, catches on somewhere else.
- Sports Illustrated’s John Heyman passes on an interesting nugget about Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in his latest column. Heyman said that Buehrle is one of only six pitchers with multiple no-hitters, with at least one perfect game. The other five pitchers: Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Addie Joss, Cy Young and Kentucky native and current U. S. Rep. Jim Bunning.
- The Astros recalled former Legend Edwin Maysonet to replace injured first baseman Lance Berkman on the roster. Maysonet is batting .315 with one home run an 7 RBI in 19 games for Houston this season.
- Aaron Fitt at Baseball America has an interesting story about the NCAA’s plan to ban all composite bats. This has impact in Kentucky for not only the state’s college teams, but also the chief bat producer Louisville Slugger.
- Jason Stark passed on a ton a deadline rumors in his “Rumblings and Grumblings” column. For the BluGrass audience, he mentions that the Dodgers have scouted several relievers included former UK pitcher Scott Downs, now the closer for the Blue Jays.
- Just a reminder…you can follow BluGrass Baseball on twitter.