History UsefulNotes / Baseball

19th Jan '17 3:04:18 AM KYCubbie
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* Left/center/right field (7,8,9): Outfielders. Take up position in the grass well outside of the infield. Responsible for catching fly balls, as well as any grounders or line drives that the infielders miss. Center field is the most demanding position defensively and is responsible for coordinating the outfield. The center fielder will generally be the fastest and most agile of the outfielders due to having the most ground to cover. Left field requires a decent amount of running speed. Right field requires a very strong throwing arm to make the throw to third. (The left and right fielders have equidistant throws to second and home; the left fielder's throw to first is as long as the right fielder's throw to third, but the need for such a throw to be made hardly ever arises.) All outfielders are generally very strong hitters. Since the infield is usually dominated by right-handed players, left handed hitters that aren't placed at first due to injuries or rotundity will usually play outfield.

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* Left/center/right field (7,8,9): Outfielders. Take up position in the grass well outside of the infield. Responsible for catching fly balls, as well as any grounders or line drives that the infielders miss. Center field is the most demanding position defensively and is responsible for coordinating the outfield. The center fielder will generally be the fastest and most agile of the outfielders due to having the most ground to cover. Left field requires a decent amount of running speed. Right field requires a very strong throwing arm to make the throw to third. (The left and right fielders have equidistant throws to second and home; the left fielder's throw to first is as long as the right fielder's throw to third, but the need for such a throw to be made hardly ever arises.) All outfielders are generally very strong hitters. Since the infield is usually dominated by right-handed players, left handed left-handed hitters that aren't placed at first due to injuries or rotundity will usually play outfield.



** Also note that the DH "rule" is technically an option: in the MLB, no team is obligated to use the DH, but for a practical matter, when allowed, it is almost always used. The San Francisco Giants made an attention-grabbing decision to decline the DH when they played the Oakland Athletics on June 30th, 2016, and allow their pitcher Madison Bumgarner to hit. The last time a team intentionally waived their right to a DH before this was in 1976.

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** Also note that the DH "rule" is technically an option: in the MLB, no team is obligated to use the DH, but for a practical matter, when allowed, it is almost always used. The San Francisco Giants made an attention-grabbing decision to decline the DH when they played the Oakland Athletics on June 30th, 30, 2016, and allow their pitcher Madison Bumgarner to hit. The last time a team intentionally waived their right to a DH before this was in 1976.



Baseball was first dubbed America's "national pastime" or "national game" sometime in the 1850s. And while it has not been the most popular team sport in surveys since TheSixties (having fallen behind UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball), it is still consistently near the top (almost always no. 2, at worst no. 3 behind [[UsefulNotes/{{Basketball}} basketball]]) in those surveys.[[note]]And even then, some baseball people are secretly relishing football's current problems with head injuries, and several commentators' declaration that football is likely to go the way of boxing--i.e. a sport so violent that, while it has a small and devoted fanbase, is no longer nearly as popular as it once was--has piqued baseball's (and basketball's, hockey's, etc.) collective {{Schadenfreude}}.[[/note]] It is also telling that the yearly attendance for Major League Baseball is more than ''every other Major North American Sports League combined'' (although this is partially because Baseball has a longer schedule -- starting from late March/early April and usually ending at the end of September for the regular season and the end of October for the World Series -- and its teams play virtually every day). It has also left a imprint on America's culture that has manifested itself in America's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language_idioms_derived_from_baseball language]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_movie#Baseball entertainment]] and, perhaps most tellingly, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_metaphors_for_sex sexual activities]]. Important historic players such as Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson are often used as metaphor when describing players in sports or countries that Americans are not as familiar with ("The Babe Ruth of Soccer" or the "Jackie Robinson of Japan").

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Baseball was first dubbed America's "national pastime" or "national game" sometime in the 1850s. And while it has not been the most popular team sport in surveys since TheSixties (having fallen behind UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball), it is still consistently near the top (almost always no. 2, at worst no. 3 behind [[UsefulNotes/{{Basketball}} basketball]]) in those surveys.[[note]]And even then, some baseball people are secretly relishing football's current problems with head injuries, and several commentators' declaration that football is likely to go the way of boxing--i.e. a sport so violent that, while it has a small and devoted fanbase, is no longer nearly as popular as it once was--has piqued baseball's (and basketball's, hockey's, etc.) collective {{Schadenfreude}}.[[/note]] It is also telling that the yearly attendance for Major League Baseball is more than ''every other Major North American Sports League combined'' (although this is partially because Baseball baseball has a longer schedule -- starting from late March/early April and usually ending at the end of September for the regular season and the end of October for the World Series -- and its teams play virtually every day). It has also left a imprint on America's culture that has manifested itself in America's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language_idioms_derived_from_baseball language]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_movie#Baseball entertainment]] and, perhaps most tellingly, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_metaphors_for_sex sexual activities]]. Important historic players such as Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson are often used as metaphor when describing players in sports or countries that Americans are not as familiar with ("The Babe Ruth of Soccer" or the "Jackie Robinson of Japan").



* The postseason prior to 2012 involved eight teams, four from each league: the three division champions and a wild card team, the team with the best record of all those who didn't win their division. The three rounds of the playoffs are the Division Series, League Championship Series and the World Series. The Division Series is best of 5, the LCS and WS are best of 7. Many favor expanding the Division Series to a best of 7, but Major League Baseball has resisted the idea due to not wanting to push the season too late into the year (by late October, many top baseball cities are already quite cold weather-wise). In 2012, a second wild card team was added in each league. These teams meet in a one game playoff to decide who advances to the LDS. This is in addition to the possible 163rd game (see below), though the wild card game is officially part of the postseason, not the regular season.

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* The postseason prior to 2012 involved eight teams, four from each league: the three division champions and a wild card team, the team with the best record of all those who didn't win their division. The three rounds of the playoffs are the Division Series, League Championship Series and the World Series. The Division Series is best of 5, the LCS and WS are best of 7. Many favor expanding the Division Series to a best of 7, but Major League Baseball has resisted the idea due to not wanting to push the season too late into the year (by late October, many top baseball cities are already quite cold weather-wise). In 2012, a second wild card team was added in each league. These teams meet in a one game one-game playoff to decide who advances to the LDS. This is in addition to the possible 163rd game (see below), though the wild card game is officially part of the postseason, not the regular season.



* Major League Baseball, unlike every other sports league in the United States, enjoys explicit protection from antitrust legislation (granted in what is often believed to be an "oddball" Supreme Court decision, with many calling the antitrust exemption an outright AssPull...and that's not even getting into subsequent Supreme Court decisions basically saying that because Congress didn't pass any law repealing the antitrust exemption that ''didn't actually exist in any law'' [[InsaneTrollLogic that meant they endorsed the exemption and thus it was outside the Court's power to remove it]]). Thus, team moves (often forced by an antitrust lawsuit) have been much rarer than in the NFL or NBA.
* MLB has no salary cap, and trades are much more open-ended than in other sports. Players may be traded not only for other players, but also cash, or minor league prospects (known as a "player to be named later," this gives the team six months to decide which minor leaguer would be the best fit for their roster). The vagaries of MLB transactions have led to several players being traded for themselves, and one (future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield) being traded for dinner between two GM's. Other bizarre trades from the early days of baseball include a player being traded for a suit of clothes and another being given to a team in exchange for that team paying for the player's previous team to get a new outfield fence at their home stadium.

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* Major League Baseball, unlike every other sports league in the United States, enjoys explicit protection from antitrust legislation (granted in what is often believed to be an "oddball" Supreme Court decision, with many calling the antitrust exemption an outright AssPull... and that's not even getting into subsequent Supreme Court decisions basically saying that because Congress didn't pass any law repealing the antitrust exemption that ''didn't actually exist in any law'' [[InsaneTrollLogic that meant they endorsed the exemption and thus it was outside the Court's power to remove it]]).it]]). And it's not getting into later SCOTUS decisions which held that antitrust laws applied to ''every other sport''. Thus, team moves (often forced by an antitrust lawsuit) have been much rarer than in the NFL or NBA.
* MLB has no salary cap, and trades are much more open-ended than in other sports. Players may be traded not only for other players, but also cash, or minor league prospects (known as a "player to be named later," this gives the team six months to decide which minor leaguer would be the best fit for their roster). The vagaries of MLB transactions have led to several players being traded for themselves, and one (future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield) being traded for dinner between two GM's.[=GMs=]. Other bizarre trades from the early days of baseball include a player being traded for a suit of clothes and another being given to a team in exchange for that team paying for the player's previous team to get a new outfield fence at their home stadium.



* The '''Gold Glove Award''' goes to the top defensive players in the game. Unlike the above awards, they are voted on by the managers and coaches in each league as opposed to the baseball writers. Each league awards nine Gold Gloves, one at each fielding position. Since fielding excellence tends to be measured by a lot of intangibles rather than pure statistics, the Gold Gloves frequently spark debate; the most common criticism of the award process is that they are often awarded based on reputation, without regard as to whether the player truly had a better year in the field than his peers. Derek Jeter was one of the more prominent examples of an undeserving Gold Glove winner; though he had a reputation as a great defensive shortstop, advanced fielding statistics generally didn't back up his reputation and few sabermetricians would have considered him remotely Gold Glove worthy (and, during the years when he was teammates with Alex Rodriguez- a legitimately good defensive shortstop before he moved to third base- they would be known to snark that Jeter wasn't even the best shortstop on ''his own team'', let alone the entire American League). Another particurarly egregious example was Rafael Palmeiro winning the AL Gold Glove at first base in 1999, despite the fact that he was primarily a designated hitter that year and only played 28 games in the field. More recently, the process has been adjusted for these awards with a sizable portion of the vote now coming from taking several advanced fielding metrics into account, which has started to improve things a bit, though average or even poor defenders still win a Gold Glove from time to time.

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* The '''Gold Glove Award''' goes to the top defensive players in the game. Unlike the above awards, they are voted on by the managers and coaches in each league as opposed to the baseball writers. Each league awards nine Gold Gloves, one at each fielding position. Since fielding excellence tends to be measured by a lot of intangibles rather than pure statistics, the Gold Gloves frequently spark debate; the most common criticism of the award process is that they are often awarded based on reputation, without regard as to whether the player truly had a better year in the field than his peers. Derek Jeter was one of the more prominent examples of an undeserving Gold Glove winner; though he had a reputation as a great defensive shortstop, advanced fielding statistics generally didn't back up his reputation and few sabermetricians would have considered him remotely Gold Glove worthy (and, during the years when he was teammates with Alex Rodriguez- a legitimately good defensive shortstop before he moved to third base- they would be known to snark that Jeter wasn't even the best shortstop on ''his own team'', let alone the entire American League). Another particurarly particularly egregious example was Rafael Palmeiro winning the AL Gold Glove at first base in 1999, despite the fact that he was primarily a designated hitter that year and only played 28 games in the field. More recently, the process has been adjusted for these awards with a sizable portion of the vote now coming from taking several advanced fielding metrics into account, which has started to improve things a bit, though average or even poor defenders still win a Gold Glove from time to time.



* '''Mel Allen''' was another well-known broadcaster, who served as the voice of the New York Yankees from 1939 to 1964, a period that coincided with what was arguably the team's golden age: during Allen's years behind the mike, the Yankees won 19 American League pennants and 13 World Series championships, and fielded such legendary players as Joe [=DiMaggio=], Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto. Allen also called numerous World Series and All-Star Games on radio and television, and served as a narrator for Fox Movietone newsreels, making him (and his catchphrase, "How about that!") well-known to sports fans throughout the country. He was unceremoniously fired from the Yankees in 1964, but re-emerged in the late '70s as host and narrator of the syndicated series ''This Week in Baseball'', a role he held until his death in 1996. Allen was -- along with his Brooklyn rival, frequent World Series partner, and eventual Yankee colleague Red Barber -- the first to receive the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting from Hall of Fame in 1978.

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* '''Mel Allen''' was another well-known broadcaster, who served as the voice of the New York Yankees from 1939 to 1964, a period that coincided with what was arguably the team's golden age: during Allen's years behind the mike, the Yankees won 19 American League pennants and 13 World Series championships, and fielded such legendary players as Joe [=DiMaggio=], Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto. Allen also called numerous World Series and All-Star Games on radio and television, and served as a narrator for Fox Movietone newsreels, making him (and his catchphrase, "How about that!") well-known to sports fans throughout the country. He was unceremoniously fired from the Yankees in 1964, but re-emerged in the late '70s as host and narrator of the syndicated highlights series ''This Week in Baseball'', a role he held until his death in 1996. Allen was -- along with his Brooklyn rival, frequent World Series partner, and eventual Yankee colleague Red Barber -- the first to receive the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting from Hall of Fame in 1978.



* '''Jose Altuve''' plays second base for the Houston Astros. At 5 feet, 6 inches tall[[labelnote:*]]1.68 meters, in metric[[/labelnote]], Altuve is the shortest currently active player in baseball, and some doubted whether someone his size could succeed at the big league level. He had some initial struggles, but since 2014 has become one of the best players in the game, twice leading the AL in batting average, to go along with lots of stolen bases and packing [[PintsizedPowerhouse a pretty good amount of power for a second baseman.]] His development into a superstar has helped the Astros become a perennial playoff contender after years of being a laughingstock. His short stature has been fodder for quite a few memes over the years, and led to some baseball fans using his height as a unit of measurement called an "Altuve" (for example, Randy Johnson, at 6' 10'' tall, could have his height expressed as 1.24 Altuves).

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* '''Jose '''José Altuve''' plays second base for the Houston Astros. At 5 feet, 6 inches tall[[labelnote:*]]1.68 meters, in metric[[/labelnote]], Altuve is the shortest currently active player in baseball, and some doubted whether someone his size could succeed at the big league level. He had some initial struggles, but since 2014 has become one of the best players in the game, twice leading the AL in batting average, to go along with lots of stolen bases and packing [[PintsizedPowerhouse a pretty good amount of power for a second baseman.]] His development into a superstar has helped the Astros become a perennial playoff contender after years of being a laughingstock. His short stature has been fodder for quite a few memes over the years, and led to some baseball fans using his height as a unit of measurement called an "Altuve" (for example, Randy Johnson, at 6' 10'' tall, could have his height expressed as 1.24 Altuves).
5th Jan '17 2:11:45 PM stuthehistoryguy
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* '''Ty Cobb''' was a very, very good player in the early part of the 20th century. He held the all-time record for most career base hits until it was broken by Pete Rose, held the record for career stolen bases until it was broken by Lou Brock (and subsequently again by Rickey Henderson), and had a career batting average of .366, a record that still stands today. He was also a massive {{jerkass}}. It was said he sharpened his spikes to injure opposing fielders. He once jumped into the stands to beat up a heckler who had no hands. Upon being told that the man had no hands, Cobb is reported to have said "I don't care if he has no feet!" And, most regrettably, he was a raging racist, even by the standards of the time. Despite this, had his own brand of CrazyAwesome, and his legacy has recently been subject to reappraisal and accusations of HistoricalVillainUpgrade from his biographers (in particular, his racism tempered considerably, to the point where he was an early endorser of integrated baseball); there's also been a lot of psychological analysis of his douchebaggery, some of which appears to have been [[FreudianExcuse the result of his father constantly hounding him for]] [[WellDoneSonGuy not being good enough]], and part of which seems to be deep-seated anger issues that we would probably consider mental health problems today.
* '''Honus Wagner''', a Pennsylvania coal miner who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates around the turn of the 20th century, is widely considered the greatest shortstop ever. He even got to nail Ty Cobb in the mouth but good when that racist bully called him a "Krauthead" and threatened to spike him at his base when the two of them played in the 1909 World Series (Wagner's Pirates beat Cobb's Tigers 4 games to 3). That Cobb and Wagner would be at odds is altogether fitting, as Wagner was the anti-Cobb--the calm, polite, kind GentleGiant to Cobb's twitchy, angry, tortured, LeanAndMean machine. He's also known as the face on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T206_Honus_Wagner the most valuable baseball card ever]]. It was originally printed in 1909 and packaged with loose tobacco. Wagner, being strongly anti-tobacco, refused to allow production of this card to continue; over time, its rarity made it something of a ZillionDollarBill. Recent sales have ranged from $200,000 to over $2,000,000 depending on the card's condition and backstory (for example, one card was briefly owned by [[UsefulNotes/NationalHockeyLeague hockey]] legend UsefulNotes/WayneGretzky, and another by actor Creator/CharlieSheen.)

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* '''Ty Cobb''' was a very, very good superlative player in the early part of the 20th century.century, leading the American League in batting average twelve times. He held the all-time record for most career base hits until it was broken by Pete Rose, held the record for career stolen bases until it was broken by Lou Brock (and subsequently again by Rickey Henderson), and had a career batting average of .366, a record that still stands today. He was also a massive {{jerkass}}. It was said he sharpened his spikes to injure opposing fielders. He once jumped into the stands to beat up a heckler who had no hands. Upon being told that the man had no hands, Cobb is reported to have said "I don't care if he has no feet!" And, most regrettably, he was a raging racist, even by the standards of the time. Despite this, had his own brand of CrazyAwesome, and his legacy has recently been subject to reappraisal and accusations of HistoricalVillainUpgrade from his biographers (in particular, his racism tempered considerably, to the point where he was an early endorser of integrated baseball); there's also been a lot of psychological analysis of his douchebaggery, some of which appears to have been [[FreudianExcuse the result of his father constantly hounding him for]] [[WellDoneSonGuy not being good enough]], and part of which seems to be deep-seated anger issues that we would probably consider mental health problems today.
* '''Honus Wagner''', a Pennsylvania coal miner who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates around the turn of the 20th century, is widely considered the greatest shortstop ever. He played every position except catcher, only settling in at shortstop after seven years in the league. He even got to nail Ty Cobb in the mouth but good when that racist bully called him a "Krauthead" and threatened to spike him at his base when the two of them played in the 1909 World Series (Wagner's Pirates beat Cobb's Tigers 4 games to 3). That Cobb and Wagner would be at odds is altogether fitting, as Wagner was the anti-Cobb--the calm, polite, kind GentleGiant to Cobb's twitchy, angry, tortured, LeanAndMean machine. He's also known as the face on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T206_Honus_Wagner the most valuable baseball card ever]]. It was originally printed in 1909 and packaged with loose tobacco. Wagner, being strongly anti-tobacco, refused to allow production of this card to continue; over time, its rarity made it something of a ZillionDollarBill. Recent sales have ranged from $200,000 to over $2,000,000 depending on the card's condition and backstory (for example, one card was briefly owned by [[UsefulNotes/NationalHockeyLeague hockey]] legend UsefulNotes/WayneGretzky, and another by actor Creator/CharlieSheen.)



* '''Joe [=DiMaggio=]''' was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, having recorded at least one hit in 56 consecutive games (bearing in mind that hitters who succeed 33% of the time are phenomenal). No one has come close to his record in 60 years; when a hitter reaches about 30 consecutive games he begins to get serious media attention. Also extremely famous for marrying Creator/MarilynMonroe and having a nation turn its lonely eyes to him in a Music/SimonAndGarfunkel song. And, later, for endorsing Mr. Coffee.
* '''Cal Ripken, Jr.''' was a very good player who became famous for never missing a game for over 17 years (a whopping 2,632 games in a row), and this consecutive-game streak is one of baseball's "records to know", up there with Bonds' home run records and [=DiMaggio's=] hit streak. Furthermore, he started every single game during the streak, hardly ever left a game early, and for over five years, he played ''every single inning''. He also played his entire career with one team (the Baltimore Orioles), which is seen as somewhat rare. A lot of people tend to forget that he had Hall-of-Fame numbers even without the consecutive game streak. Some naysayers think that him keeping his streak alive when he was past his prime was to the detriment of his team.
* '''Lou Gehrig''' - The "Iron Horse" played for the NY Yankees at around the same time as Babe Ruth, and was really good. Was the consecutive-game record holder before Ripken. His streak ended because of a rare disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is now also known as, wait for it, Lou Gehrig's Disease. Before his retirement he gave a famous speech at Yankee Stadium which is generally considered a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming[=/=]TearJerker for baseball. Less well known is that no complete recording of the speech exists, only the newsreel highlights of it. Probably the most universally beloved baseball player in the history of the game[[note]]with the exception of Stan "The Man" Musial[[/note]]; despite his team affiliation, to this day not even a member of the Red Sox Nation will say anything against him.

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* '''Joe [=DiMaggio=]''' was a graceful centerfielder and one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, having recorded at least one hit in 56 consecutive games (bearing in mind that hitters who succeed 33% of the time are phenomenal). No one has come close to his record in 60 years; when a hitter reaches about 30 consecutive games he begins to get serious media attention. Also extremely famous for marrying Creator/MarilynMonroe and having a nation turn its lonely eyes to him in a Music/SimonAndGarfunkel song. And, later, for endorsing Mr. Coffee.
* '''Cal Ripken, Jr.''' was a very good player an excellent shortstop and two-time Most Valuable Player who became famous for never missing a game for over 17 years (a whopping 2,632 games in a row), and this consecutive-game streak is one of baseball's "records to know", up there with Bonds' home run records and [=DiMaggio's=] hit streak. Furthermore, he started every single game during the streak, hardly ever left a game early, and for over five years, he played ''every single inning''. He also played his entire career with one team (the Baltimore Orioles), which is seen as somewhat rare. A lot of people tend to forget that he had Hall-of-Fame numbers even without the consecutive game streak. Some naysayers think that him keeping his streak alive when he was past his prime was to the detriment of his team.
* '''Lou Gehrig''' - The "Iron Horse" played for the NY Yankees at around the same time as Babe Ruth, and was really good.giving the Bronx Bombers two of the best hitters in the game's history for ten years. Was the consecutive-game record holder before Ripken. His streak ended because of a rare disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is now also known as, wait for it, Lou Gehrig's Disease. Before his retirement he gave a famous speech at Yankee Stadium which is generally considered a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming[=/=]TearJerker for baseball. Less well known is that no complete recording of the speech exists, only the newsreel highlights of it. Probably the most universally beloved baseball player in the history of the game[[note]]with the exception of Stan "The Man" Musial[[/note]]; despite his team affiliation, to this day not even a member of the Red Sox Nation will say anything against him.
29th Dec '16 8:40:11 AM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* '''Justin Verlander''' of the Detroit Tigers was one of the best starting pitchers in the game in the late [=2000s=] and early [='10s=]. However, his poor performance during the 2014 season cast doubt on whether he could keep it up; he continued to struggle coming into 2015, but regained at least some of his form in the last part of the season, and by 2016 he once again led the American League in strikeouts. Playing for the Detroit Tigers, he pretty much walked away with the 2011 American League Cy Young by winning the Pitching Triple Crown: most wins (24), strikeouts (250) and lowest ERA (2.40). He was instrumental in the Tigers running away with the American League Central division title. He won the American League MVP award that season as well, which is seldom awarded to a pitcher because of strong feelings that it should go to an everyday player, and not one who plays every four or five days. He came within a hair of winning a second straight Cy Young in 2012, finishing second to Tampa Bay's David Price in the closest Cy Young vote since 1969. In 2016, he again came within a hair of winning a second Cy Young, finishing a close (and controversial) second to Rick Porcello of the Red Sox.
* '''Manny Ramirez''', over the course of his career, has been one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, but also one of baseball's most unpredictable characters. His frequent mental lapses, both on and off the field, have cost his teams a game or two and have been referred to as "Manny being Manny". Most controversially, in the latter part of his career, he acquired a reputation for playing outstanding baseball his first few months with a new team, but at some point thereafter wearing out his welcome and resorting to childish outbursts and lackadaisical play until he's shipped off somewhere else. He twice tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs; after the second test, he chose to retire rather than face a 100-game suspension. [[TenMinuteRetirement Or not.]] He requested a reinstatement, and signed with yet another team (the Athletics), then another one (the Rangers), then joined the Cubs' AAA team in 2014 as a player/coach, to mentor some of the Cubs' top prospects (and maybe have some chance of getting back to the Major Leagues, where he hasn't played since his 100-game suspension/retirement). He spent 2015 as a hitting consultant for the Cubs, and though he hasn't officially retired yet, it's looking more and more like his playing days are over.
* '''Yu Darvish''', pitcher of the Texas Rangers, is known for being the UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan of Japan. Yu started out as a top level prospect, with MLB teams scouting him in Junior High. However, he wanted to go with a Japanese baseball league instead. In Japan, Yu posted extraordinary numbers, with a 1.99 average ERA. At 25, he wanted to go to America, and the Rangers won his services with a huge bid. He is known in MLB as having seven pitch types (in comparison, normal MLB pitchers have 3-5 pitch types). On April 2, 2013, he nearly threw a perfect game against the Astros, but it was broken up by the Astros' Marwin Gonzalez with 2 outs in the 9th inning. His future, however, is now somewhat up in the air, as he underwent Tommy John surgery just before the start of the 2015 season and didn't return until late May 2016.

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* '''Justin Verlander''' of the Detroit Tigers was one of the best starting pitchers in the game in the late [=2000s=] and early [='10s=]. However, Though his poor performance during the in 2014 season and early 2015 cast doubt on whether he could keep it up; up, he continued was able to struggle coming into 2015, but regained at least some of quickly reestablish his form in the last part of the season, and status as an ace; by 2016 he once again led the American League in strikeouts. Playing for the Detroit Tigers, he pretty much walked away with the 2011 American League Cy Young by winning the Pitching Triple Crown: most wins (24), strikeouts (250) and lowest ERA (2.40). He was instrumental in the Tigers running away with the American League Central division title. He won the American League MVP award that season as well, which is seldom awarded to a pitcher because of strong feelings that it should go to an everyday player, and not one who plays every four or five days. He came within a hair of winning a second straight Cy Young in 2012, finishing second to Tampa Bay's David Price in the closest Cy Young vote since 1969. In 2016, he again came within a hair of winning a second Cy Young, finishing a close (and controversial) second to Rick Porcello of the Red Sox.
* '''Manny Ramirez''', over the course of his career, has been one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, but also one of baseball's most unpredictable characters. His frequent mental lapses, both on and off the field, have cost his teams a game or two and have been referred to as "Manny being Manny". Most controversially, in the latter part of his career, he acquired a reputation for playing outstanding baseball his first few months with a new team, but at some point thereafter wearing out his welcome and resorting to childish outbursts and lackadaisical play until he's shipped off somewhere else. He twice tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs; after the second test, he chose to retire rather than face a 100-game suspension. [[TenMinuteRetirement Or not.]] He requested a reinstatement, and signed with yet another team (the Athletics), then another one (the Rangers), then joined the Cubs' AAA team in 2014 as a player/coach, player/coach to mentor some of the Cubs' top prospects (and maybe have some chance of getting back to the Major Leagues, where he hasn't played since his 100-game suspension/retirement). He spent 2015 as a hitting consultant for the Cubs, and though he hasn't officially retired yet, it's looking more and more like his playing days are over.
* '''Yu Darvish''', pitcher of the Texas Rangers, is known for being the UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan of Japan. Yu started out as a top level prospect, with MLB teams scouting him in Junior High. However, he wanted to go with a Japanese baseball league instead. In Japan, Yu posted extraordinary numbers, with a 1.99 average ERA. At 25, he wanted to go to America, and the Rangers won his services with a huge bid. He is known in MLB as having seven pitch types (in comparison, normal MLB pitchers have 3-5 pitch types). On April 2, 2013, he nearly threw a perfect game against the Astros, but it was broken up by the Astros' Marwin Gonzalez with 2 outs in the 9th inning. His future, The question of his durability, however, is now somewhat up in the air, as he underwent Tommy John surgery just before the start of the 2015 season and season, didn't return until late May 2016, and was quickly put on the DL ''again'' from mid-June to mid-July 2016.



* '''Bryce Harper''', an outfielder for the Washington Nationals, made his debut in 2012, on the same day that Mike Trout was called up for the first time that year. While he had an impressive beginning to his career, he did tail off later in the year. Overall, however, he still had a good year- perhaps the best year ever for a 19-year-old- earning an All-Star selection and easily winning the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. He has occasionally been compared to fellow young phenom outfielder Mike Trout- coming into 2012, Harper and Trout were widely considered the best prospects in the game and hailed for their incredible talents and potential. Like Trout, Harper possesses the tools to excel at all aspects of the game and has had success at a very young age. However, those comparisons didn't quite seem to hold up for their first few years in the league, when Trout put up otherworldly numbers while Harper wasn't able to get quite the same level out of his talent. He also suffered a few injury-related setbacks. That changed in 2015, when Harper had a historically great offensive season despite still only being 22 years old, winning the NL MVP and looking every bit as good as Trout- maybe even better. Has an interesting and [[LoveItOrHateIt polarizing]] reputation amongst fans and other players, particularly in 2016 after an interview where he made his intention use his career to shift the culture of baseball to allow for more personality and freedom of expression without the antiquated unwritten rules of the game getting in the way. Depending on your view of Harper, this painted him as somewhere in between a punk who [[SeriousBusiness dishonors the game]] and a [[BlitheSpirit well-needed breath of fresh air looking to shake up a sport that had gone stale.]] After his MVP season, views on him as a player range from HypeBacklash[[labelnote:*]]"This guy's not nearly as good as everyone keeps saying he is."[[/labelnote]] to WorthyOpponent[[labelnote:*]]"I don't like him[=/=][[TheRival his team]], but you gotta tip your cap to the guy."[[/labelnote]] and, to some managers, even TheDreaded[[labelnote:*]]When he's on his hotter streaks, some teams just avoid pitching to him altogether[[/labelnote]].

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* '''Bryce Harper''', an outfielder for the Washington Nationals, made his debut in 2012, on the same day that Mike Trout was called up for the first time that year. While he had an impressive beginning to his career, he did tail off later in the year. Overall, however, he still had a good year- year - perhaps the best year ever for a 19-year-old- 19-year-old - earning an All-Star selection and easily winning the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. He has occasionally been compared to fellow young phenom outfielder Mike Trout- Trout - coming into 2012, Harper and Trout were widely considered the best prospects in the game and hailed for their incredible talents and potential. Like Trout, Harper possesses the tools to excel at all aspects of the game and has had success at a very young age. However, those comparisons didn't quite seem to hold up for their first few years in the league, when Trout put up otherworldly numbers while Harper wasn't able to get quite the same level out of his talent. He also suffered a few injury-related setbacks. That changed in 2015, when Harper had a historically great offensive season despite still only being 22 years old, winning the NL MVP and looking every bit as good as Trout- Trout - maybe even better.better. However, his performance ended up taking a massive step backwards in 2016, with him "only" being a somewhat-above average player that season. Has an interesting and [[LoveItOrHateIt polarizing]] reputation amongst fans and other players, particularly in 2016 after an interview where he made his intention use his career to shift the culture of baseball to allow for more personality and freedom of expression without the antiquated unwritten rules of the game getting in the way. Depending on your view of Harper, this painted him as somewhere in between a punk who [[SeriousBusiness dishonors the game]] and a [[BlitheSpirit well-needed breath of fresh air looking to shake up a sport that had gone stale.]] After his MVP season, views on him as a player range from HypeBacklash[[labelnote:*]]"This guy's not nearly as good as everyone keeps saying he is."[[/labelnote]] to WorthyOpponent[[labelnote:*]]"I don't like him[=/=][[TheRival his team]], but you gotta tip your cap to the guy."[[/labelnote]] and, to some managers, even TheDreaded[[labelnote:*]]When he's on his hotter streaks, some teams just avoid pitching to him altogether[[/labelnote]].



* '''CC Sabathia''' began his pro career as a Cleveland Indian and began turning heads in the Major Leagues. Despite being a big man - looking overweight in his baseball uniform - Sabathia quickly proved to be an ace pitcher who could strike out a number of batters. Baseball experts also noticed how long he could last during each outing, regardless of him being [[{{Acrofatic}} twice as big as most starting pitchers]] who lose stamina and get tired during the nine innings. The experts began calling him a "workhorse" or an "innings eater" because of this. He had his most dominant year in 2007, where he quickly reached 1,000 strikeouts and ended up winning a Cy Young Award - being the second pitcher in franchise history to do so. The Cleveland Indians were able to build a competitive team around Sabathia's pitching and make a couple of playoff appearances. After failing to make it to the World Series, however, Sabathia eventually became too expensive and was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, leading them to their first playoff appearance in 26 years. However, they too would fail to reach the World Series, and Sabathia left after the season to become a free agent. He eventually got a 161 million dollar contract with the New York Yankees, becoming one of the most highly paid pitchers in baseball history. The Yankees didn't regret it, as he would lead them to a World Series title in 2009 with dominant pitching during the playoffs and was even named MVP of the ALCS that same year. Having been the best or second best pitcher on generally very good teams for his entire career, many predicted Sabathia to become the next (and possibly the last) pitcher to accumulate 300 lifetime wins, though his physical condition, workload, and more recent mediocre performances have cast doubt on this. Surprised everyone when he went on a [[FormerlyFat weight loss campaign]] that began in 2012, and as of 2014, Sabathia was the thinnest he's been his whole life. This didn't prevent him from having his worst season yet, as he's lost a bit of his fastball velocity and suffered many injuries to his legs. He regained weight in 2015, but was still unable to quite recapture his old magic; at the end of the regular season, he decided to check himself into rehab for alcoholism, shocking even insiders due to the fact that he had shown virtually no public symptoms beforehand.
* '''José Bautista''', an outfielder, spent the early part of his career going between a lot of different teams, frequently getting cut for bad performance. Then he joined the Blue Jays. The rest is history: "Joey Bats" became one of the best hitters in the game, leading MLB in home runs in 2010 and 2011. He didn't hit nearly as many in 2012 and 2013, though, as injuries prevented him from playing for several months, but he was still near the top before getting injured. Since then, he's returned to being a solid and consistent player, and he managed to take first place on the Blue Jays all-time home run list in 2015 despite a lingering right shoulder injury (which still didn't stop him from playing in almost every game that year). Gained national headlines for his series-clinching three-run homer in the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers. Many, however, remember his celebratory bat flip more than the home run itself, and the resulting debate about whether it was an appropriate piece of flair for such a CrowningMomentOfAwesome, or if it was UnsportsmanlikeGloating. The fallout from this incident carried over to the following season when the two teams played each other again. A Rangers pitcher [[BestServedCold threw a pitch into Bautista's back]], and on a subsequent play, Bautista responded with an aggressive slide into the second baseman (such a slide had been made ''illegal'' because of another incident in the 2015 postseason where a player had his leg broken). This resulted into a shoving match between Bautista and [[DavidVersusGoliath much smaller Rangers 2B Rougned Odor]], which escalated after Odor threw a solid right rook that caught Bautista flush and [[MemeticMutation quickly became fodder for internet humor]]. A bench-clearing brawl ensued.

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* '''CC Sabathia''' began his pro career as a Cleveland Indian and began turning heads in the Major Leagues. Despite being a big man - looking overweight in his baseball uniform - Sabathia quickly proved to be an ace pitcher who could strike out a number of batters. Baseball experts also noticed how long he could last during each outing, regardless of him being [[{{Acrofatic}} twice as big as most starting pitchers]] who lose stamina and get tired during the nine innings. The experts began calling him a "workhorse" or an "innings eater" because of this. He had his most dominant year in 2007, where he quickly reached 1,000 strikeouts and ended up winning a Cy Young Award - being the second pitcher in franchise history to do so. The Cleveland Indians were able to build a competitive team around Sabathia's pitching and make a couple of playoff appearances. After failing to make it to the World Series, however, Sabathia eventually became too expensive and was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, leading them to their first playoff appearance in 26 years. However, they too would fail to reach the World Series, and Sabathia left after the season to become a free agent. He eventually got a 161 million dollar contract with the New York Yankees, becoming one of the most highly paid pitchers in baseball history. The Yankees didn't regret it, as he would lead them to a World Series title in 2009 with dominant pitching during the playoffs and was even named MVP of the ALCS that same year. Having been the best or second best pitcher on generally very good teams for his entire career, many predicted Sabathia to become the next (and possibly the last) pitcher to accumulate 300 lifetime wins, though his physical condition, workload, and more recent mediocre performances have cast doubt on this. Surprised everyone when he went on a [[FormerlyFat weight loss campaign]] that began in 2012, and as of 2014, Sabathia was the thinnest he's been his whole life. This didn't prevent him from having his worst season yet, as he's lost a bit of his fastball velocity and suffered many injuries to his legs. He regained weight in 2015, but was still unable to quite recapture his old magic; at the end of the regular season, he decided to check himself into rehab for alcoholism, shocking even insiders due to the fact that he had shown virtually no public symptoms beforehand.
beforehand. This seems to have done Sabathia some good, as he put up a solid (though not spectacular) performance in 2016.
* '''José Bautista''', an outfielder, spent the early part of his career going between a lot of different teams, frequently getting cut for bad performance. Then he joined the Blue Jays. The rest is history: "Joey Bats" became one of the best hitters in the game, leading MLB in home runs in 2010 and 2011. He didn't hit nearly as many in 2012 and 2013, though, as injuries prevented him from playing for several months, but he was still near the top before getting injured. Since then, he's He returned to being a solid and consistent player, and he managed player the next two seasons, managing to take first place on the Blue Jays all-time home run list in 2015 despite a lingering right shoulder injury (which still didn't stop him from playing in almost every game that year).year), but struggled to find his groove in 2016 (though he was still a solid player). Gained national headlines for his series-clinching three-run homer in the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers. Many, however, remember his celebratory bat flip more than the home run itself, and the resulting debate about whether it was an appropriate piece of flair for such a CrowningMomentOfAwesome, or if it was UnsportsmanlikeGloating. The fallout from this incident carried over to the following season when the two teams played each other again. A Rangers pitcher [[BestServedCold threw a pitch into Bautista's back]], and on a subsequent play, Bautista responded with an aggressive slide into the second baseman (such a slide had been made ''illegal'' because of another incident in the 2015 postseason where a player had his leg broken). This resulted into a shoving match between Bautista and [[DavidVersusGoliath much smaller Rangers 2B Rougned Odor]], which escalated after Odor threw a solid right rook that caught Bautista flush and [[MemeticMutation quickly became fodder for internet humor]]. A bench-clearing brawl ensued.



* '''Cliff Lee''' is a free agent pitcher who last played for the Philadelphia Phillies. He came up with the Indians, and had a few ups and downs before cementing himself as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game with his Cy Young-winning season in 2008, with 22 wins, 2.54 ERA, and 170 Strikeouts. He has a reputation as one of the best pitchers in the postseason: In the first 7 postseason games he pitched, he went 7-0 and allowed just 9 runs in total. On account of the struggles of many of his teams, he was a human trade rumor in his prime, though it appears that trading him is cursed: He was traded 3 times in the span of about a year (from the Indians to the Phillies in July 2009, from the Phillies to the Mariners in December 2009, and from the Mariners to the Rangers in July 2010), and each time the minor-league players gotten in return for him failed to accomplished much at the major league level. Since his return to the Phillies, he's been solid to excellent whenever he actually takes the mound, but his career has been derailed by injuries since 2014, to the point where he missed the entire 2015 season.

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* '''Cliff Lee''' is a free agent pitcher who last played for the Philadelphia Phillies. He came up with the Indians, and had a few ups and downs before cementing himself as one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game with his Cy Young-winning season in 2008, with 22 wins, 2.54 ERA, and 170 Strikeouts. He has a reputation as one of the best pitchers in the postseason: In the first 7 postseason games he pitched, he went 7-0 and allowed just 9 runs in total. On account of the struggles of many of his teams, he was a human trade rumor in his prime, though it appears that trading him is cursed: He was traded 3 times in the span of about a year (from the Indians to the Phillies in July 2009, from the Phillies to the Mariners in December 2009, and from the Mariners to the Rangers in July 2010), and each time the minor-league players gotten in return for him failed to accomplished much at the major league level. Since his return When he returned to the Phillies, he's been he was still solid to excellent whenever he actually takes took the mound, but his career has been derailed by injuries since 2014, injuries, to the point where he missed the entire 2015 season.hasn't pitched since mid-2014.



* '''Brian Wilson''', who spent most of his career as a closer for the San Francisco Giants, is known to a certain degree for his pitching, which has sent him to several all-star games and the Giants to a World Series victory. However, he's probably much better known for his [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} general weirdness]] and for having one of the most [[BadassBeard epic beards]] in baseball. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, but was released in 2014 after being unable to replicate his previous success there. [[NamesTheSame Not]] [[Music/BrianWilson a member of]] Music/TheBeachBoys.

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* '''Brian Wilson''', who spent most of his career as a closer for the San Francisco Giants, is known to a certain degree for his pitching, which has sent him to several all-star games and the Giants to a World Series victory. However, he's probably much better known for his [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} general weirdness]] and for having one of the most [[BadassBeard epic beards]] in baseball. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, but was released in 2014 after being unable to replicate his previous success there.there, and hasn't pitched professionally since. [[NamesTheSame Not]] [[Music/BrianWilson a member of]] Music/TheBeachBoys.



* '''Ryan Braun''' is an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. A few years ago, before his issues with [=PEDs=] surfaced and injuries cost him some of his power, many argued he was the best hitter in the game, or at least in the top 5, routinely having some of the best statistics in just about every major offensive category. He won the MVP award in 2011... and almost immediately after, it was leaked that he failed a drug test, although the accompanying suspension was overturned on what some view as a technicality. He was also one of the players named in connection to the Biogenesis scandal in the 2012-13 offseason, although like everyone else involved, he flatly denied that this meant he was using steroids; he ultimately accepted a 65-game suspension and made an admission of wrongdoing around the same time the Brewers lost any hope for the 2013 season. His multiple steroid connections and lack of punishment made people consider him either a big KarmaHoudini or an innocent man who was the victim of multiple bad coincidences — at least until, as mentioned above, he was finally officially caught and suspended for his connection to Biogenesis. His 2014 season was his worst yet, thanks to a thumb injury that necessitated surgery at the end of the season, but his offense somewhat recovered in 2015, despite a back injury which necessitated ''another'' end-of-the-season surgery.

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* '''Ryan Braun''' is an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. A few years ago, before his issues with [=PEDs=] surfaced and injuries cost him some of his power, many argued he was the best hitter in the game, or at least in the top 5, routinely having some of the best statistics in just about every major offensive category. He won the MVP award in 2011... and almost immediately after, it was leaked that he failed a drug test, although the accompanying suspension was overturned on what some view as a technicality. He was also one of the players named in connection to the Biogenesis scandal in the 2012-13 offseason, although like everyone else involved, he flatly denied that this meant he was using steroids; he ultimately accepted a 65-game suspension and made an admission of wrongdoing around the same time the Brewers lost any hope for the 2013 season. His multiple steroid connections and lack of punishment made people consider him either a big KarmaHoudini or an innocent man who was the victim of multiple bad coincidences — at least until, as mentioned above, he was finally officially caught and suspended for his connection to Biogenesis. His 2014 season was his worst yet, thanks to a thumb injury that necessitated surgery at the end of the season, but his offense somewhat largely recovered in 2015, the following seasons, despite a back injury which necessitated ''another'' end-of-the-season surgery.surgery in 2015.



* '''Robinson Canó''' was the New York Yankees' second baseman until he signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners in the 2013-14 offseason. Following the beginning of Alex Rodriguez's decline from his age and injuries in 2009-10, Cano became generally regarded as the Yankees' best player, and possibly the best second baseman in the game, thanks to his great defensive skills and power numbers that would be impressive even if he wasn't a middle infielder. He had a CrowningMomentOfAwesome at the 2011 Home Run Derby, winning and breaking the record for most home runs hit in the Final Round with several outs to spare. It also counted as a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming, as he was being pitched to by his dad, a once minor league pitcher who never quite made it to the big leagues. Canó was named the AL Captain of the next two derbies, but didn't have nearly as much success, and was booed relentlessly by Kansas City Royals fans at the 2012 Derby (in Kansas City) for not picking any Royals to go to the derby when he originally said he would. He had a rough first half of 2015 thanks in part to acid reflux, but managed to recover his mojo in the second half despite a sports hernia. Fully recovered from his maladies in 2016, he seems to have bounced back and is having one of his best seasons yet.

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* '''Robinson Canó''' was the New York Yankees' second baseman until he signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners in the 2013-14 offseason. Following the beginning of Alex Rodriguez's decline from his age and injuries in 2009-10, Cano became generally regarded as the Yankees' best player, and possibly the best second baseman in the game, thanks to his great defensive skills and power numbers that would be impressive even if he wasn't a middle infielder. He had a CrowningMomentOfAwesome at the 2011 Home Run Derby, winning and breaking the record for most home runs hit in the Final Round with several outs to spare. It also counted as a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming, as he was being pitched to by his dad, a once minor league pitcher who never quite made it to the big leagues. Canó was named the AL Captain of the next two derbies, but didn't have nearly as much success, and was booed relentlessly by Kansas City Royals fans at the 2012 Derby (in Kansas City) for not picking any Royals to go to the derby when he originally said he would. He had a rough first half of 2015 thanks in part to acid reflux, but managed to recover his mojo in the second half despite a sports hernia. Fully recovered from his maladies in 2016, he hernia, and seems to have mostly bounced back and is having one of his best seasons yet.in 2016.



* '''Yasiel Puig''' is a Cuban outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After signing a large 6-year contract with them in 2012, he began to tear up the low minor leagues and had an absolutely incredible 2013 spring training that probably would have led to a big league call-up if the Dodgers hadn't already had three highly-paid all-star outfielders in Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. He continued destroying minor league pitching and eventually ended up in the big leagues in June following some injuries in the Dodgers' outfield. He proceeded to crush major league pitching almost as much as he had crushed minor league pitching, hitting over .400 in his first month, and came very close to getting an all-star selection despite only playing for about a month before the 2013 all-star game. He continued to go on a tear in 2014, but his 2015 season was completely derailed thanks to hamstring issues, and a resurgence of those issues plus his reputation as a bit of a slacker and a [[JerkAss "bad clubhouse presence"]] led to a brief demotion to the minors, and the Dodgers even tried (unsuccessfully) to trade him a few times. His raw talent and incredible speed and power are a sight to behold, and he often puts his talents to good use - but he also makes frequent mental errors on the bases and in the field, overthrowing infielders by 10 feet almost as much as he makes incredible plays to get people out. He also gets some hate from other players for infractions of the "unwritten rules of baseball", like his exaggerated bat flips on home runs, and his part in the Dodgers' celebration of their 2013 NL West Title—they clinched it with a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks and celebrated in Arizona's pool just beyond the outfield wall after the game.

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* '''Yasiel Puig''' is a Cuban outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After signing a large 6-year contract with them in 2012, he began to tear up the low minor leagues and had an absolutely incredible 2013 spring training that probably would have led to a big league call-up if the Dodgers hadn't already had three highly-paid all-star outfielders in Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. He continued destroying minor league pitching and eventually ended up in the big leagues in June following some injuries in the Dodgers' outfield. He proceeded to crush major league pitching almost as much as he had crushed minor league pitching, hitting over .400 in his first month, and came very close to getting an all-star selection despite only playing for about a month before the 2013 all-star game. He continued to go on a tear in 2014, but his 2015 season was completely derailed thanks to hamstring issues, and a resurgence of those issues in 2016 plus his reputation as a bit of a slacker and a [[JerkAss "bad clubhouse presence"]] led to a brief demotion to the minors, and the Dodgers even tried (unsuccessfully) to trade him a few times. His raw talent and incredible speed and power are a sight to behold, and he often puts his talents to good use - but he also makes frequent mental errors on the bases and in the field, overthrowing infielders by 10 feet almost as much as he makes incredible plays to get people out. He also gets some hate from other players for infractions of the "unwritten rules of baseball", like his exaggerated bat flips on home runs, and his part in the Dodgers' celebration of their 2013 NL West Title—they clinched it with a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks and celebrated in Arizona's pool just beyond the outfield wall after the game.



* '''Johnny Cueto''', currently a starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, was the ace for the Cincinnati Reds in the early [=2010s=]. While other ace pitchers got more press, Cueto quietly emerged as one of the most dominant pitchers for the National League. In 2012 he won 19 games and had an ERA of 2.78. Got off to a good start in 2013 before going on the DL because of a back injury. But came back strong in 2014 by winning 20 games with an ERA of 2.25, the first pitcher in franchise history to do so since 1988. These would normally be CY Young worthy numbers, but Cueto, unfortunately, is also a victim of AlwaysSecondBest. Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in the game from 2011-2014 is also a National League pitcher and produced better numbers in 2012 and 2014, leaving Cueto to finish second in wins and the ERA title in both years. Fortunately, his great year in 2014 was recognized by his baseball peers and he won a GIBBY award for best bounce back player after an injury. Cueto is known for his pitching delivery, in which he does an almost 180 degree turn of his upper body so batters have a hard time reading him. This pitching motion, however, is what caused his back injury in 2013 and time will tell if he's able to keep doing it in the years to come. In the middle of the 2015 season, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals due to the struggling Reds needing to rebuild. Though he struggled to pitch consistently well for his new team in the second half of the 2015 regular season, he would prove to be a vital piece of the Royals' starting rotation in the postseason, where he helped led the team to a World Series Championship with quality pitching, especially in World Series Game 2, where he pitched a complete game two-hitter against the New York Mets.

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* '''Johnny Cueto''', currently a starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, was the ace for the Cincinnati Reds in the early [=2010s=]. While other ace pitchers got more press, Cueto quietly emerged as one of the most dominant pitchers for the National League. In 2012 he won 19 games and had an ERA of 2.78. Got off to a good start in 2013 before going on the DL because of a back injury. But came back strong in 2014 by winning 20 games with an ERA of 2.25, the first pitcher in franchise history to do so since 1988. These would normally be CY Young worthy numbers, but Cueto, unfortunately, is also a victim of AlwaysSecondBest. Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in the game from 2011-2014 is also a National League pitcher and produced better numbers in 2012 and 2014, leaving Cueto to finish second in wins and the ERA title in both years. Fortunately, his great year in 2014 was recognized by his baseball peers and he won a GIBBY award for best bounce back player after an injury. Cueto is known for his pitching delivery, in which he does an almost 180 degree turn of his upper body so batters have a hard time reading him. This pitching motion, however, is what caused his back injury in 2013 and time will tell if he's able to keep doing it in the years to come. In the middle of the 2015 season, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals due to the struggling Reds needing to rebuild. Though rebuild; though he struggled to pitch consistently well for his new team in the second half of the 2015 regular season, he would prove to be a vital piece of the Royals' starting rotation in the postseason, where he helped led the team to a World Series Championship with quality pitching, especially in World Series Game 2, where he pitched a complete game two-hitter against the New York Mets.



* '''[=RA=] Dickey''' is a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was drafted in the first round of 1996 for the Texas Rangers before a medical exam discovered his throwing arm completely lacked an ulnar collateral ligament (he was either born without one, or it was weak enough to have withered away in his youth). This mystified doctors, who said he should be experiencing intense pain from merely turning a door-knob, let alone pitching a baseball. In the end, the Rangers still signed him, but at a drastically reduced price ($75,000 instead of $810,000). Their expectation was that he would quickly suffer an injury and retire. That didn't happen, but, he had an underwhelming early career until he decided in 2005 the only way to stay competitive was to develop into a knuckleball pitcher. It took years for him to perfect the pitch, during which he was passed around various teams, including the occasional stay in the minors, but he ended his first full season for the New York Mets in 2011 with an ERA of 3.28, which was 12th best in the entire National League. His performance peaked in 2012 when he became the first and only knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young award and finished the year with an ERA of 2.73. After this, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, where his performance sort of leveled off from spectacular "ace"-level numbers to an ERA averaging around 4.00. He's still notable as one of ''only two'' pitchers currently in the major leagues to use a knuckleball as their primary pitch (the other being Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox). He is very much OneOfUs, and uses either the [[Franchise/StarWars Imperial March]] or the opening to ''Series/GameOfThrones'' as his warm-up music. At age 40, he became the oldest player to make a postseason debut when he pitched as a starter for the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth game of the American League division series against the Texas Rangers.

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* '''[=RA=] Dickey''' is currently a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.Atlanta Braves. He was drafted in the first round of 1996 for the Texas Rangers before a medical exam discovered his throwing arm completely lacked an ulnar collateral ligament (he was either born without one, or it was weak enough to have withered away in his youth). This mystified doctors, who said he should be experiencing intense pain from merely turning a door-knob, let alone pitching a baseball. In the end, the Rangers still signed him, but at a drastically reduced price ($75,000 instead of $810,000). Their expectation was that he would quickly suffer an injury and retire. That didn't happen, but, he had an underwhelming early career until he decided in 2005 the only way to stay competitive was to develop into a knuckleball pitcher. It took years for him to perfect the pitch, during which he was passed around various teams, including the occasional stay in the minors, but he ended his first full season for the New York Mets in 2011 with an ERA of 3.28, which was 12th best in the entire National League. His performance peaked in 2012 when he became the first and only knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young award and finished the year with an ERA of 2.73. After this, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, where his performance sort of leveled off from spectacular "ace"-level numbers to an ERA averaging around 4.00.00, resulting in him signing with the rebuilding Braves for the 2017 season. He's still notable as one of ''only two'' pitchers currently in the major leagues to use a knuckleball as their primary pitch (the other being Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox). He is very much OneOfUs, and uses either the [[Franchise/StarWars Imperial March]] or the opening to ''Series/GameOfThrones'' as his warm-up music. At age 40, he became the oldest player to make a postseason debut when he pitched as a starter for the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth game of the American League division series against the Texas Rangers.



* '''Bartolo Colón''', currently a starting pitcher for the New York Mets, is currently the oldest active player in baseball and the longest-active pitcher, having pitched since 1997. He was a moderately successful pitcher early in his career, pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, and Anaheim Angels between 1997 and 2005, and making a few all-star appearances. He won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award, although many think he only got that award because he led the league in wins, a generally poor indicator of pitcher performance - most other pitching statistics would say he was good that year, but not the best pitcher in the league, and maybe not even the best pitcher on his own team. In any case, his career was sadly derailed for a few years after that by arm injuries, and he struggled to pitch well or stay on the field. He then successfully made a comeback with the Yankees in 2011, not quite returning to his old skill level but pitching effectively nonetheless. In years since, he's remained a fairly average pitcher (though that's actually kind of impressive considering that almost 90% of his pitches are 84-91 mph fastballs, meaning that he relies almost exclusively on his ability to locate pitches), but he's been much more famous for his excessive weight (which nonetheless hasn't stopped him from being a surprisingly effective fielder who provides his fair share of defensive highlights) and, since joining the Mets in 2014 and having to hit regularly, his comical plate appearances, where he frequently flails wildly at pitches and swings hard enough to make his helmet fall off. His goofy swings were once half-jokingly cited by Rob Manfred as a good reason to not bring the DH to the National League, because that would rob fans of the entertainment of watching Bartolo try to hit. Although he's usually been pretty terrible at the plate, he occasionally gets decent results, and he managed to hit his first big league home run on May 7, 2016, a few weeks shy of his 43rd birthday, the oldest age ever at which a player hit his first big league home run.

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* '''Bartolo Colón''', currently a starting pitcher for the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, is currently the oldest active player in baseball and the longest-active pitcher, having pitched since 1997. He was a moderately successful pitcher early in his career, pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, and Anaheim Angels between 1997 and 2005, and making a few all-star appearances. He won the 2005 AL Cy Young Award, although many think he only got that award because he led the league in wins, a generally poor indicator of pitcher performance - most other pitching statistics would say he was good that year, but not the best pitcher in the league, and maybe not even the best pitcher on his own team. In any case, his career was sadly derailed for a few years after that by arm injuries, and he struggled to pitch well or stay on the field. He then successfully made a comeback with the Yankees in 2011, not quite returning to his old skill level but pitching effectively nonetheless. In years since, he's remained a fairly average pitcher (though that's actually kind of impressive considering that almost 90% of his pitches are 84-91 mph fastballs, meaning that he relies almost exclusively on his ability to locate pitches), but he's been much more famous for his excessive weight (which nonetheless hasn't stopped him from being a surprisingly effective fielder who provides his fair share of defensive highlights) and, and (ever since joining his 2014-2016 stint with the Mets in 2014 and having to hit regularly, New York Mets) his comical plate appearances, where he frequently flails wildly at pitches and swings hard enough to make his helmet fall off. His goofy swings were once half-jokingly cited by Rob Manfred as a good reason to not bring the DH to the National League, because that would rob fans of the entertainment of watching Bartolo try to hit. Although he's usually been pretty terrible at the plate, he occasionally gets decent results, and he managed to hit his first big league home run on May 7, 2016, a few weeks shy of his 43rd birthday, the oldest age ever at which a player hit his first big league home run.



* '''Jose Altuve''' plays second base for the Houston Astros. At 5 feet, 6 inches tall, [[labelnote:*]]1.68 meters, in metric[[/labelnote]] Altuve is the shortest currently active player in baseball, and some doubted whether someone his size could succeed at the big league level. He had some initial struggles, but since 2014 has become one of the best players in the game, twice leading the AL in batting average, to go along with lots of stolen bases and packing [[PintsizedPowerhouse a pretty good amount of power for a second baseman.]] His development into a superstar has helped the Astros become a perennial playoff contender after years of being a laughingstock. His short stature has been fodder for quite a few memes over the years, and led to some baseball fans using his height as a unit of measurement called an "Altuve" (for example, Randy Johnson, at 6' 10'' tall, could have his height expressed as 1.24 Altuves).

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* '''Jose Altuve''' plays second base for the Houston Astros. At 5 feet, 6 inches tall, [[labelnote:*]]1.tall[[labelnote:*]]1.68 meters, in metric[[/labelnote]] metric[[/labelnote]], Altuve is the shortest currently active player in baseball, and some doubted whether someone his size could succeed at the big league level. He had some initial struggles, but since 2014 has become one of the best players in the game, twice leading the AL in batting average, to go along with lots of stolen bases and packing [[PintsizedPowerhouse a pretty good amount of power for a second baseman.]] His development into a superstar has helped the Astros become a perennial playoff contender after years of being a laughingstock. His short stature has been fodder for quite a few memes over the years, and led to some baseball fans using his height as a unit of measurement called an "Altuve" (for example, Randy Johnson, at 6' 10'' tall, could have his height expressed as 1.24 Altuves).
29th Dec '16 2:06:19 AM InfinityPlusTwo
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* '''Wins Above Replacement''' (WAR): A statistic that attempts to capture every single thing a player does- hitting, baserunning, fielding, and pitching- and put it into one statistic. As you might guess from the name, it tells you how many wins that player was worth, relative to a hypothetical "replacement player" who has value roughly equal to that of a player that could be acquired for basically nothing, such as waiver-wire players or the best minor leaguers. Yes, that means (as Website/{{Cracked}} [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-nerds-are-turning-jocks-into-ultimate-sports-machines_p2/ put it]] that means WAR is kind of an asshole statistic, basically telling a player, "This is how much you're worth compared to some schmuck we invented from nowhere--and you'd damn well better be significantly better or else, scientifically speaking, we should fire you." A League-Average WAR is about 2.0. WAR is the most controversial sabermetric statistic; there are multiple competing formulas for how to calculate it, and even among sabermetricians there's no agreement as to whether it's actually possible to distill a player's value into a single stat.

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* '''Wins Above Replacement''' (WAR): A statistic that attempts to capture every single thing a player does- hitting, baserunning, fielding, and pitching- and put it into one statistic. As you might guess from the name, it tells you how many wins that player was worth, relative to a hypothetical "replacement player" who has value roughly equal to that of a player that could be acquired for basically nothing, such as waiver-wire players or the best minor leaguers. Yes, that means (as Website/{{Cracked}} [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-nerds-are-turning-jocks-into-ultimate-sports-machines_p2/ put it]] it]]) that means WAR is kind of an asshole statistic, basically telling a player, "This is how much you're worth compared to some schmuck we invented from nowhere--and you'd damn well better be significantly better or else, scientifically speaking, we should fire you." A League-Average WAR is about 2.0. WAR is the most controversial sabermetric statistic; there are multiple competing formulas for how to calculate it, and even among sabermetricians there's no agreement as to whether it's actually possible to distill a player's value into a single stat.


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* '''Theo Epstein''' was one of the first general managers of a big market team to copy Beane's ideas. He was first hired by the Red Sox in 2002 at the ripe old age of 28, shortly after an unsuccessful attempt by the Red Sox to hire Beane himself. Epstein's use of sabermetrics combined with a much bigger budget than the A's had an immediate impact on the Red Sox, and they won the World Series for the first time in 86 years in 2004. Following a disappointing season in 2011 that saw the Red Sox suffer one of the biggest late-season collapses in history and fall one game short of the playoffs, Epstein left the team to join the Chicago Cubs. Not content with ending just one baseball "curse," Epstein spent the next few years rebuilding the team from the ground up and in 2016, the Cubs had their first 100-win season in more than 100 years, made the World Series for the first time since 1945, and won it for the first time since 1908.


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* '''Kris Bryant''' of the Chicago Cubs is primarily a third baseman, though he also plays in the outfield. He has been getting attention for his amazing power since being picked 2nd in the draft by the Chicago Cubs in 2013 and has drawn many accolades for it: Over 4 consecutive years, he won the Golden Spikes Award (given annually to the top college baseball player in the United States), then the Minor League Player of the Year Award (more or less what it sounds like), then the NL Rookie of the Year, then the NL MVP (no other player ever even won all 4 of those awards at all, much less in consecutive years). Along with several other star players, Bryant was instrumental in ending the Cubs' 108-year World Series drought in 2016.
* '''Jose Altuve''' plays second base for the Houston Astros. At 5 feet, 6 inches tall, [[labelnote:*]]1.68 meters, in metric[[/labelnote]] Altuve is the shortest currently active player in baseball, and some doubted whether someone his size could succeed at the big league level. He had some initial struggles, but since 2014 has become one of the best players in the game, twice leading the AL in batting average, to go along with lots of stolen bases and packing [[PintsizedPowerhouse a pretty good amount of power for a second baseman.]] His development into a superstar has helped the Astros become a perennial playoff contender after years of being a laughingstock. His short stature has been fodder for quite a few memes over the years, and led to some baseball fans using his height as a unit of measurement called an "Altuve" (for example, Randy Johnson, at 6' 10'' tall, could have his height expressed as 1.24 Altuves).
27th Dec '16 2:19:06 AM InfinityPlusTwo
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* '''Batting Average on Balls In Play''' (BABIP): Both a hitting and pitching statistic, it measures batting average only on balls hit into the field of play- basically, it ignores strikeouts, walks, and home runs. Usually considered to be a good indicator of how "lucky" someone has been, since both hitters and pitchers usually don't have much control over exactly what happens once a ball is put in play. The League Average BABIP is around .290-.300; while some hitters ''can'' sustain a BABIP higher than this through making consistently good contact or being fast enough to get infield singles on balls that would ordinarily be outs, the vast majority of pitchers can't sustain a BABIP very far off the average, so if a pitcher has a BABIP significantly outside the norm, there's a strong chance that it will regress towards the mean. There are some exceptions, though - the San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain, for instance, consistently maintained a BABIP around .260 for six straight seasons, mostly because he was really good at getting opposing batters to hit infield pop-ups.
* '''Wins Above Replacement''' (WAR): A statistic that attempts to capture every single thing a player does- hitting, baserunning, fielding, and pitching- and put it into one statistic. As you might guess from the name, it tells you how many wins that player was worth, relative to a hypothetical "replacement player" who has value roughly equal to that of a player that could be acquired for basically nothing, such as waiver-wire players or the best minor leaguers. Yes, that means that (as Website/{{Cracked}} [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-nerds-are-turning-jocks-into-ultimate-sports-machines_p2/ put it]], that means WAR is kind of an asshole statistic, basically telling a player, "This is how much you're worth compared to some schmuck we invented from nowhere--and you'd damn well better be significantly better or else, scientifically speaking, we should fire you." A League-Average WAR is about 2.0. WAR is the most controversial sabermetric statistic; there are multiple competing formulas for how to calculate it, and even among sabermetricians there's no agreement as to whether it's actually possible to distill a player's value into a single stat.

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* '''Batting Average on Balls In Play''' (BABIP): Both a hitting and pitching statistic, it measures batting average only on balls hit into the field of play- basically, it ignores strikeouts, walks, and home runs. Usually considered to be a good indicator of how "lucky" someone has been, since both hitters and pitchers usually don't have much control over exactly what happens once a ball is put in play. The League Average BABIP is around .290-.300; while some hitters ''can'' sustain a BABIP higher than this through making consistently good contact or being fast enough to get infield singles on balls that would ordinarily be outs, the vast majority of pitchers can't sustain a BABIP very far off the average, so if a pitcher has a BABIP significantly outside the norm, there's a strong chance that it will regress towards the mean. There are some exceptions, though though, the most common being pitchers who are really good at getting opposing batters to hit infield pop-ups - the San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain, for instance, consistently maintained a BABIP around .260 for six straight seasons, mostly because he was really good at getting opposing batters to seasons through this skill. Unlike other types of batted balls, where tiny shifts can mean the difference between a hit and an out, infield pop-ups.
pop-ups are nearly automatic "free" outs nearly all the time, and sabermetricians consider them to be basically the equivalent of a strikeout.
* '''Wins Above Replacement''' (WAR): A statistic that attempts to capture every single thing a player does- hitting, baserunning, fielding, and pitching- and put it into one statistic. As you might guess from the name, it tells you how many wins that player was worth, relative to a hypothetical "replacement player" who has value roughly equal to that of a player that could be acquired for basically nothing, such as waiver-wire players or the best minor leaguers. Yes, that means that (as Website/{{Cracked}} [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-nerds-are-turning-jocks-into-ultimate-sports-machines_p2/ put it]], it]] that means WAR is kind of an asshole statistic, basically telling a player, "This is how much you're worth compared to some schmuck we invented from nowhere--and you'd damn well better be significantly better or else, scientifically speaking, we should fire you." A League-Average WAR is about 2.0. WAR is the most controversial sabermetric statistic; there are multiple competing formulas for how to calculate it, and even among sabermetricians there's no agreement as to whether it's actually possible to distill a player's value into a single stat.



** Teams are free to make trades of any kind from the end of the previous season to July 31 of the current season. After this ''trade deadline'', a team wishing to trade a player must put him through ''waivers'': a transaction system in which any other team may claim him for a small fee if the team wishes. If a player clears waivers (meaning no team claimed him), he can then be traded[[note]]This system is also used for players who are out of free transfers to minor league teams, aka "options". A player who has no free options left must be waived to be sent to the minors.[[/note]]. The so-called "waiver trade deadline" is August 31, the last day a traded player is eligible for postseason play.

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** Teams are free to make trades of any kind from the end of the previous season to July 31 of the current season. After this ''trade deadline'', a team wishing to trade a player must put him through ''waivers'': a transaction system in which any other team may claim him for a small fee if the team wishes. If a player clears waivers (meaning no team claimed him), he can then be traded[[note]]This system is also used for players who are out of free transfers to minor league teams, aka "options". A player who has no free options left must be waived to be sent to the minors.[[/note]]. The so-called "waiver trade deadline" is August 31, the last day a traded player is eligible for postseason play. Technically, players can still be traded through the waiver system after August 31, but such trades are extremely rare.



* '''Bob Feller''' was a pitcher who spent his entire career with the Cleveland Indians, interrupted by a three-year stint in the Navy during World War II. He burst onto the national scene as a 17-year-old in 1936, making it to the Indians without ever playing a game in the minors, striking out 15 in his very first start, and a then-record-tying 17 later that season. The next season, he made the cover of ''Time'' magazine, and his high school graduation in Iowa (he was able to attend because he was recovering from an injury) was nationally broadcast on radio. In 1938, he set what was then a single-game record with 18 strikeouts, and went on to throw three no-hitters (a record until Sandy Koufax and later Nolan Ryan came along) and 12 one-hitters (still a record, now shared with Ryan) and win 266 games (he would likely have won 300 if not for the war). Probably the hardest thrower of his day, and possibly measuring up with later flamethrowers such as Ryan and Aroldis Chapman. After his playing career, he became the first president of the players' union.

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* '''Bob Feller''' was a pitcher who spent his entire career with the Cleveland Indians, interrupted by a three-year stint in the Navy during World War II. He burst onto the national scene as a 17-year-old in 1936, making it to the Indians without ever playing a game in the minors, striking out 15 in his very first start, and a then-record-tying 17 later that season.season, making him the first pitcher to strike out a number of batters equal to his age in a major league game, a feat which was equaled in 1998 when a 20-year-old Kerry Wood struck out 20 batters. The next season, he made the cover of ''Time'' magazine, and his high school graduation in Iowa (he was able to attend because he was recovering from an injury) was nationally broadcast on radio. In 1938, he set what was then a single-game record with 18 strikeouts, and went on to throw three no-hitters (a record until Sandy Koufax and later Nolan Ryan came along) and 12 one-hitters (still a record, now shared with Ryan) and win 266 games (he would likely have won 300 if not for the war). Probably the hardest thrower of his day, and possibly measuring up with later flamethrowers such as Ryan and Aroldis Chapman. After his playing career, he became the first president of the players' union.



* '''Curt Schilling''' during his playing career was known for not only being an outstanding pitcher (helping the Philadelphia Phillies enter the 1993 World Series, as well as forming the other half of the co-MVP pitching duo that won the Diamondbacks the 2001 World Series), but one of the gutsiest competitors you'll ever find. While pitching for the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS against the New York Yankees, he tore a ligament in his ankle, yet was able to pitch again in the series thanks to a brand new experimental surgical procedure, albeit one which did not prevent him from bleeding. The Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit to win that series, and Schilling's bloody sock became an iconic image of the team's first World Championship in 86 years. Later in his career and after his retirement, Schilling became known for his outspoken political views. He's a hardcore Republican who has openly supported several prominent Republican candidates for public office, even going so far as to actively campaign for John [=McCain=] during his 2008 Presidential run. Rumors have long abounded that Schilling would run for public office himself, but he has yet to do so. He's also known as a [[OneOfUs fairly hardcore gamer]] who plays [=MMORPGs=] (once another player that hit a home run off of him claimed it was to avenge an Everquest character Schilling had betrayed) and started his own game studio, 38 Studios, after his jersey number. 38 Studios released one game, the 2012 RPG ''VideoGame/KingdomsOfAmalurReckoning'', [[AcclaimedFlop which was well liked by critics, but ultimately failed sales-wise]]. This led to a major scandal after the company defaulted on its loan to the state of Rhode Island, leaving the company bankrupt and Schilling's reputation in ruins. Worked as an ESPN analyst, while battling cancer, until being fired in 2016 for posting comments critical of pro-transgender bathroom policies on his personal Website/{{Facebook}} page.
* '''Ernie Banks''', the Chicago Cubs' longtime shortstop-first baseman, is generally considered to be one of the greatest players to never reach the playoffs. The first black player on the Cubs' roster, Banks was the first player to win two straight MVP awards. He retired with 512 home runs, and 2,528 regular season games. [[ThePollyanna A perpetual optimist]], Banks was so well-liked during the team's DorkAge that he earned the moniker "Mr. Cub". To this day, and even after his death in 2015, Banks remains an icon in Chicago.

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* '''Curt Schilling''' during his playing career was known for not only being an outstanding pitcher (helping the Philadelphia Phillies enter the 1993 World Series, as well as forming the other half of the co-MVP pitching duo that won the Diamondbacks the 2001 World Series), but one of the gutsiest competitors you'll ever find. While pitching for the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS against the New York Yankees, he tore a ligament in his ankle, yet was able to pitch again in the series thanks to a brand new experimental surgical procedure, albeit one which did not prevent him from bleeding. The Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit to win that series, and Schilling's bloody sock became an iconic image of the team's first World Championship in 86 years. Later in his career and after his retirement, Schilling became known for his outspoken political views. He's a hardcore Republican who has openly supported several prominent Republican candidates for public office, even going so far as to notably actively campaign campaigning for John [=McCain=] during his 2008 Presidential run and Donald Trump during his 2016 run. Rumors have long abounded that Schilling would run for public office himself, but and he has yet announced intentions to do so.run for one of Massachusetts' Senate seats in 2018. He's also known as a [[OneOfUs fairly hardcore gamer]] who plays [=MMORPGs=] (once another player that hit a home run off of him claimed it was to avenge an Everquest character Schilling had betrayed) and started his own game studio, 38 Studios, after his jersey number. 38 Studios released one game, the 2012 RPG ''VideoGame/KingdomsOfAmalurReckoning'', [[AcclaimedFlop which was well liked by critics, but ultimately failed sales-wise]]. This led to a major scandal after the company defaulted on its loan to the state of Rhode Island, leaving the company bankrupt and Schilling's reputation in ruins. Worked as an ESPN analyst, while battling cancer, until being fired in 2016 for posting comments critical of pro-transgender bathroom policies on his personal Website/{{Facebook}} page.
* '''Ernie Banks''', the Chicago Cubs' longtime shortstop-first baseman, is generally considered to be one of the greatest players to never reach the playoffs. The first black player on the Cubs' roster, Banks was the first player to win two straight MVP awards. He retired with 512 home runs, and 2,528 regular season games. [[ThePollyanna A perpetual optimist]], optimist]] who had a great love of the game, he was well known for his catchphrase "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame ... Let's play two!", stemming from his desire to play doubleheaders. His unwavering cheerfulness led to him earning the nickname "Mr. Sunshine," and Banks was so well-liked during the team's DorkAge that he also earned the moniker "Mr. Cub". To this day, and even after his death in 2015, Banks remains an icon in Chicago.



* '''Andrew [=McCutchen=]''' is an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates who has been one of the best players in the National League, with the tools to excel at virtually every aspect of the game (even if his fielding isn't what it used to be). In 2013, he won the NL MVP and led the Pirates to their first playoff berth and first winning season since 1992, ending what had been the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in the history of MLB - or any other major sport. He was also well-known for his long dreadlocks, until he had them all cut off for a charity auction before the 2015 season. This among other charitable acts, as well as having another great season in 2015, resulted in him winning the Roberto Clemente Award, one of the most prestigious awards in professional baseball (Roberto Clemente being a legendary Pittsburgh Pirate himself just makes the award even more special).

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* '''Andrew [=McCutchen=]''' is an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates who has been one of the best players in the National League, with the tools to excel at virtually every aspect of the game (even if his fielding isn't what it used to be). In 2013, he won the NL MVP and led the Pirates to their first playoff berth and first winning season since 1992, ending what had been the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in the history of MLB - or any other major sport. He was also well-known for his long dreadlocks, until he had them all cut off for a charity auction before the 2015 season. This among other charitable acts, as well as having another great season in 2015, resulted in him winning the Roberto Clemente Award, one of the most prestigious awards in professional baseball (Roberto Clemente being a legendary Pittsburgh Pirate himself just makes the award even more special). He had an uncharacteristically bad year in 2016, which along with some pitching injuries led to the Pirates missing the playoffs after winning a wild card spot the previous 3 years, and it remains to be seen if he can bounce back to his old self.
26th Dec '16 6:44:20 AM igordebraga
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Baseball was an official UsefulNotes/{{Olympic|Games}} sport from 1992 to 2008. The reason it isn't any longer is because the IOC, citing the fact that Major League players were not allowed to participate in the tournament due to conflict with the regular season (among other reasons, such as the steroid problems of MLB and the fact that the sport is not popular in Europe, from which most of the influential IOC members hail), dropped the sport from the program.

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Baseball was an official UsefulNotes/{{Olympic|Games}} sport from 1992 to 2008. The reason it isn't any longer is because the IOC, citing the fact that Major League players were not allowed to participate in the tournament due to conflict with the regular season (among other reasons, such as the steroid problems of MLB and the fact that the sport is not popular in Europe, from which most of the influential IOC members hail), dropped the sport from the program.
program, along with DistaffCounterpart softball.
14th Dec '16 8:40:58 AM IlGreven
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* '''Jake Arrieta''', the ace starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, struggled heavily during his earlier years with the Baltimore Orioles. He on occasion displayed a great amount of talent, but the results were poor, with an ERA of close to 6.00 during his time in Baltimore. After being traded to the Cubs in 2013, though, he improved immensely. He developed a very good cut fastball after being discouraged from throwing the pitch with Baltimore (the Orioles believe cut fastballs lead to a greater chance of injury, and so tell their developing pitchers not to throw them), and almost immediately went from a terrible pitcher to a decent one, and then, in 2015, a great one, reaching amazing heights in the second half of the season and allowing an ERA of just 0.75 after the All-Star break (1.77 overall), winning the NL Cy Young Award in the process. He's so far continued his dominance in 2016 - in fact, over a 31-start stretch dating from the end of June 2015 to the end of May 2016, he had an ERA of 1.09, 25 wins, and ''more no-hitters (2) than losses (1)!''

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* '''Jake Arrieta''', the ace starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, struggled heavily during his earlier years with the Baltimore Orioles. He on occasion displayed a great amount of talent, but the results were poor, with an ERA of close to 6.00 during his time in Baltimore. After being traded to the Cubs in 2013, though, he improved immensely. He developed a very good cut fastball after being discouraged from throwing the pitch with Baltimore (the Orioles believe cut fastballs lead to a greater chance of injury, and so tell their developing pitchers not to throw them), and almost immediately went from a terrible pitcher to a decent one, and then, in 2015, a great one, reaching amazing heights in the second half of the season and allowing an ERA of just 0.75 after the All-Star break (1.77 overall), winning the NL Cy Young Award in the process. He's so far continued his dominance in 2016 - in fact, over a 31-start stretch dating from the end of June 2015 to the end of May 2016, he had an ERA of 1.09, 25 wins, and ''more no-hitters (2) than losses (1)!''(1)!'' Even better, in the last half of 2015, he ''hit'' more home runs (2) than he gave up (1).
14th Dec '16 8:31:57 AM IlGreven
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** Teams are free to make trades of any kind from the end of the previous season to July 31 of the current season. After this ''trade deadline'', a team wishing to trade a player must put him through ''waivers'': a transaction system in which any other team may claim him for a small fee if the team wishes. If a player clears waivers (meaning no team claimed him), he can then be traded[[note]]This system is also used for players who are out of free transfers to minor league teams, aka "options". A player who has no free options left must be waived to be sent to the minors.[[/note]]. The so-called "waiver trade deadline" is August 31, the last day a traded player is eligible for postseason play.
8th Dec '16 2:18:55 AM KYCubbie
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* '''Aroldis Chapman''', currently of the Chicago Cubs, is best known for his time as the Cincinnati Reds' closer. He currently holds the world record for the fastest fastball, having reached velocities as high as 106 MPH, and often throws over 100 (in fact, MLB's website had to add a special filter to their fastest pitches leaderboard due to the fact that almost all of the top 50+ have been thrown by Chapman). His high fastball velocity has made him one of the best in the game at striking people out, retiring nearly half the batters he faces that way, an insanely high number even for a relief pitcher. In early 2016, MLB gave him a 30-day suspension for a domestic violence incident that occurred in October 2015 during which he, among other things, shot a wall with a handgun 8 times in anger. That didn't prevent the Yankees from acquiring him from the struggling Reds during the 2015-2016 offseason, or the Cubs from trading for him during the 2016 season.

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* '''Aroldis Chapman''', currently of the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees ([[HesBack again]]), is best known for his time as the Cincinnati Reds' closer. He currently holds the world record for the fastest fastball, having reached velocities as high as 106 MPH, and often throws over 100 (in fact, MLB's website had to add a special filter to their fastest pitches leaderboard due to the fact that almost all of the top 50+ have been thrown by Chapman). His high fastball velocity has made him one of the best in the game at striking people out, retiring nearly half the batters he faces that way, an insanely high number even for a relief pitcher. In early 2016, MLB gave him a 30-day suspension for a domestic violence incident that occurred in October 2015 during which he, among other things, shot a wall with a handgun 8 times in anger. That didn't prevent the Yankees from acquiring him from the struggling Reds during the 2015-2016 offseason, or offseason. With free agency looming, the Yankees dealt him to the Cubs from trading for him during the 2016 season.season, where he helped them break their "curse"; after the end of the season, he signed a big deal to return to the Yankees.
7th Dec '16 4:33:26 PM MrMatt
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* Hall of Fame catcher '''Mike Piazza''', the longtime backstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, is generally considered the best offensive player in the history of his position. Piazza was an extremely late-round draft pick[[note]]He was drafted in the ''62nd'' round, the 1390th player taken in the 1988 draft, making him by a wide margin the latest-drafted player ever to make the Hall of Fame. Interestingly, he was elected the same year as Ken Griffey Jr., currently the only player picked first in the draft in the Hall, which makes him the ''earliest''-drafted player ever to make the Hall of Fame[[/note]] and that only, famously, [[{{Nepotism}} a favor to his godfather]], then-Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, and had to learn his position on the fly as a professional. His excellent contact rate and opposite field power nonetheless shot him through the Dodgers' system and he debuted in September of 1992, winning rookie of the year honors the next year. His best season came in 1997 with a ridiculous .362/.431/.638 triple slash line, but with his contract due the next season the new Dodgers ownership gave a lowball offer and, on his refusal, dealt him to the then-Florida Marlins in a salary dump. One week later, the notoriously cheap Marlins sent Piazza to the Mets, then in surprise playoff contention, for several prospects. The Piazza-led Mets reached the playoffs in 1999 and 2000 with several near-misses thereafter, while interleague play brought his famous showdowns with then-Yankee Roger Clemens, who by most accounts resorted to [[RageQuit just hitting him when pitching failed to work.]] Late in the 2001 season, Piazza famously hit a dramatic to left center in the first major league game played after the September 11 terrorist attacks, remaining the signature hit of his career ([[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut the rest of September did not go so well for his team, alas]]). Although his defensive reputation was a punchline for much of his career as he was historically poor at throwing out base stealers, Piazza's defense has been surprisingly VindicatedByHistory. Repeated studies of pitch framing - catching a pitch specifically to show it as a strike - showed him as one of the best catchers of his era at the skill. He probably would like you to know that [[MemeticMutation he only]] [[HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday dates women.]]

to:

* Hall of Fame catcher '''Mike Piazza''', the longtime backstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, is generally considered the best offensive player in the history of his position. Piazza was an extremely late-round draft pick[[note]]He was drafted in the ''62nd'' round, the 1390th player taken in the 1988 draft, making him by a wide margin the latest-drafted player ever to make the Hall of Fame. Interestingly, he was elected the same year as Ken Griffey Jr., currently the only player picked first in the draft in the Hall, which makes him the ''earliest''-drafted player ever to make the Hall of Fame[[/note]] and - even that much only, famously, [[{{Nepotism}} a favor to his godfather]], then-Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, Lasorda - and had to learn his position on the fly as a professional. His excellent contact rate and opposite field power nonetheless shot him through the Dodgers' system and he debuted in September of 1992, winning rookie of the year honors the next year. His best season came in 1997 with a ridiculous .362/.431/.638 triple slash line, but with his contract due the next season the new Dodgers ownership gave a lowball offer and, on his refusal, dealt him to the then-Florida Marlins in a salary dump. One week later, the notoriously cheap Marlins sent Piazza to the Mets, then in surprise playoff contention, for several prospects. The Piazza-led Mets reached the playoffs in 1999 and 2000 with several near-misses thereafter, while interleague play brought his famous showdowns with then-Yankee Roger Clemens, who by most accounts resorted to [[RageQuit just hitting him when pitching failed to work.]] Late in the 2001 season, Piazza famously hit a dramatic home run to left center in the first major league game played after the September 11 terrorist attacks, remaining the signature hit of his career ([[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut the rest of September did not go so well for his team, alas]]). Although his defensive reputation was a punchline for much of his career as he was historically poor at throwing out base stealers, Piazza's defense has been surprisingly VindicatedByHistory. Repeated studies of pitch framing - catching a pitch specifically to show it as a strike - showed him as one of the best catchers of his era at the skill. He probably would like you to know that [[MemeticMutation he only]] [[HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday dates women.]]
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=UsefulNotes.Baseball