Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill

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Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, where on Sunday night we’ll be holding a party to watch a Bull Durham/Bang the Drum Slowly double feature

* Sammy Sosa had 276 at-bats against right-handers in 2005 and hit .196 with 10 home runs and a .341 slugging percentage. A year off probably isn’t going to help him deal with a right-hander’s curve ball. The Rangers may find that Sosa best fits as a platoon DH with Frank Catalanotto with an outfield of Brad Wilkerson, Kenny Lofton and Nelson Cruz.

* Sosa has always handled Curt Schilling though. He has seven home runs off him, tied with Jose Lima for the most off any pitcher. Kevin Millwood has allowed two to Sosa but has also struck him out nine times in 29 at-bats. Sosa has five homers in 33 at-bats off Jamey Wright. No surprise here, Wright has hit him with a pitch.

* This is wild. Sosa has never hit a home run against the Cleveland Indians in 165 at-bats. Never. His slugging percentage against them is .241.

* Ron Washington on dugout coach Art Howe: "Art Howe doesn’t miss anything on the field. If I miss anything, he’ll be deep in my rear. That’s what I want. I don’t want anybody catering to me."

* Washington on player effort: "Just give me what you have that day. You can’t be 100 percent every day. If you’re 60 percent, give me 60 percent. But I don’t want you feeling 100 percent and giving me 20 or 30 percent."

* When Washington was Oakland’s third base coach, they once miked him for television. During the game, he was caught offering help to Angels third baseman Scott Spiezio, who had asked him a question. Some on his team got on him but Washington told them off. Said Washington, "I’m a baseball man. When somebody asks me a baseball question, my reputation is on the line. I’m not going to lie. I like to see good people doing things correctly."

* Roger Clemens does not have a career save. Neither does Greg Maddux. The other 20 pitchers who have won at least 300 games in their career also have at least one save. Nolan Ryan had three. He also had a save in his only World Series appearance, four shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles in Game 3 in 1969 for the Mets.

* Lefty Grove had 55 saves, most by a 300-game winner. Tom Seaver had one. Steve Carlton had two. He had one in 1967 and another in 1987. That has to be some kind of record.

* Jamey Wright gets a $100,000 bonus if he wins the Cy Young Award and $50,000 if he is the World Series MVP.

* Just for the heck of it: Fred Manrique.

* The Rangers let their pre-arbitration players pick one award incentive to be included in their contract, which is why Josh Rupe will get $10,000 if he makes the All-Star team and A.J. Murray will get $10,000 if he is Rookie of the Year.

* Rudy Jaramillo goes into his 13th season as the Rangers hitting coach. Only two coaches have been in their current job longer. Twins bullpen coach Rich Stelmaszek is the leader. He has been doing that job for 27 years. Indians bullpen coach Luis Issac goes into his 14th season.

* You’ve heard this week that Jaramillo was Sosa’s first Minor League manager. That was in 1986 in Sarasota. Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer were also on that team. Those three had a combined 615 at-bats and had four home runs between them. Actually Sosa hit all four of them.

* Before the Washington Senators left for Texas, they tried to drum up business with Pantyhose Night. They held three of them actually in 1970. They gave away 14,960 pairs but it didn’t help.Paige

* Merrill Combs was a Rangers coach in 1974-75. He needed 40 days on a Major League payroll to qualify for the pension and Billy Martin gave him a job. Nobody else would hire him.

* If they stay in rotation, the Rangers won’t get the All-Star Game back until 2024.

* Johnny Damon and Snoop Dogg face each other Friday night in a game of Madden NFL ’07. Winner gets $10,000 for his favorite charity. Loser’s charity gets $5,000. One will use the Bears, the other the Colts.

* In honor of Black history month, we remember the time when Satchell Paige and Dizzy Dean, in a barnstorming game, went 0-0 into extra innings. At one point Paige told Dean, "I don’t know what you’re going to do Mr. Dean, but I’m not going to give up any runs if we have to stay here all night."

* The St. Louis Cardinals depth chart on MLB.Com lists just three starting pitchers but four right fielders. The fourth right fielder is Rich Ankiel, one of their former starting pitchers.

* Tom Hicks needs to learn the words to "You’ll Never Walk Alone" from the old musical Carousel. That’s the anthem for the Liverpool Football Club.

9 Comments

And the reason why Botts can’t DH against left is what?

Nice thoughts, info, and reflections T.R.-as always.

1) I like that Washington responded honestly, even to an opposing player at the time, with forthright answer to a baseball question. This speaks volumes probably about his wanting to help our team. Kudos Ron!

2) With your statistic revealing how Sosa has owned Curt Schilling, I’d love to know how many career HR’s that John Mayberry had off of Fergie Jenkins, and if you could find the stat, who all was Fergie’s top five people who killed him, and five who he owned as well. I remember Mayberry always had a tater or two versus Fergie.

3)If Jamey Wright earns $100,000 for winning the Cy Young, it means the Rangers are in the World Series. Jamey Wright would be the second-most surprised person in the nation if he earned that, second only to me.

3) I’m glad Tom Hicks purchased a soccer team in Great Britain. I’m kidding. I’m NOT, NOT, NOT a soccer fan, and don’t know why Tom, ever the entrepeneur, would bite on that when we have glaring needs for the ol’ baseball club here which some of that money might have gone towards–(say Tori Hunter or Andruw Jones for next year)…oh well, just my two shillings worth.

4)Just for the heck of it: Why can’t the Rangers go back to their Ranger Red in which they ACTUALLY had success, and what baseball Einstein in the front office decided to change to blue again? I want Ranger bloody red? How about y’all? T.R…thanks for insightful meanderings on Friday’s blogs.

Ooops, forgot the outfield issue you brought up T.R….say it ain’t so, the left fielder you mentioned to start. I’m not calling names, but his initials are B.W…put Cat in left, Lofton in center and Cruz in right. IF Sammy can still hit, let him DH. We would be fine, and if Sammy can’t cut it, Botts would fill in: in right, left, DH, and first occasionally to spell Tex-giving the youngster plenty of AB’s. Let’s not play “whiff-le”-ball with B.W….Botts and Sosa should principally be the DH. If Laird is given a day off catching, let him DH–that’s IF Sammy can’t still swing the bat.

Mr. Hicks, why are you spending $225 million on a soccer team when you have the Rangers to kick around? Mr. Hicks please sell your baseball team, if you want to call it a team. The fans in this area require and demand an owner who will commit to one philosophy and stick to it. The biggest mistake you made was firing Doug Melvin and hiring the empty golf shirt. You continually change your philosophy each year, refuse to pay talented players, trade them away or shall i say give them away, because you don’t want to pay the piper. The rules of the game and the market dictates that these above average players are going to get this money. Marvin Miller and the Baseball Players Association are too strong. So if you want to be an owner, then be a man and pony up to the table. Teixiera and Young are already gone because of your lack of committment to winning. As your last act, get on the phone to Eddie Gaylord and ask him to buy the team. Then that way you will go down as someone who actually turned the franchise around by selling it. Your loyal former fan and season ticket holder. P.S. are the parking and beer prices going up this year???

You were right about John Mayberry. He hit six home runs in 67 at-bats off of Jenkins. Graig Nettles had five. His old Cubs teammate, Billy Williams, hit .435 off him.

By the way, Eddie Gaylord passed away four years ago. He won’t be answering the phone. Maybe his secretary will.

Not his father’s secretary. She worked for dad for 50 years. But when dad passed away, Eddie fired her.

Under Eddie, the Daily Oklahoman was considered the worst newspaper in America.

My point exactly TR! Even a dead man of four years can run this team better than Hicks! At least the dead man will be consistent and won’t meddle in affairs that don’t concern him. I thought the Star-Telegram was the worst newspaper in America. At least that’s what Rich Connor told me. If it isn’t the worst then why did you jump ship? Had you been there too long, like maybe 50 years and were afraid of being let go? Ha Ha.

Is there a record of how long the game between Paige and Dean lasted and/or who won? If I recall correctly, when Paige pitched for the Indians Bill Veeck placed a rocking chair in the bullpen.

1) I liked the stats on pitchers with 300 wins and no saves. I remember writing something about that a long while back on a baseball message board. If I remember right, Tom Glavine, Bert Blyleven, and Jack Morris are #s 3-5 on the all time list of most wins among pitchers who never recorded a save. Interestingly enough, Charlie Hough has the most saves out of any pitcher with 200 or more wins (61), but that’s only because Dennis Eckersley finished his career with 197 wins.

2) That’s another interesting list, most wins by pitchers in the 300 saves club (and there are also 20 of those).

1. Dennis Eckersley (197)

2. Goose Gossage (124)

3. Rollie Fingers (114)

4. John Franco (90)

5. Rick Aguilera (86)

3) Eckersley (197 wins, 390 saves) and John Smoltz (193 wins, 154 saves) are the only members of the 150-150 club. The only active pitcher with a chance to join is Tom Gordon, who turned 39 in November and has 130 wins and exactly 150 saves. He’s 20 wins shy, has won 33 games in the 9 seasons since his last as a starting pitcher, and 24 of those were in the last 4 seasons alone.

4) In all there are 15 members of the 100 wins-100 saves club.

5) Turning it around, the list of fewest wins among those with 300 saves:

1. Troy Percival (30)

2. Billy Wagner (37)

3. Tom Henke (41)

4. Randy Myers (44)

5. Robb Nen (45)

6) Percival also tops the list of fewest wins in the 200 save club, with Bobby Thigpen coming in 2nd (31 wins and 201 saves). My calculator tells me Percival (30 wins, 324 saves) recorded 10.8 saves for every win, I wonder if that’s some kind of record.

7) Kazuhiro Sasaki (7 wins and 129 saves while playing only 4 seasons in the majors) is the only pitcher with over 100 saves and a single-digit number of wins, which gave him 18.4 saves for every win, and I believe I have just answered my own question.

8) Last one. Eric Gagne has 25 wins and 161 wins. Only one other pitcher in the 150-save club has fewer wins (Bryan Harvey, 17 wins, 177 saves).

Oh, and as for our outfield, I’d be fine with letting Catalanotto have left field. He recorded 10 outfield assists last season, and hasn’t committed an error playing in left field since 2004 (his only error in 2006 was in the one game he started in right field). He’ll have to beat Wilkerson out for it though, since Lofton is the primary centerfielder and that spot is taken for at least 2/3 of the games, but I’m sure they could move Wilkerson to center and have Cat in right on Lofton’s off days or in certain matchup situations. Wilkerson has played all 3 outfield spots but left and center are where he’s spent the most time. Here’s the positional breakdown of his career starts:
right field – 26 starts

center field – 214 starts

left field – 315 starts

1st base – 129 starts

And of course playing in the NL he’d often start a game at one position and move to another with all the pinch hitters and defensive substitutions that come with having pitchers bat in games.

Just for the heck of it, because I have time on my hands, here’s Wilkerson’s career fielding percentages in the 3 outfield positions:

right field: .983 (60 total chances, 1 error, 2 assists)

center field: .981 (527 TC, 10 errors, 16 assists)

left field: .981 (642 TC, 12 errors, 29 assists)

And here are Catalanotto’s:

right field: .987 (78 TC, 1 error, no assists)

left field: .993 (689 TC, 5 errors, 21 assists)

Admittedly statistics will often lie, but these seem to indicate that Cat is the superior fielder (in addition to being more versatile, having been a utility infielder for his first 4 seasons) while Wilkerson might have the better arm.

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