kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Baseball's Greatest Team

OK, this is a little dorky; "inside baseball," as it were, in the most literal sense.

Ask most people to name the greatest team in the history of baseball, and the vast majority will say the 1927 Yankees. A great team, no doubt. (Others might mention the '75 Reds, the '88 Yankees, the '02 Pirates, among others, but the '27 Yankees always gets mentioned.)

A couple of examples:

1. The 1927 New York Yankees

That season, Babe Ruth hit 60 Home Runs. Lou Gehrig had 47 HR and 175 RBI. Tony Lazzeri hit .309 with 102 RBI. Bob Meusel hit .337 with 109 RBI. Earl Combs hit .356 with 231 hits and 137 Runs scored. They also had great pitchers in Waite Hoyt, Urban Shocker, and Herb Pennock. These Yankees outscored their opponents by almost 400 runs and finished with a 110-44 record. Then they swept the Pirates in the World Series. You can't get better than that!

2. A more statistical approach

The four greatest teams in Major League baseball history. Trying to separate them is difficult. What’s interesting to note is that 1902 Pirates had the best winning percentage of the four, the 1939 Yankees had the greatest run differential of the four, and the 1998 Yankees had the greatest number of Hall of Fame caliber players.

The 1927 Murders Row New York Yankees of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig did not lead in any of the categories but were second in each one.

The other night, after a couple of beers, I pulled out the Baseball Encyclopedia (and then had a couple of more after spending some time amazed by Walter Johnson's pitching records). I thought it might be of interest to compare the '27 Yankees to the 1926 Yankees.

Here's the respective starting nine, from the BE's World Series pages:



The pitchers who pitched significant innings in '26:
Pennock, Shocker, Hoyt, Jones (als Ruether and Shawkey).

The pitchers who pitched significant innings in '27:
Pennock, Shocker, Hoyt, Moore, Ruether Pipgras, and Thomas.

So the starting nine is identical between the two teams, and while
there is a bit of a shake-up of the pitching staff (I'm not sure what
happened to Jones, who pitched well in '26), I don't think anyone
is suggesting that this team was the greatest in the history of
baseball because of adding Moore and Pipgras.

Thus the question: the 1926 Cardinals beat the Yankees in the
World Series. (In seven, Babe Ruth famously making the last
out in Game 7 by being caught stealing.)

If the 1927 Yankees aren't all that much different than the 1926
Yankees, and the '27 Yankees are the greatest team in baseball,
then is there some argument that the Cardinals beat what, 12
months later, was the greatest team in the history of baseball?

Just wonderin' . . . .

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Basketball's Life Lessons

I don't have cable, but a little black and white TV my friend Bob gave me. It gets FOX--so we have the Simpsons--and CBS. That's about it. And we only have this until June 12.

I love college basketball, so I just finished watching all but the championship as of this writing. My brackets look like vermicelli that has been microwaved, on high, for about 3 days. These things happen. But I have learned much from watching these games, all of which, depressingly, seem to be covered by the same ad buy. Hence I have seen certain ads way too much, and from the whole tournament experience, drawn certain conclusions.

If Howie Long advertises something, I will never purchase it.

People who think they might lose their job in the next nine months probably should not be buying a Cadillac, in spite of GM's suggestions otherwise.

"Calipari" is Sicilian slang for the Yiddish "mishegoss."

Drinking "Coke Zero" makes you stupid, annoying, and apparently expresses an otherwise latent obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Sheraton Inns are chock full of sports fans; UNC fans object to being touched, while Georgetown and Syracuse fans see the whole homoeroticism thing in a much different light.

There can never be sufficient mention of the beat-down Kansas gave UNC in last year's semi-final.

I would like to find the very young kid who does the E-trade commercials annoying, but I seem unable to.

The Big East may be the best conference by far, powerful and unstoppable, overwhelming in its excellence and the conference to whom all others should bow down; but I don't see any of its teams in the final.

Tom Izzo is a great coach, and if he wins Monday night (which as of this writing seems unlikely, but so have their last two wins against Louisville and Connecticut) he will have beaten the overall #1 seed (L'ville), another #1 seed (C'cut) and a third #1 seed (UNC).

Right now I'm pulling for MSU to beat UNC, and beat them bad. This would mean that the team that gave the Spartans the best game was, of course, Kansas.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Self takes Arizona Job!!!

I just read this off a chatboard that linked the story to an Arizona chatroom that, eventually, offered a link, to a Kansas City Star chatroom.

Calipari leaving Memphis clearly meant that recruiting was a mess, at Memphis, at Kentucky, and, ultimately, at Kansas. Lance Stephenson was supposed to announce today (the odds were that he was coming to Kansas), and then postponed it. At one point, rumors were that John Wall, or Xavier Henry, or both, or neither, were going to Kansas.

Evidently, the Stephenson recruiting generated a bunch of hard feelings between Self and the KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins. Even though Self had a long-term contract and was, supposedly, very happy at Kansas, the AD told him he had screwed up, and that losing out on Stephenson was unacceptable. This all on top of both Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins having told Self they were declaring for the draft. (Perkins, rumor also has it, wasn't all that thrilled with Self as the choice to replace Roy Williams.)

Self seemed to have gone from having a very good recruiting class, for 48 hours a terrific recruiting class, then no recruiting class except for one power forward and an untested guard. With the AD on his back, his Sweet 16 team not coming back, a bare cupboard, and Arizona promising to match Calipari's contract at Kentucky, Self--known for his quick temper and even quicker decision-making--said "fuck it" and is off for Phoenix.

This really bites. I had hoped KU had another coach for years and years, with lots of skill and, more important, lots of class. Money talks, after all.