Many baseball fans consider the Legendary outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson to be one of the greatest players ever. He had a very good career but unfortunately is most remembered as a member of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. One of the most impressive parts of his career is one that is often overlooked, the beginning.
The Legendary “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. (Getty Images)
Joe Jackson began his major league career in 1908 with the Philadelphia Athletics. He would end his time with the Athletics after the 1909 season. During his two seasons with the club he only played in ten games. With 40 total at bats he only reach base 7 times. He would start the 1910 season with the minor league New Orleans Pelicans but signed on to the Major League Cleveland Naps at the end of the season. He finished playing 20 games and had 75 at bats, 29 hits and a batting average of .387. It was clear following the 1910 season that Jackson had great potential.
Joe Jackson returned to the Naps in 1911 for his first full season in the Major Leagues. Jackson played a total of 147 games and led the Naps to 80-73 record (3rd best in the American League). Jackson had one of the greatest rookie seasons baseball has ever seen with a rookie batting average record of .408. His batting average in 1911 stands as the second best single season batting record to this day. Jackson notched 233 hits, 7 home runs and batted in 83 runs. “Shoeless” Joe showed everyone a preview of how great his career would become. He was traded from the Naps to the Chicago White Sox during the 1915 season.
Joe Jackson was banned from baseball following the 1919 Black Sox scandal that tarnished the name of baseball. When his career was finished he had a career bating average of .356, 1,772 hits, 54 home runs and 785 RBI’s. He would be in the Hall Of Fame today if not for the controversy he found himself in following the 1919 World Series. Over one hundred years after “Shoeless” Joe amazed the baseball world he legend still lives on and will be remembered forever.
Posted in Historic Rookies, MLB, Sports History
Tagged all time, athletics, batting average, best, black sox, career, Chicago, cleveland, hall of fame, highest, hits, how many, joe, joe jackson, legend, naps, outfielder, philadelphia, record, rookie, scandal, shoeless, what, when, where, white sox, year
Mike Pizza began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a long shot. The Dodgers drafted him with the 1,390th pick in the 1988 draft. He was truly a diamond in the rough. By 1992 he made his Major League debut. He was named the 1993 rookie of the year. When his career ended in 2007 he had a lifetime batting average of .308, hit 427 home runs and batted in 1,335 runs. A 12 time All Star, Mike Piazza was one of the most popular and talented catchers of the 1990s. One part of his career many people over look or don’t even know about is his time with the Florida Marlins.
On May 15th, 1998 after playing 6 seasons with the Dodgers he was included in a blockbuster trade to the Marlins. The Marlins still trying to dump players from their World Series team traded 5 players including Gary Sheffield and Bobby Bonilla for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile. The deal was a strange one that no one saw coming. Many were excited to see Piazza play for the Marlins. His addition gave the fans of Florida a chance for hope after almost all of their players had been sent packing in the infamous 1997 fire sale.
Mike Piazza as a Florida Marlin (Getty Images)
Mike Piazza’s Marlins career would be short lived. Piazza was traded 8 days later to the New York Mets after just 5 games with the Fish. During this stint Piazza batted .278, scored 1 run, batted in 5 runs and even landed a triple. Sure it was not the most exciting run but that only because it was so short lived. While it is just a small part of his baseball career it will remain an unusual situation and always be a cool trivial fact you can stump your friends with.
Posted in MLB, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1988 draft, 5 games, 8 days, batting average, bobby bonilla, catcher, dodgers, fire sale, Florida, gary sheffield, marlins, met, mets, mike piazza, MLB, todd zeile, trade
In November of 1993 just shortly after the murder of his father, Michael Jordan retired from basketball. Jordan had revolutionized basketball with his high skill set and magnetic charisma. He had already cemented his position in the Hall Of Fame and was arguably the most popular athlete in the history of America. After nine seasons in the NBA and three straight NBA titles it was all over.
As 1994 began Michael Jordan soon announced that he would try his hand at professional baseball. Mostly because it was the one sport his father wanted to see him succeed at when he was growing up. It would be a tribute to his father he said. The owner of the Chicago Bulls was Jerry Reinsdorf and he also happened to own the Chicago White Sox. Reinsdorf being the smart and adventurous business man he was knew that Michael Jordan would be a huge money draw in baseball. He agreed to sign Jordan to a minor league contract and pay him the same amount that he was contracted to receive with his Bulls contract. It was a done deal and the media and fans clamored to see Jordan make his debut in baseball.
Michael Jordan the “baseball player” (Getty Images)
As spring training began for the White Sox in Sarasota, Florida the Michael Jordan circus began. The media was always around and were focused solely on Jordan. They followed his batting practices, fielding practices and watched his every move. The fans also swarmed him every chance they could get, hoping they could snag an autograph of one of the greatest basketball players ever. The attendance for White Sox games that spring shot through the roof and many fans were unable to even get a ticket to the spring games. Michael Jordan played his first official spring training game on March 3, 1994 as an outfielder. He would play 17 games that spring and on March 31, 1994 was optioned to the White Sox minor league affiliate the Birmingham Barons.
The city of Birmingham was set on fire by the Michael Jordan experience. They sold out more games than they had ever before and had major media at almost every game. It was a treat for the fans of the Barons to get to see such a great athlete trying to make it in a sport he had not played since high school. Jordan had an average season with many ups and downs. He batted .202, hit 3 home runs and batted in 51 runs. Jordan played 127 games in that season and struck out 114 times. He definitely had a rough time but did make improvements by the end of the season.
Jordan being Jordan wanted to work more on his baseball skills and decided to play in the Arizona Fall League following his first minor league season. In that short season for the Scottsdale Scorpions Jordan batted a .252. While not great by professional baseball standards he did improve even more in the fall league and was poised to continue his development in 1995.
Unfortunately Major League Baseball was still dealing with the 1994 players strike when the 1995 Spring Training season was to begin. As the battle between the owners and the players union intensified the lines were being drawn. The players were deciding whether to sit out until a deal could be arranged or to play anyways. Jordan reported to camp in Florida initially in February of 1995. He would end up deciding in March not to be involved in the drama and chose to sit out while the strike continued.
It was during this time in mid march of 1995 Jordan attended a Chicago Bulls game. just two weeks later he was on the court playing basketball again. Many fans where excited to have his talents back in basketball and did not care that he quite his baseball career. Jordan would go onto win three more NBA Titles and retired from basketball for good after the 2002-03 season.
Because his basketball career picked up right where it left off in 1993 not many questioned the decision. It makes one wonder almost two decade’s later what would have been if not for the baseball players strike of 1994. Would Michael Jordan continued until he was either cut or made it to the Major Leagues? That is hard to say but it was clear he was on the right track to eventually play at the Major League level. He was only 32 when he went back to basketball and had time to develop into an even better baseball player.
We will never know where baseball could have taken Michael Jordan. We wont ever know where Jordan could have taken baseball had he stayed. The popularity of baseball would have likely increased after the horrible strike and maybe Jordan could have been the face of baseball. All we can do now is imagine what could have been but it is clear to see that the baseball strike deterred Jordan from continuing his baseball dream.
Posted in MLB, NBA, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1994, 1995, arizona, barons, baseball, batting average, birmingham, chicago bulls, fall league, games, hall of fame, march 3, march 31, michael jordan, NBA, outfielder, owners, players strike, retired, retirement, return tobasketball, sarasot florida, spring training, strike, title, titles, white sox
The Miami Marlins are having a disappointing season, so much so that no one saw this coming. The team headed into the 2012 season with so much hope and excitement for what could be. They have dismantled the team to the point it hardly resembles the team that was supposed to make the playoffs when the year began. As of Saturday the team sits 14.5 games behind the 1st place Washington Nationals and a Wildcard birth looks very unlikely. The only bright spot that can be seen at the point is Jose Reyes and his hot hitting streak.
(Photo By Al Bello/Getty Images)
Jose Reyes began this hitting streak on July 13th and is holding strong at 22 games going into Saturday’s game against the Nationals. Reyes went 1-3 in the first game of Friday’s double header with the Nationals and 3-5 in the second game. Reyes has always been a great hitter but has really improved his hitting and it shows with this current streak. He broke his previous streak of 19 games this past week.
Luis Castillo holds the team record for most consecutive games with a hit with 35 games in 2002. That is a mark that Reyes has a strong chance of beating. The have been 55 players in the history of Major League Baseball to have at least 30 consecutive games with a hit. Reyes is the caliber of hitter and streaky enough to become number 56. The question the will be asked if he can make it past 30 will be how far can he go?
Everyone knows that Joe DiMaggio holds the record at 56 games in 1941 and that mark is very unlikely to be broken soon if ever. The closest anyone has come in the last 20 years was the Phillies Jimmy Rollins in the 2005 and 2006 seasons with 38 games. If anyone was going to make a good run and come close to DiMaggio in this era of baseball it would be Joe Reyes. Reyes is still very young and has a lot of potential as a hitter even though he is already one of the best in baseball. Reyes is the defending National League batting champion and this will not be his last claim to that title.
As this season grows older and the Marlins fall deeper in the standings the Marlins might have something to get excited about. That rests solely in the hands of Jose Reyes and his bat. Could we be watching history right now? It is too early to tell but we are seeing an amazing streak and its time for the sports world to pay attention to Reyes. If they don’t start now they may be missing history in the making.
Posted in MLB
Tagged 2002, 2005, 2006 1941, 30 game streak, 38 games, 56 games, bad season, baseball, batting average, batting champion, best, consecutive, double header, first place, florida marlins, games, history, hitter, hitting streak, how many games, jimmy rollins, joe dimaggio, jose reyes, luis castillo, major leagues, marlins, marlins park, Miami, national league, new york mets, personal record, phillies, playoffs, record, season, team record, the streak, tv, washington nationals, wild card
The baseball season is about to complete its second month. There is a potential story brewing that could dominate the sports media this summer. David Wright and the possibility that he could end the season with an above .400 batting average. While the New York Mets have been average this season and have not had a great season in a couple of years, David Wright could vault the team into the sports media mainstream for the next few months.
New York Mets Third Baseman David Wright
(Marc Serota/Getty Images North America)
Wright has played in 38 games as the Third Baseman for the Mets this year, and as of May 22nd is batting .415. Wright has been incredibly hot and extremely valuable for a Mets team that has fallen down a bit over the last couple of years.
The Mets are currently 22-20 and are 3.5 games back in the very tough N.L. East. Whether the Mets will contend this year is hard to say but based on the recent past looks unlikely. The Mets caught a lot of flack last season after it was found out the their new stadium might have been paid for by many people who’s live were ruined by the fraudulent financial scams of Bernie Madoff. Wright could help the team move on and put that in their past this season. The New York Mets need a player like David Wright at this point and need him to do well and that is exactly what he is doing.
The .400 single season batting average is one of the most elusive marks in all of sports. The last man to hit above .400 in one season was Boston Red Sox legend and Hall of Famer Ted Williams. Williams hit .406 in 1941. Since then no one else has done it, Tony Gwynn did come close in 1994 when he finish with .394 in 1994 but that is a mute point given the fact it was a strike shortened season. Royal’s Hall of Famer George Brett finished with a .390 batting average in 1980.
Wright will have to continue to be hot through what is a very long and grueling baseball season. As Wright continues toward the .400 mark and the season gets further along the media pressure will heat up. That could be and has been something that has affected many players going towards not only this mark but all records in baseball. The Mets are positioned in one of the biggest sports markets in the country and you have to know it will be like a zoo towards August if Wright can still be close to the mark by then
Not very many players have had a batting average this high at this point in the season. So it is definitely time to start watching the Mets and David Wright to see how this progresses. David Wright is an amazing player and really deserves to reach such a mark. His stock has already risen and we are not even half way through this season. So as the season moves along into the summer keep an eye out for David Wright he might just shock the sports world.
Posted in MLB
Tagged ball, ball park, baseball, batting average, boston, boys of summer, david wright, live sports, madoff, mets, mets tickets, MLB, new york, online sports, red sox, red sox tickets, sport, sports tickets, summer, tv