Author Archive

Fred Lieb devoted a chapter in his memoir Baseball As I Have Known It to Hal Chase. Titling the chapter “Hal Chase: He had a corkscrew brain,” Lieb wrote about the troubled career of the once-great first baseman, banished from baseball after 1919 for fixing games. Lieb included a euphemistic mention near the end of the […]

Does expansion meaningfully affect scoring?

Posted: 21st August 2014 by Graham Womack in MLB

It seems like a common notion among casual baseball fans that expansion boosts scoring. Certainly, the individual achievements that have happened in expansion seasons would appear to support this. Every time baseball has expanded, it seems, something noteworthy has happened, be it Roger Maris breaking the home run record in 1961, Mark McGwire doing likewise in […]

Five hitters who may have missed .400 due to their ballparks

Posted: 20th August 2014 by Graham Womack in MLB

According to Joe DiMaggio’s biography, the Yankee Clipper once was almost traded for Ted Williams. The thinking behind the proposed trade was that each icon would benefit from playing in the other’s home park. There may be something to this with DiMaggio whose offensive production was 8 percent better at Fenway Park than the original Yankee Stadium. Williams […]

Parsing the DH era

Posted: 18th August 2014 by Graham Womack in MLB

In my post Sunday on run totals throughout baseball history, I noted a common myth: that the adoption of the designated hitter rule in 1973 jump-started baseball’s offensive era. In truth, run totals didn’t peak until the mid-1990s. That’s been lost on a number of prominent writers who rationalize the inflated ERA totals of any pitcher […]

Run totals throughout baseball history

Posted: 17th August 2014 by Graham Womack in MLB

It started out as a simple question, one I’ve had since reading in The Book that teams scored just under five runs per game from 1999 through 2002 and that generalized run expectancy totals could be gleaned based on that. Many have treated The Book as the definitive tome for sabermetrics since its publication in 2007. […]

Editor’s note: I’m pleased to introduce a new Friday column here, “From the archive.” I recently re-upped my subscription to, a paid archive service. I’m the kind of person who can kill several hours combing through old newspapers. (Seriously, it’s fun for me.) As a writer, I’m also always in search of information beyond what’s quickly […]

The most underrated player of each decade: Recent years

Posted: 14th August 2014 by Graham Womack in MLB

Today marks the final installment, for now, of my series about the most underrated baseball player of each decade. (When I know more about 19th century baseball than the cursory amount that I do, I’ll write something. My thought, by the way, is that many 19th century ballplayers are underrated and that we’re just re-discovering them […]

The most underrated player of each decade: Mid-late 20th century

Posted: 13th August 2014 by Graham Womack in MLB

1960-69: Mickey Mantle I’ll go out on the proverbial limb and say Mickey Mantle is the most underrated all-time great in baseball history. The traditional narrative gives the Commerce Comet credit as an elite player through 1964, denigrating his alcohol and injury-plagued seasons that followed while the Yankees began a historic decline. Thing is, the […]

The most underrated player of each decade: Middle 20th century

Posted: 12th August 2014 by Graham Womack in MLB

1930-39: Lefty Grove When Pedro Martinez debuts on the writers ballot for the Hall of Fame in a few months, a lot will be made of how thoroughly he dominated in arguably the greatest era for hitters in baseball history. He’s not the first of his kind, though. What Pedro was to the 1990s, Lefty Grove was […]

The most underrated player of each decade: Early 20th century

Posted: 11th August 2014 by Graham Womack in MLB

1900-09: George Davis Anytime someone says there can’t be any worthy Hall of Fame candidates remaining after several decades of voting, point them to George Davis. The Veterans Committee more or less exists to honor players like Davis, notable in their time but forgotten by baseball history. The committee gave Davis a plaque in 1998 after Bill […]