11th and Washington

11th and Washington: December 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jim Qualls vs. Tom Seaver

Part of my 2011 Christmas haul
Part of my 2011 Christmas haul

I finally watched the recent episode of Studio 42 with Bob Costas in which he sat down with Tom Seaver up in Cooperstown to talk about Tom Terrific's career. There was some great stuff in there, particularly Seaver's opinion of the use of today's pitchers. But he also talked about his "imperfect game" in 1969. When asked about Jim Qualls, who got the lone hit -- who was the only baserunner -- in that game, Seaver said he'd never faced the guy before, and he wasn't sure if he'd ever faced him after that.

So of course I had to look it up. I went to Baseball Reference's Play Index and drew up all of Qualls' appearances against Hall of Fame pitchers:

Tom Seaver 6 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0 0 0
Don Sutton 6 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Bob Gibson 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Don Drysdale 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Juan Marichal 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Gaylord Perry 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
Catfish Hunter 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Phil Niekro 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/28/2011.

Not much there. The hit in the ninth against Seaver on July 9, 1969, was Qualls' only one against The Franchise, and he had only three other hits -- of 31 in his career -- off future Hall of Famers. Seaver wasn't sure if he'd faced Qualls outside of that game, but he did, the following week in Chicago. Seaver allowed five hits and a walk and lost, 1-0. Qualls went 0-for-3.

But back to 7/9/69 -- how unlikely was Qualls' hit against Seaver? Qualls' career was so brief (144 plate appearances in three seasons, spread over four years with three teams) that he has no comparables on Baseball Reference. And a search of other players with 130-150 career PA and an OPS under .600 (Qualls' was .540) mostly gives you pitchers. So a present-day comparison might be Argenis Reyes -- or any number of pitchers -- breaking up a Justin Verlander perfecto with two outs to go. Or, from the last perfect game in the Majors, Roy Halladay against the Marlins in May 2010, the equivalent might be Bryan Peterson getting the hit in the ninth to spoil perfection.

Perfection is not easy -- duh -- and though the Mets one day will pitch a no-hitter (they have to, right?), there's no telling if any of us will see a perfect game from the Amazin's anytime soon. If anyone was going to do it, it probably would've been Seaver against those Cubs in the summer of '69, just one week before Apollo 11 launched for the Moon.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Someone like Jose

OK, so Jose Reyes' departure snapped me out of my (unintended) blogging hiatus. I found it in myself to read more posts on Reyes from some other blogs over the past two days. I always appreciate good writing, even when it's tough to stomach. Maybe even more in those cases ...

Well-written (psycho)analysis from Ted Berg

A true fan's view from Paul Hadsall (who I owe a belated thank you for acknowledging me in his Thanksgiving post). He also looks at what Marlins bloggers are saying.

Wonderful sarcasm from Mets Police

A pragmatic look from Brad Bortone

 Vinny Cartiglia has fans' reactions on Twitter over at Metsblog.

And a collection from the folks at Amazin' Avenue ...

Matthew Callan knows it hurts

Eric Simon helps you decide who to blame

Chris McShane channels The Simpsons

And, finally, Amazin' Avenue's Applesauce presents a roundup of even more coverage. I've linked to the whole post because it gave me the idea for the (intentionally cheesy) photo presentation below.

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Monday, December 05, 2011


I wasn't sure I was going to write about Jose Reyes. I thought about just letting this day go by without weighing in, without dwelling on it, and just try to focus on other things -- fantasy football, bowl season, Christmas -- in the hopes that I might miss any press conferences or introductions in order to lessen the impact. Then, before I knew it, it would be Opening Day and, so what? It's like he wasn't even here.

But that, of course, is not possible. Reyes is arguably the most dynamic player the Mets have ever developed and he sure was fun to watch. He loves the game, he has fun, and his smile shows that. If he's on your team, you can't help but root for him. If he's on the other team, you really want to beat him. And that's what makes this new destination, in South Florida, all the more perplexing. A few years ago, when the Phillies and their fans complained about what they perceived as Reyes showboating, the Marlins also got in on that meme. (Ironically, if you google "Jose Reyes showboat," you find a lot of Phillies blogs slamming him, particularly in '08 -- as well as several advocating that the team sign him this offseason.) I always felt the Marlins had no ground to stand on with that complaint, because Hanley Ramirez has never been known to put his head down and run out a double. And now they've gone and signed the guy they think has a little too much fun out there.

I'm certainly torn between wishing Reyes well and hoping his contract becomes an albatross to the Marlins. I like the guy, and good for him for getting his payday. And the Mets, if Sandy Alderson is being truthful, made a competitive offer, which is all I could hope for out of this scenario. Well, yes, I hoped the Mets would re-sign the guy, but not at six guaranteed years and something north of $100 million. I think their alleged offer of five years in the $90 million range, with a sixth-year option to push it over $100 million, was a competitive offer. But Reyes clearly wanted the guaranteed money -- and potential to reach the playoffs. Yes, let's be honest here, the Mets are looking like the worst team in the NL East for 2012, despite what looks to be a wide-open division. It's too early to say who the favorite is, because a lot of player movement is still to come, but I can't envision the Mets being better than any of the other four clubs.

But does Reyes push the Marlins over the top? I'm not so sure. He's averaged just 98 games the past three years, and his addition means franchise player Hanley Ramirez will have to move to third base. Good luck smoothing that one over, Ozzie Guillen. The club's ace, Josh Johnson, didn't pitch after May 16 this past season, and despite all the Phillies' other holes, the front of their rotation is still solid, so the Marlins can't match that. I will say this, though: For once, the expectations of the Marlins' ownership may be justified, for the first time since about 2003. They've set the bar too high in recent years and run off a couple of good managers as a result of inflated hopes. But as I said, it's early. These Marlins are looking to spend like hedge-fund managers during the Bush years. They may add more important pieces, which would change the outlook. But building a team through free agency rarely works. Teams tend to have better track records with a successful core that is then supplemented by free-agent pieces to fill the holes. The Marlins' holes are more than a shortstop -- and not even that -- and a closer.

I could be wrong. Time will tell. These are just the initial thoughts and feelings not even 24 hours after a guy we've come to love watching out there left for a team only a mother could love.


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