TOP 10 USELESS-INFO NUGGETS OF THE WEEK:
10. Eric Gagne just became the seventh Dodgers pitcher to win a Cy Young award (joining Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Marshall, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Don Newcombe). Which is amazing when you consider that only two other teams have even employed as many as five Cy Youngs. They're the Yankees (Roger Clemens, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, Whitey Ford, Bob Turley) and A's (Barry Zito, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Welch, Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue).
9. Those seven Dodgers have also won a total of nine Cy Youngs (since Sandy Koufax won three). And that also extends a record they'd already held. Next are the Braves, at seven, followed by the Red Sox, Orioles and Phillies, with six each.
8. But five teams have never trotted out a Cy Young winner. Three, naturally, are expansion teams (Rockies, Marlins, Devil Rays). The other two, though, are the Reds and Rangers-Senators. And no, it doesn't count that Ferguson Jenkins once pitched for the Rangers and Tom Seaver once pitched for the Reds.
7. At least the Reds (MVP and rookie of the year), Rangers (ditto), Rockies (rookie) and Marlins (rookie) have won at least one of the three major awards, however. So that leaves the Devil Rays as the only franchise in history that still hasn't produced one award-winner. So is the pressure on B.J. Upton, or what?
6. Then there's Jack McKeon. He has won two manager-of-the-year awards since turning 65. (He also won in 1999, with Cincinnati, when he was a mere 68.) Only one other man has won even one manager-of-the-year award after turning 60, according to the Elias Sports Bureau's Kevin Hines. That was Tommy Lasorda, who won in 1988 at age 61.
5. We're always looking for ways to put numbers in perspective. And loyal reader Ed Barnes has done a sensational job of placing the Dodgers' inept offensive numbers in perspective -- by comparing them to the Red Sox' numbers at the All-Star break.
Homers: Dodgers 124 (season), Red Sox 124 (break).
Runs: Dodgers 574 (season), Red Sox 573 (break).
Extra-base hits: Dodgers 409 (season), Red Sox 396 (break).
4. Then again, the Dodgers' pitching was as awesome as their hitting was horrendous. And Ed Barnes put all that in perspective to by comparing their staff to the Reds' staff -- also at the All-Star break.
Runs allowed: Dodgers 556 (for the season), Reds 548 (at the break).
Home runs allowed: Dodgers 127 (season), Reds 130 (break).
Extra-base hits allowed: Dodgers 359 (season), Reds 375 (break).
3. Loyal reader Joseph Mitzenmacher didn't want us to miss the fact that Eric Gagne wasn't the only relief pitcher this season who was perfect. White Sox left-handed funkballer Kelly Wunsch achieved his own version of perfection. He appeared in 43 games -- but still wound up with no wins, no losses and no saves. Which was almost historic -- but not quite. He's the fourth reliever in history to make at least 40 appearances in a no-win, no-loss, no-save season:
Pitcher year G W L S
Scott Aldred 1998 48 0 0 0
Kelly Wunsch 2003 43 0 0 0
Mike Flanagan 1992 42 0 0 0
J. Christiansen 2003 40 0 0 0
2. Age is all relative, especially if you're a Marlin. As loyal reader Cory Edwards reports, Josh Beckett was indeed the fourth-youngest World Series MVP in history. But he was also (officially, at least), the oldest Marlins World Series MVP in history. Livan Hernandez's listed age was 22 years, 8 months, when he won the 1997 Series MVP trophy. Beckett was 23 years, 5 months.
1. Finally, we're not sure if Billy Wagner will go down as the best closer ever, but he might be the official Most Unhittable Closer Ever. In fact, he's the only pitcher ever to rack up twice as many strikeouts as hits allowed in a career of more than 500 innings. Here are the top five, courtesy of Lee Sinins' brand new (and better than ever) edition of the Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia, available through baseball-encyclopedia.com:
SO/9 IP H/9 IP IP K/H ratio
Billy Wagner 12.38 5.94 504.1 2.08
Armando Benitez 11.77 6.04 584.1 1.95
Troy Percival 10.84 5.87 537 1.84
Randy Johnson 11.16 7.02 3122.1 1.59
Kerry Wood 10.62 6.75 902.2 1.57
Question: Alex Rodriguez just had his seventh 100-RBI season before age 30 -- as many as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Hank Aaron. But can you name the three other active players who also had seven 100-RBI seasons in their 20s?