Derek Jeter tops Hall of Fame ballot

Larry Walker’s 10th and final year on the ballot

pettite posada jeter rivera
SP Andy Pettite, C Jorge Posada, SS Derek Jeter, RP Mariano Rivera
The article “Derek Jeter headlines 2020 Hall of Fame ballot” asks a question. Will the legendary Yankee shortstop and captain get in unanimously in his first year of eligibility? His former teammate, reliever Mariano Rivera did so the year before.

Jeter should. His stats are better than almost anyone else’s on the list. To boot, he and Rivera both played in Albany County before landing in the big leagues.

Barry Bonds (59.1% of the ballots last year) and Roger Clemens (59.5%) are both on the ballot for the eighth time. If I could vote, I’d pick them too, for reasons explained last year. Receiving 75% of the sportswriters’ votes is required for induction.

Curt Schilling (60.9%) is also on the ballot for time #8. It’s not the taint of steroids but his quite terrible politics, specifically “his xenophobic, transphobic and conspiratorial memes.” I’d bump him if there were lots of other candidates of a similar caliber, but there aren’t.

A pair of Rockies

Larry Walker (54.9%) is on the ballot for the 10th and final time. He suffered because he played in Colorado, where people believe his stats were inflated by the thin air. Put him in, and stop yanking him around!

Todd Helton (16.9%, 2nd year) Five-time All-Star. I think he also suffers from having played with the Colorado Rockies.

Andy Petitte (9.9%, 2nd year) holds all-time postseason records for wins, innings pitched and games started. He too was a member of the Albany-Colonie Yankees in the early 1990s.

Jeff Kent (18.1%, 7th year) – why does he get overlooked? He “snuck up on the baseball world as a Hall of Fame-caliber player… Kent was an average player at best for five seasons in the major leagues before blossoming into a star in San Francisco.”

Omar Vizquel (42.8%, 3rd year) was a defensive wiz who occasionally also hit well.

I suspect that Jeter, Walker, and maybe Schilling will get in.

November rambling: triple plays

Rebecca Jade And The Cold Fact

The Violent History of the U.S.-Mexico Border

The Revolution Isn’t Being Televised

Stephen Miller E-Mails Show How He Promoted White Nationalist Ideology In Media, going back to when he worked for then-Senator Jeff Sessions

How women fall into the white supremacist movement

Maligned in black and white– Southern newspapers played a major role in racial violence. Do they owe their communities an apology?

Religious Freedom for Loganists!

My Childhood in a Cult

Republicans want to out the whistleblower because they can’t defend him on the merits

His tortured English

The Obama date-night controversy

Amazon’s Absence from Worker Safety Alliance Highlights Dangers of Unsafe Supply Chains

How One Employer Stuck a New Mom With an $898,984 Bill for Her Premature Baby

Charles à Court Repington and when did we start to refer to the horrors of the 1914-1918 conflict as ‘The First World War’?

Weekly Sift: Sacrifices

Yvette Lundy: French Resistance member who survived Nazi camps dies at 103

UK halts fracking, effective immediately

The Untold Story of the 2018 Olympics Cyberattack, the Most Deceptive Hack in History

AIER: Questions for Immigration Skeptics

Court Allows Police Full Access to Online Genealogy Database

In a rural Wisconsin village, the doctor makes house calls — and sees some of the rarest diseases on Earth

Dial 911 if there’s an emergency, not 112

Social Security and SSI Benefits Are Increasing in 2020

Wealth Is About Much More than Physical Things

New Airplane Feature Could Save You If Your Pilot Can’t

There’s no reason to cross the U.S. by train. But I did so anyway.

Fully Accessible Guide to Smart Home Tech for Disabled and Elderly

That’s entertainment

Washington Grays baseball, in honor of the Homestead Grays, a Negro League Team

All 720 Triple Plays in Major League Baseball history

Beany and Cecil

The accidental brilliance of Silly Putty

Four toy commercials from the sixties – I definitely had a Slinky, and I know I played someone’s Rock ’em, Sock ’em Robots

Tips on attending TV Tapings

Amy Biancolli: I Really Don’t Care

Now I Know: The Last Army Pillow Fight and Why Filmmakers Use That Black and White Flapped Board and The Ark That Went Full Circle


Rebecca Jade And The Cold Fact: Songs From Their New Album ‘Running Out Of Time’ and Gonna Be Alright and how they began

Viola Sonata in D minor by Mikhail Glinka.

The Wolf Glen scene from the opera Der Freischutz by Carl Maria von Weber

Coverville 1284: Cover Stories for Grace Slick and Katy Perry

Go up Moses – Roberta Flack

Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper! by Jaromir Weinberger

How to Play Guitar Like Keith Richards

What Does ‘Born In The U.S.A.’ Really Mean?

Washington Nationals win; I care!

The Washington Senators won the World Series in 1924

Juan Soto
Juan Soto, the baby shark of the Nationals
The Washington Nationals won the 2019 World Series. An old friend of mine, who lives in the DC area, wrote, “I think I’m supposed to care.” It’s weird because I actually did.

This surprised me a bit because I barely followed the regular baseball season this year. I did note that the New York Yankees were going to win the American League East. Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox, who won the Series in 2018, weren’t even going to make the playoffs.

I could tell you who won every WS from 1949 to 1964, and most of the ones from 1965 to 2001. But my awareness this century is rather spotty. I knew when the Yankees won (2009), or when the Red Sox (2004) and Chicago Cubs (2016) ended 86- and 108-year WS victory droughts, respectively. Or the Houston Astros, who were formed in 1962 but had never won until 2017.

The DC history in Major League Baseball is complicated. The Washington Senators played in the National League, off and on, until 1899.

Then the city received an original franchise in the American League in 1901. It was called the Nationals by the new owners “so as not to have them confused with the old Senators. But fans kept calling them the Senators, while the team kept calling itself the Nationals.”

The team won the World Series in 1924, and lost the WS in 1925 and 1933, but generally had a dismal record. The team relocated and was renamed the Minnesota Twins at the start of the 1961 season.

Expansion teams

DC got a new team in the American League that, confusingly, was also called the Washington Senators. The one game I saw in the original Yankee Stadium was on July 21, 1962, when the Bronx Bombers beat the Senators 4-3. Then THAT DC franchise moved and became the Texas Rangers in for the 1972 season.

Meanwhile, the Montreal Expos became an expansion team in the National League in 1969 “and made the playoffs only once in 36 seasons. Montreal’s best team, the 1994 Expos, might have won a World Series, but there was no World Series that year due to a work stoppage.”

When the Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2005, they were nearly insolvent, quite literally owned by Major League Baseball. They never reached the playoffs before 2019. Going into the Memorial Day weekend this season, they were 19-31.

Yet they won the wild card game and three more playoff rounds to hoist the trophy to the only World Series in which the road team won every game. It was truly a Fall Classic.

With more concern over injuries from playing football, I have the romantic notion that fans will rediscover baseball. I will admit having watched every game in the Series on tape delay this year. I zapped through the commercials, usually watching half the game before going to bed, and the rest by getting up early and avoiding the computer.

Baseball’s Bill James turns 70


Bill JamesBill James is quite a noteworthy personage in baseball. No, he doesn’t throw a 95 mph fastball or hit 30 home runs. His approach to baseball is to scientifically analyze the game to figure out why some teams win and some lose.

As someone who used to read the backs of baseball cards, I know the game has always been driven by numbers. James, though, uses what he calls sabermetrics, named for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). He came up with several categories that others hadn’t concocted; you can see them in the Wikipedia article.

“James began self-publishing an annual book… beginning in 1977. The first edition, titled ‘1977 Baseball Abstract: Featuring 18 categories of statistical information that you just can’t find anywhere else,’ presented 68 pages of in-depth statistics compiled from James’s study of box scores from the preceding season and was offered for sale through a small advertisement in The Sporting News. Seventy-five people purchased the booklet.” Eventually, Bill James found different outlets to present his broader look at statistics.

“Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane began applying sabermetric principles to running his low-budget team in the early 2000s, to notable effect, as chronicled in Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball.” I did see the Moneyball movie, with Brad Pitt.

“In 2003, James was hired by a former reader, John Henry, the new owner of the Boston Red Sox… During his time with the [team, he] has received four World Series rings for the team’s 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018 victories.”

In the office where I write this purple prose, on the closest bookshelf, resides The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (1985). It’s a reference book, suitable for a librarian. James provides “an overview of professional baseball decade by decade, along with rankings of the top 100 players at each position.” The book has been updated a couple times, most recently in 2001.

Bill James is more of a geek than I am. He turns 70 on October 5.

From the New York island to California

PUT the statehood IN ORDER: OK, CA, NE

CaliforniaContinuing with US states, Canadian provinces and territories of both. The letter is C.

CA California – first two letters. The tradition abbreviation was Calif., though Cal. and Ca. were also used. Capital: Sacramento; largest city: Los Angeles. In fact, the state has three of the ten largest cities in the country: LA (#2), San Diego (#8) and San Jose (#10).

Famously, gold was discovered in Sutter’s Mill in Coloma. This lead to the migration known as the California Gold Rush. The National Football League team, the San Francisco 49ers, was named for this phenomenon.

When I was on JEOPARDY! in 1998, there was a clue in the category PUT ‘EM IN ORDER, in which we had to put the elements of the clue in chronological order. The choices of Oklahoma statehood, California statehood, Nebraska statehood. I knew that California rapidly became eligible, and in fact, became a state in 1850. Nebraska became a state in 1867, Oklahoma not until 1907.


The United States population has been moving south and west for a number of years. But in 1957, all 16 Major League Baseball teams were in the Northeast and Midwest: MA: Boston (AL); PA: Philadelphia (NL) and Pittsburgh (NL); MD: Baltimore (AL); Washington, DC (AL); OH: Cincinnati (NL), Cleveland (AL); MI: Detroit (AL); IL: Chicago (AL and NL); WI: Milwaukee (NL); MO: Kansas City (AL), St. Louis (NL).

Plus there were three teams in New York City. The New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers were in the National League, while the New York Yankees were in, and usually dominated, the American League. The Giants and Dodgers stagger the sports world by relocating to California – to San Francisco and LA, respectively – “where growing metropolises greet them with record-breaking attendance figures…while millions back in New York City are numbed with betrayal.”

CO Colorado – first two letters. The traditional abbreviation was Colo. or Col. Capital and largest city: Denver.

CT Connecticut – first and last letter. the traditional abbreviation was Conn. ot Ct. Capital: Hartford; largest city: Bridgeport.

For ABC Wednesday.