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Deleted Scenes: My SI.com debut

The first thing I ever did for SI.com was write the Friday entry for “Fungoes,” the site’s first attempt at a baseball blog. After Ben Reiter, Albert Chen, Alex Belth and Jon Weisman tackled the six divisions over the first four days of the week, I would write a “Wild Card” entry on any topic of my (and my editor’s) chosing on Friday. My very first Fungoes entry, on April 6, 2007, concerned the Diamondbacks’ brand new uniforms and color scheme. With Arizona having replaced that uniform set on Thursday night, this seemed like as good a time as any to add this to the pieces I’ve salvaged from my personal archives. As with the other articles that were lost in the site’s redesign in June 2014, this is the version I submitted, presented here unaltered and prior to any editing by SI.com’s editors. The many embedded links (blantantly imitating the style of Paul Lukas’s Uni-Watch, but with his blessing) are from the original, as well, so my apologies for the many that now lead to dead ends and since-deleted pages.

If Jerry Seinfeld’s right that we baseball fans really just root for laundry, then it only seems appropriate that, after all of the words spilled on new faces in new places (or rather, old faces in new laundry), we spill a few on the laundry itself. This year, the Diamondbacks and Reds have entirely new looks. New designs were sorely needed in both cases, though both could have done better than what they ultimately came up with. The Reds became victims of the dreaded black drop shadow in 1999 and, though they are one of the few teams with some historical claim to black as a team color, the Reds always looked better when they either stuck exclusively to red and white, or used navy instead of black. Their new duds do greatly reduce the amount of black in their color scheme, but that blasted drop shadow is still there.

The Diamondbacks were the clear choice for worst uniform in the majors from the moment they entered the league in 1998 (so much for Buck Showalter’s reputation as a traditionalist, even a dirt path to the pitchers mound couldn’t make up for the Snakes’ seemingly endless combinations of purple, teal, gold, and black). They’ve finally toned things down, but now they just look like the Astros. Despite the lack of creativity in the D-backs’ new design (see also the Washington Nationals), their wholesale color scheme change is actually rather historic.

Many teams have added or deleted third or even fourth colors (such as the Mets, Royals, Rangers, and Reds flirtation with black drop shadows in recent years). Some have completely inverted the significance of their main two colors (see the Angels and Rangers, who went from predominantly blue with red highlights to the reverse, and, in the case of the Rangers, back again). Others have made gradual changes to their color schemes, such as the Padres switching from yellow and brown, to yellow, orange, and brown, to just orange and brown, to orange and blue, to blue and “sand” over the course of a quarter century. Still others have made what amount to changes in tint, the most extreme being the Astros, whose colors had always been based in orange and navy, but who switched to rust and black in 2000. Similarly the White Sox have always used some combination of navy, black and red, though at different times they’ve reduced their color scheme to just one of the three, the most striking recent examples being their early ‘70s duds, the home versions of which looked exactly like their current home unis but whereas the current versions are entirely black and white, the 1971 to 1975 versions were entirely red and white.

What the Diamondbacks have done, however, is to change their entire color scheme in the course of a single winter, something that has only happened twice before in modern major league history. The first time was in 1948 when the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had always worn some combination of blue and red, adopted the colors of the Pittsburgh city flag, the black and gold since worn by the city’s other two major sports franchises, the NFL’s Steelers and NHL’s Penguins. The second came in the wake of Charlie O. Finley’s 1961 purchase of the Kansas City Athletics. The Athletics too had worn only shades of blue with occasional use of red throughout their history in Philadelphia and Kansas City, but in their third year under Finley they took the field in colors Finely dubbed “kelly green,” “Fort Knox gold,” and “wedding gown white.” Mickey Mantle said the A’s, “should have come out of the dugout on tippy-toes, holding hands and singing.” The Mick’s homophobia aside, that sort of strong reaction was exactly what Finely was going for. His A’s didn’t just use their green and gold on stripes and text, they wore bright yellow vests and pants with green hats, green undersleeves, and green stirrups. Remember, this was back when uniforms were wool and the last active player to sport a moustache during the regular season was Frenchy Bordagaray in 1936. (Actually, there was a third instance, but the Brooklyn Dodgers flirtation with green lasted just one season before they returned to their traditional Dodger blue, whereas the other two changes persist to this day, even despite such horrors as this).

What exactly the Diamonbacks are trying to accomplish with their new colors is more difficult to discern. The team’s official press release stated that the new colors were “chosen to better represent the personality and beauty of Arizona.” I get that. The connection between their new shade of red and the rocks in Sedona is obvious. But when the Pirates and A’s made their palette changes, they distinguished themselves in the process. No other major league team before or since has worn Finley’s green and gold or Pittsburgh’s yellow and black. The Diamondbacks, however, look almost exactly like the Astros, who have been wearing “brick red” and black since 2000, supposedly in tribute to the importance of railroads in Houston’s history (which only makes sense for a team first named after a gun and then for the city’s connection to the space program). Then again, anything that will prevent things like this from happening has got to be considered an improvement. It’s just troubling that something so historic could seem so uninspired.

  • Game of the Week: Braves 3, Phillies 2, 11 innings. A seven-inning pitchers duel between veteran Tim Hudson and wunderkind Cole Hamels erased by a Braves comeback on a game-tying, ninth-inning two-run home run by Brian McCann and an eleventh-inning game winner by Scott Thorman.
  • Player of the Week: Miguel Cabrera – 7 for 10 with 5 walks, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 6 RBIs and 5 runs scored. Cabrera made just three outs in fifteen plate appearances over three games against the Nationals.
  • Performance of the Week: Felix Hernandez vs. Oakland, Tuesday April 3 – 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12 K
 
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Posted by on December 4, 2015 in Deleted Scenes

 

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Slash-Stat Triple Crown Winners

Here are the 46 instances of a hitter leading his league in all three slash stats (batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage), a concept I dubbed the “Slash-Stat Triple Crown” in a post for SI.com’s Fungoes blog in September 2007. Italics indicate the hitter led the majors in that category.

Year
Player
POS
Team
Lg.
AVG
OBP
SLG
2013
Miguel Cabrera
3B
Tigers
AL
.348
.442
.636
2009
Joe Mauer
C
Twins
AL
.365
.444
.587
2004
Barry Bonds
LF
Giants
NL
.362
.609
.812
2002
Barry Bonds
LF
Giants
NL
.370
.582
.799
2000
Todd Helton
1B
Rockies
NL
.372
.463
.698
1999
Larry Walker
RF
Rockies
NL
.379
.458
.710
1980
George Brett
3B
Royals
AL
.390
.454
.664
1979
Fred Lynn
CF
Red Sox
AL
.333
.423
.637
1967
Carl Yastrzemski
LF
Red Sox
AL
.326
.418
.622
1966
Frank Robinson
RF
Orioles
AL
.316
.410
.637
1957
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.388
.526
.731
1948
Stan Musial
RF
Cardinals
NL
.376
.450
.702
1948
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.369
.497
.615
1947
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.343
.499
.634
1943
Stan Musial
RF
Cardinals
NL
.357
.425
.562
1942
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.356
.499
.648
1941
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.406
.553
.735
1938
Jimmie Fox
1B
Red Sox
AL
.349
.462
.704
1935
Arky Vaughan
SS
Pirates
NL
.385
.491
.607
1934
Lou Gehrig
1B
Yankees
AL
.363
.465
.706
1933
Chuck Klein
RF
Phillies
NL
.368
.422
.602
1928
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.387
.498
.632
1925
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.403
.489
.756
1924
Babe Ruth
RF
Yankees
AL
.378
.513
.739
1924
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.424
.507
.696
1923
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.384
.459
.627
1922
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.401
.459
.722
1921
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.397
.458
.639
1920
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.370
.431
.559
1917
Ty Cobb
CF
Tigers
AL
.383
.444
.570
1916
Tris Speaker
CF
Red Sox
AL
.386
.470
.502
1914
Ty Cobb
CF
Tigers
AL
.368
.466
.513
1910
Sherry Magee
LF
Phillies
NL
.331
.445
.507
1909
Ty Cobb
CF
Tigers
AL
.377
.431
.517
1909
Honus Wagner
SS
Pirates
NL
.339
.420
.489
1908
Honus Wagner
SS
Pirates
NL
.354
.415
.542
1907
Honus Wagner
SS
Pirates
NL
.350
.408
.513
1906
George Stone
LF
Browns
AL
.358
.417
.501
1904
Honus Wagner
SS
Pirates
NL
.349
.423
.520
1904
Nap Lajoie
2B
Cleveland Naps
AL
.376
.413
.546
1901
Nap Lajoie
2B
Athletics
AL
.426
.463
.643
1891
Dan Brouthers
1B
Boston Reds
AA
.350
.471
.512
1882
Tip O’Neill
LF
St. Louis Browns
AA
.435
.490
.691
1883
Dan Brouthers
1B
Buffalo Bisons
NL
.374
.397
.572
1882
Dan Brouthers
1B
Buffalo Bisons
NL
.368
.403
.547
1882
Pete Browning
2B
Louisville Eclipse
AA
.378
.430
.510
1880
Piano Legs Gore
CF
White Stockings
NL
.360
.399
.463
 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Lists, Supplemental Materials

 

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