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Sports Then and Now



2016 MLB Preview: Is It the Year of the San Francisco Giants (Again)? 1

Posted on April 03, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Madison Bumgarner will look to build on his 18 win season of 2015 as the Giants look for their fourth World Series title of the decade.

Madison Bumgarner will look to build on his 18 win season of 2015 as the Giants look for their fourth World Series title of the decade.

Since winning their first World Series in 56 years back in 2010, the San Francisco Giants have become the kings of the even year in Major League Baseball. It is an even year, so does that mean it is again time for the Giants to win the World Series?

Though the Giants posted a respectable 84-78 record last season, they were well off the pace of the playoffs as they finished eight games behind the division winning Los Angeles Dodgers and 13 games out of a Wild Card spot.

Their past championship teams have been built on a foundation of strong pitching and that will certainly have to be the case again if they hope to make a run in 2016.

The addition of Johnny Cueto would appear to be a great move in that direction. Though he finished 2015 with an 11-13 record and struggled during his tenure with the World Champion Royals, Cueto should benefit from returning to the National League this season. He registered an ERA under three runs a game in each of his final five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (including 2.62 before being traded to KC in 2015).

In addition, Jeff Samardzija is back in the National League after posting an 11-13 record with 4.96 ERA pitching for the Chicago White Sox in 2015. Though he has registered only one winning season during his career, Samardzija has shown signs of greatness and should benefit from being part of a solid rotation.

The remainder of the staff includes three pitchers with All-Star pedigrees. Madison Bumgarner was 18-9 with a 2.93 ERA last season and is the clear staff ace. Jake Peavy was 8-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 19 starts last season.

Matt Cain has struggled the last three seasons, but if he is able to regain the form he showed while winning 55 games between 2009 and 2012 he will be a great end of the rotation anchor for the Giants.

The position lineup is led by perennial All-Star catcher Buster Posey. The 2012 MVP has been a steady performer since missing most of the 2011 season due to a horrific home plate collision. He has played at least 147 games in each of the last four years and in 2015 hit .318 with 19 home runs and 95 RBI. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy 80th Birthday Willie Mays 0

Posted on May 06, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Happy 80th birthday to the "Say Hey Kid".

The beauty of sports is that even though his birth certificate tells us that Willie Mays turns 80 years old today, our minds can still remember the “Say Hey Kid” as the young superstar with a smile and personality that could light up New York and who possessed enough talent to fill up a baseball stadium.

You can argue about who was the greatest baseball player of all-time, but there is little doubt that Mays is on the short list for any discussion.

Mays was the rare player who could win games with his bat, glove and legs.

After earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1951, Mays missed most of the 1952 season and all of the 1953 season while serving in the military.

When he returned in 1954, Mays began a streak of 19 straight years earning an All-Star spot as he won the first of his two National League MVP Awards.

During his career, Mays led the league in runs, hits, triples, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage.  He was the first player in baseball history to steal 30 bases and hit 30 home runs in the same season. Read the rest of this entry →

Year of the Pitcher Ends with Giants’ Victory 2

Posted on November 03, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Tim Lincecum capped the "Year of the Pitcher" with eight strong innings in the final game of the World Series.

In a perfect ending to the “Year of the Pitcher”, the San Francisco Giants received back-to-back great pitching performances to secure the first World Series title for the franchise since 1954.

It wasn’t quite the showing of the 1966 Baltimore Orioles, who held the Los Angeles Dodgers without a run for the last 33 innings of their series sweep, but it was almost that impressive given that the Rangers were among the top offensive teams in baseball in 2010.

In holding the Rangers to five runs over the last four games, with four of them coming in their only victory of the series, the Giants demonstrated exactly what took them from floundering team to World Series champion over the final three months of the season.

After seeing their record fall to 41-40 on July 4th, the Giants rallied to go 51-30 over the final three months of the season. During that stretch, 20 of their victories were in games in which their pitching staff held the opponents either scoreless or to one run.

Though Tim Lincecum will not claim a third consecutive Cy Young Award, the performance of the young hurler during the World Series proved that he is indeed a staff ace. Read the rest of this entry →

Willie Mays – The Say Hey Kid 0

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Willie Mays

We recognize as the July Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month a player who is always on the short-list of greatest players in Major League Baseball history. Willie Mays is one of three players (along with Hank Aaron and Stan Musial) to earn 24 All-Star appearances.

After earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1951, Mays missed most of the 1952 season and all of the 1953 season while serving in the military.

When he returned in 1954, Mays began a streak of 19 straight years earning an All-Star spot as he won the first of his two National League MVP Awards.

Mays was the rare player who could win games with his bat, glove and legs. Read the rest of this entry →

Out Reach of Hope, The Dave Dravecky Story 1

Posted on September 25, 2009 by Blaine Spence

“As time passes, my story fades away.”

The story of Dave Dravecky is one of overcoming personal adversity and hardships.

The story of Dave Dravecky is one of overcoming personal adversity and hardships.

—Dave Dravecky

Dave Dravecky made his major-league debut with the San Diego Padres on June 15, 1982.

The left-handed Dravecky pitched 105 innings his rookie year, posting an ERA of 2.57.

In Dravecky’s sophomore year, he was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Star game and pitched two scoreless innings while striking out George Brett and Fred Lynn.

In over 25 innings of post season play, Dravecky was used both as a relief pitcher and as a starter. As a relief pitcher in the 1984 World Series for the Padres, Dravecky was flawless, allowing no earned runs in either the NLCS or the World Series, which the Padres eventually lost in five games to the Detroit Tigers.
Read the rest of this entry →

Willie McCovey 0

Posted on July 14, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Willie McCovey

Willie McCovey

Each week Sports Then and Now will recognize a Vintage Athlete of the Week. The purpose of this weekly post will be to celebrate and re-visit the accomplishments of notable athletes from past generations.

In honor of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, our first Athlete of the Week is a baseball great who was the hero of the Midsummer Classic 40 years ago.

Despite his immense stature (6-foot-4, 210 pounds), Willie McCovey was often overshadowed by more flamboyant teammates. He truly epitomized the concept of speaking softly and carrying a big stick as McCovey blasted 521 home runs during his 22-year major league career.

Read the rest of this entry →

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