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Welcome to the 600 Club Albert Pujols 1

Posted on June 04, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Albert Pujols became the 9th player in MLB history to reach 600 career home runs with a blast against the Twins on June 3rd.

Albert Pujols became the 9th player in MLB history to reach 600 career home runs with a blast against the Twins on June 3rd.

While reaching a milestone home run number is not as earthshaking news in the world of Major League Baseball as it once was, that does little to negate the impressive achievement of longtime slugger Albert Pujols. With a grand slam home run Saturday night, he became just the ninth player in major league history to reach 600 career home runs.

When Pujols first joined the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001, Major League Baseball’s 600 home run club consisted of three members in Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660) and had not added a new member in 30 years.

For multiple reasons that have been well chronicled, home run production has escalated in the last two decades and thus the number of players accumulating large career totals has also risen.

Beginning with Barry Bonds in 2002 and now including Pujols, six players have reached 600 home runs in the last 15 years. Bonds, who hit 509 home runs after turning 30 years old and 340 after turning 35, finished with a modern era record of 762. Alex Rodriguez completed his career with 696, Ken Griffey with 630, Jim Thome with 612 and Sammy Sosa with 609.

What is somewhat different for Pujols than the other five recent players is that he has reached the total through a long period of consistent numbers, without having one or two huge (50+) home run seasons.

During his 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, which included two World Series titles, Pujols finished in the top five in the MVP voting 10 times (three MVP Awards and ninth the other year) and hit at least 32 home runs every year with six seasons above 40 and a high of 49. He also had a .328 batting average for the Cardinals and drove home more than 100 runs 10 times. Read the rest of this entry →

Bob Gibson: Big Game Hurler 5

Posted on October 04, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson

With the baseball playoffs upon us, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a two-time World Series MVP who hurled eight complete games in the Fall Classic and still holds the record for strikeouts in a World Series game.

Throughout his 17 year career with the St. Louis Cardinals, opponents knew they were in for a battle every time they faced Bob Gibson.   Read the rest of this entry →

6 Greatest Sports Bets of All Time 7

Posted on September 01, 2014 by Kimberly Powell
Tom Brady's safety to open the scoring in Super Bowl XLVI proved to be worth $50,000 to one sports gambler.

Tom Brady’s safety to open the scoring in Super Bowl XLVI proved to be worth $50,000 to one sports gambler.

Thousand Dollar Wager on Safety as First Score of Super Bowl XLVI

In American football, the ever elusive ‘safeties’ have only ever been achieved seven times throughout its history. This is where the ball carrier is tackled down in his own end zone; the ball becomes dead in the end zone, or the offense commits a foul in its own end zone. One American still decided to make a bet and a $1000 one at that. With the odds stacking up against him at 50-1 from the MGM Grand sports book, his chances looked bleak. The better knew his stuff, as Tom Brady of the New England Patriots was called for intentional grounding in the end zone to account for the first points of the Super Bowl and making the lucky winner  $50k richer in one night.

Betting on Cardinals to Make and to Win 2011 World Series

On September 12, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals were five games back from a wild card spot with just 15 games left to play. An unidentified St. Louis fan staked $250 on the Cardinals making the World Series at 500-1 odds. He obviously felt optimistic, as another $250 bet was put down on his team actually winning the World Series at 999-1 odds. The Cardinals blazed through the month of September, collecting win after win. By October, they had taken down the heavily favored Phillies and eventually defeated the Rangers in seven games to win the series. The pay-out was a huge $375,000. Read the rest of this entry →

2014 Major League Baseball Preview: Is Money the Answer? 10

Posted on March 30, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Despite hitting 86 home runs the last two seasons, Chris Davis is still one of the most underrated players in baseball.

Despite hitting 86 home runs the last two seasons, Chris Davis is still one of the most underrated players in baseball.

Several major league baseball teams spent the winter spending money like a drunken sailor in hopes of moving to the top of the league. Yet, as we prepare for the 2014 season the teams expected by many to contend are a combination of big money and middle payroll teams.

For now, the Los Angeles Dodgers have surpassed the New York Yankees as the team with baseball’s highest payroll. However, that doesn’t mean the team in the Bronx is suddenly being frugal. The suspension of Alex Rodriguez hacked a large salary off their payroll, but the Yankees made up for that by signing Japanese pitching star Masahiro Tanaka and high money free agents Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann.

While several teams in recent years have been able to make the playoffs without high payrolls, once the playoffs begin the higher payrolls have generally had an advantage. That was quite obvious last season in the two playoff series that went to a decisive game. The higher payroll Cardinals and Tigers each started a seasoned veteran in the fifth game of their division round playoff series (Adam Wainwright and Justin Verlander, respectively). Their opponents, the Pirates and A’s, each started a rookie who wasn’t even in the major leagues when the 2013 season started.

Having a high payroll is no guarantee that a team will make the playoffs, but big off-season spending has certainly put several teams in a position to contend.

Below are a few thoughts heading into the 2014 season:

Baseball’s Most Underrated Player
In the last two seasons Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis has hit 86 home runs, driven in 223 runs and scored 178 runs, yet ESPN’s recent player rankings didn’t have him listed among the top 25 players in the game. The Sybermetrics disciples have become so enamored with WAR and other made-up stats that they have forgotten that driving in and scoring runs is the name of the game. As a team, the Orioles have been generally dismissed despite having two consecutive solid seasons, but they have a very potent offensive and if David has another strong season the O’s could again be in contention throughout the season.
Read the rest of this entry →

Boston Red Sox Finish Improbable Season With World Series Title 1

Posted on October 31, 2013 by Dean Hybl

 

The Boston Red Sox slid past the St. Louis Cardinals to win Game Six and the 2013 World Series.

The Boston Red Sox slid past the St. Louis Cardinals to win Game Six and the 2013 World Series.

After a 2012 season filled with internal bickering, a trade that removed three of the best players from the roster and a record that was the third worst in the American League, who could have predicted that just 12 months later the Boston Red Sox would be the 2013 World Series Champions?

Yet, despite basically starting from scratch with a roster that included a dozen new faces, there were the Red Sox defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in game six to claim their third World Series title in a decade and first being clinched at Fenway Park since 1918.

The final game was perhaps the least dramatic of a World Series that had two “first ever” endings.

Game three, a 5-4 Cardinals victory, was the first World Series game ever ended on a fielder obstruction play. Then the next night, the Red Sox tied the series at two games each when Koji Uehara picked off Kolten Wong with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to preserve a 4-2 victory.

As was the case throughout the season, the key for the Red Sox against the Cardinals was timely hitting, strong starting pitching and a lights out bullpen. Read the rest of this entry →

Lester, Ortiz Help Red Sox Close In On World Series Title 1

Posted on October 29, 2013 by Ryan Kuketz
Jon Lester's second masterful performance of the World Series has the Boston Red Sox needing just one win for their third title since 2004.

Jon Lester’s second masterful performance of the World Series has the Boston Red Sox needing just one win for their third title since 2004.

With the World Series tied at 2 games apiece, Jon Lester proved to the world that he is truly an ace, as the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in game five of the World Series, which gives Boston the 3-2 series lead.

Lester pitched 7 and two third innings, giving up just one run on four hits. The one run he let up was a home run to leftfielder Matt Holliday in the bottom of the 4th that tied the game at 1. Lester then retired 13 straight hitters before giving up a double to David Freese in the 8th inning, and was taken out after Pete Kozma flew out, and closer Koji Uehara shut the door with a 5 out save.

The Red Sox offense started early as they scored their first run in the first when Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz had back to back doubles to take a 1-0 lead. With the game tied at 1, the Red Sox took the lead for good in the top of the 7th when David Ross hit a ground rule double that scored Xander Bogaerts.

Ross’s ground rule double, may have stayed in the yard at Fenway, and had it not bounced into the stands, Bogaerts would have easily scored from first base. After Jon Lester struck out on a bunt foul, Jacoby Ellsbury, who is most likely playing in his final games with Boston, hit a bloop single into centerfield which scored Bogaerts. Ross tried to score on the play but was thrown out at the plated by Shane Robinson. The tag at the plate was close, but Yadier Molina was just able to tag Ross out. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Original Patriot: Gino Cappelletti
      September 3, 2017 | 6:54 pm
      Gino Cappelletti

      Gino Cappelletti

      In recognition of the start of football season, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is one of the original stars for the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

      In many ways, Gino Cappelletti epitomized the early years of the American Football League. While the NFL was becoming more specialized and tougher to break into, the AFL provided former college stars with a new place to play and its “wild west” mentality allowed players to contribute in a wide variety of ways.

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