October 04, 2015 by
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 →
September 01, 2014 by
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 →
March 30, 2014 by
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 →
October 31, 2013 by
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 →
October 29, 2013 by
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 →
October 23, 2013 by
The 2013 World Series is the 4th ever Fall Classic meeting between the Cardinals and Red Sox.
When the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals do battle in Game 1 of the 2013 World Series, it will be the first time since 1999 that the American League and National League champions were the teams with the best record in their respective leagues. The Sox and Redbirds both finished with 97 wins this season, sharing the best record in the majors. It’s not the first time that these franchises have met under the bright lights of October, either. St. Louis holds a 2-1 advantage over the Red Sox in their three previous World Series match-ups, although Boston swept the Cardinals in their last meeting back in 2004. The 2013 rendition of these squads appear to be dead even at first glance, so let’s do a little digging and find out who has the edge in this series.
Starting Rotation: Cardinals starters went 77-46 in 2013, with an ERA of 3.42, but the real story for this group has been the emergence of rookie sensation Michael Wacha. Wacha has a minuscule 0.43 ERA in his three starts this postseason. Opponents are hitting an abysmal .114 off of him, and he was named MVP of the NLCS for his efforts. Lost in the Wacha craze has been that the Cards still have a bonafide ace in Adam Wainwright. Wainwright has gone 2-1 in three postseason starts for St. Louis, holding opponents to a .207 batting average with an ERA of 1.57. The Red Sox will likely counter with Jon Lester and John Lackeyas their one-two punch. Lester has been the best starting pitcher in Boston’s rotation in the postseason, going 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA while holding opponents to a .229 average. Lackey was the winner in both of his starts to this point, going 2-0 with a perfectly square 3.00 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .244 off of the potential comeback player of the year. As is the case with most individual match-ups in this series, there isn’t much of a difference. But the one-two punch of Wainwright and Wacha push the Cards over the top. Edge Cardinals. Read the rest of this entry →