Volume XVII December 2017 through March 2018 Issue 58

Major League Minor League Skills/Strategies HS/College/Seniors
Feature Stories World Baseball News Release Performance Enhancers
Newsletter Photo Gallery Coaching Clinic

Astros Win 1st World Series Crown, Top Dodgers

George Springer and the Houston Astros rocketed to the top of the baseball galaxy on Wednesday, November 2, winning the first World Series championship in franchise history by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7. Playing for a city still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, the Astros brought home the prize that had eluded them since they started out in 1962 as the Colt .45s. "I always believed that we could make it," All-Star slugger Jose Altuve said. "We did this for them. I caught the last out to become a world champion." At last, the Astros had completed the ascent some predicted after a rebuilding club purged payroll. Los Angeles led the majors with 104 wins and a $240 million payroll, and rallied to win Game 6.

For the story, go to Major League

Astros' George Springer Wins 2017 World Series Most Valuable Player

George Springer hit so many clutch home runs, he was a clear pick for World Series MVP. The Houston leadoff man hammered his way to the award, hitting a home run and double, to boost the Astros to their first championship. Springer launched a Series record-tying five homers, including shots in each of the final four games. He tied Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) for the most home runs in a Series. The University of Connecticut product became the first hitter to homer four games in a row during a single Series, and also set the mark with eight extra-base hits.

For the article, go to Major League

Jose Altuve Named Player of Year by Major League Players

Jose Altuve, who led the major leagues in batting with a .346 average and then hit .310 in the playoffs to lead the Houston Astros to the World Series title, was named the MLB Players Choice Awards Player of the Year and the American League's Outstanding Player. Altuve was named to the All-Star team for the seventh time this season. He has 1,250 career hits and trails only Ty Cobb, Pete Rose and Hank Aaron for the most hits by age 27. Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins earned the National League Outstanding Player Award. Stanton led the majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBI this season.

To read, go to Major League

Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, Astros' Jose Altuve Win MVP Honors

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve were named the Most Valuable Players of the National and American Leagues, respectively. Stanton, the towering slugger whose 59 homers were the most in 16 years, prevailed over Cincinnati's Joey Volto in the fourth-closest MVP vote in history. Six players received first-place votes in the National League. The others were Paul Goldschmidt (four), Charlie Blackman (three), Nolan Arenado (two) and Kris Bryant (one) --- the most since 1979. Stanton's homer total was the most since Barry Bonds hit a record 73 and Sammy Sosa blasted 64 in 2001.

For the story, go to Major League

Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger Named Top Major League Rookies

Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are baseball's Rookies of the Year, after their record-setting home run binges left no need for any dissenting opinions. Judge led the American League with 52 homers, the most ever by a rookie. Bellinger hit 39 and had to settle for the National League's rookie record. Judge and Bellinger received every first-place vote available from the Baseball Writers" Association of America.

To read, go to Major League

Baseball Owners Look at Rule Changes to Speed Up the Game

For those rooting for baseball to speed up the game, Commissioner Rob Manfred says: have patience. Owners and players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement in December, but they're still negotiating innovations designed to improve the pace of play. Management would like to tighten restrictions on trips to the mound and introduce a pitch clock, which has been used in Triple-A and Double-A the past two seasons. The players generally have resisted such changes, and many say there's no problem with the length of games. Manfred disagrees. Other stories include: MLB to Push Forward with Process for Rule Changes; and MLB Owners, Players Ratify Labor Deal Through 2021.

For the story, go to Major League

Baseball's Greatest Batters

Ten of the greatest batters in baseball history were chosen by Don Weiskopf to be featured in his Photo Gallery. Leading off is Babe Ruth. The Sultan of Swat finished his great career in 1935 with 714 home runs. Ruth and Lou Gehrig were the heart of the great 1927 New York Yankees team. Ty Cobb may have been the best all-around baseball player that ever lived. Ted Williams won six batting titles, leading the American League in home runs four times. His .634 career slugging percentage is second only to Ruth. Hank Aaron was baseball's all-time home run king until his record of 755 home runs was broken. Stan Musial was one of baseball's greatest hitters and a Hall of Famer with the St. Louis Cardinals with a .331 lifetime batting average and 475 home runs. They are followed by Willie Mays, Giants; Ernie Banks, Cubs; Mickey Mantle, Yankees; and Rogers Hornsby, Cardinals.

For their career stories, go to Photo Galllery

How Aaron Judge Built Baseball's Mightiest Swing

Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees standout outfielder, led the major leagues in home runs in early July. Judge, who is 6 feet 7 inches and weighs 282 pounds, showed off his prodigious power before a national audience in winning the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities in Miami. He is not just a muscle bound athlete who hits baseballs over the wall with brute strength. His swing, from start to finish, is a portrait of technical precision that has allowed his rare physical gifts to flourish. No major league batter hits more balls farther more often --- 14 of his early homers traveled at least 425 feet, including a 496-footer, the longest in baseball this season.

For the article, go to Feature Stories

Baseball's Greatest Pitchers

Ten of the greatest pitchers in baseball history were chosen by Don Weiskopf to be featured in Baseball's Greatest Pitchers, his new Skills and Strategies page. Leading off is Cy Young, whose legacy as a pitcher unlikely will ever be matched. The right-hander won 511 games during his major league career, almost 100 more than any other pitcher in history. Young is followed by Christy Mathewson, New York Giants; Walter Johnson, Washington Senators; Bob Feller, Cleveland Indians; Dizzy Dean, St. Louis Cardinals; Warren Spahn, Milwaukee Braves; Early Wynn, Cleveland Indians/Chicago White Sox; Whitey Ford, New York Yankees; Carl Hubbell, New York Giants; and Hal Newhauser, Detroit Tigers.

For their career stories, go to Skills and Strategies

Home Runs Set Record in June, Topping Even Steroids Era High

Justin Smoak's opposite-field drive dropped over the left-field wall in Toronto, and an eye-popping record had been set. Batters reached a home run mark for a month, shattering the syringe-fueled high of The Steroids Era. Hitters in 2017 were on pace to crush the previous MLB single-season total home run record. Hitters went deep 1,101 times in June, topping the 1,069 of May 2000. June's average of 2.70 homers per game also set a mark, topping the 2.64 in May 2000. Baseball offense has become all or nothing. Pictured here, Matt Olson of the Oakland Athletics swings for a home run on June 30, 2017, in Oakland.

To read, go to Performance Enhancers

Mike Trout, Kris Bryant Win Baseball's MVP Awards

The Angels' Mike Trout won the American League MVP for the second time in three years, and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was voted the National League MVP in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Trout was his usual brilliant self. The center fielder batted .315 with 29 homers, 100 RBIs and 30 steals. Bryant hit .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs in just his second year in the majors, helping the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908. For the article, go to Newsletter

Terry Francona, Dave Roberts Are Named Managers of the Year

Long before they were honored for guiding teams with depleted rosters to first-place finishes, Dave Roberts and Terry Francona were forever linked. Fans in Boston and beyond will always remember that signature stolen base. it was Roberts' daring swipe as a runner in the bottom of the 9th inning that helped the Red Sox, managed by Francona, rally from the brink of being swept by the Yankees in the 2004 AL Championship Series. Francona won two titles with the Red Sox, and earned his second AL Manager of the Year award with Cleveland. Roberts won the NL Manager of the Year honor in his first season as a skipper, having led the Los Angeles Dodgers to the NL West crown.

For the story, go to News Release

Red Sox Pitcher Rick Porcello Wins American League Cy Young Award

Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox won the American League Cy Young Award by a narrow margin. Porcello, who led the majors with 22 wins, beat out Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. He became only the fourth pitcher to claim a Cy Young Award with the Red Sox. Porcello won 137-132 in the second-closest vote since 1970. He rebounded after going 9-15 in his first season with the Red Sox, finishing with a 22-4 record for the American League East champions. He received a $100,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young Award. Verlander went 16-9 with a 2.40 ERA while leading the American League in strikeouts and other categories.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Max Scherzer of the Nationals Wins 2016 National League Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has won the 2016 National League Cy Young Award. He became the sixth pitcher to earn the Cy Young Award in both leagues. After earning the American League honor in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers, Scherzer joined Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Gaylord Perry and Roy Halladay as winners in both leagues. Scherzer posted a record-tying 20-strikeout performance for the National League East Champion Nationals, a year after he threw two no-hitters in his first season with Washington. "I want to find a way to be better," he said. "This award meant even more than the first one." Scherzer is the first pitcher from a Washington franchise to win a Cy Young.

For the article, go to News Release

Ralph Branca, Pitcher Who Gave Up 'Shot Heard 'Round the World

Ralph Branca's career was defined by that one high-and-inside fastball. The Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up Bobby Thomson's famed "Shot Heard 'Round the World" still echoing more than six decades later among the most hallowed home runs in baseball history, died on November 23. He was 90. Branca was a three-time All-Star and spent 12 seasons in the majors. Brought in from the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning during the deciding Game 3 of the NL pennant playoff on October 3, 1951, he gave up a three-run homer to Thomson that gave the rival New York Giants a stunning 5-4 victory.

For the stories, go to Feature Stories

Marlins' Christian Yelich Expected to Add Power, Center Field Glove

If Giancarlo Stanton wasn't launching moon shots on a regular basis, Christian Yelich of the Miami Marlins might be the talk of the Miami Marlins' outfield. Yelich, 25, didn't reach double-digit homers in any of his first three seasons before finding his power stroke in 2016, hitting 21. Eleven of those homers came in August or September. His manager Don Mattingly said, "I think Yelich is a star right now," He expects Yelich to take another step forward this season. A left fielder for most of his major league career, Yelich has switched to center, a position he played frequently in the minors. He also will take on more responsibility in the field this season.

For the article, go to News Release

Bud Selig, John Schuerholz Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Bud Selig oversaw baseball during a time of transformation and turmoil --- wild cards and a ballpark boom, the cancellation of a World Series and the Steroids Era. For most of his reign, there was one constant: those first-place Atlanta Braves, built by John Schuerholz. He took over as general manager of the Braves, starting an unprecedented run of 14 straight division titles. Selig became the fifth of 10 commissioners to reach the Hall of Fame.

For this story, go to News Release

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez Elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame. They will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown. Bagwell was a four-time All-Star for the Houston Astros, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs. Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 National League batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos. He hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage. Rodriguez, at 45 the youngest current Hall of Fame member, was a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs.

For this article, go to Feature Stories

Buster Posey Re-energizes After Down Year

As he geared up for the World Baseball Classic won by his USA team, catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants is in his ninth major league season in an already decorated career. This was the first time we had lost in the playoffs, but he is perfectly happy to leave last year behind. The disappointing way last season ended has provided "a little bit of an extra push." The Giants have revamped their bullpen after their struggles down the stretch and in the final game. Posey made a career-high 122 starts behind the plate last season and played 123 games at the position in all. "I'd like to try to rest Buster a little more," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We'll see how it goes, how the games go more than anything."

For the article, go to Newsletter

Corey Seager Named 2016 National League Rookie of the Year

Corey Seager, the unanimous pick for National League Rookie of the Year in 2016, begins his second season as the Dodgers' shortstop confronted by one daunting question. What can he do for an encore? great rookie seasons are often followed by the so-called sophomore slump. Seager led N.L. rookies in games played, hits, extra-base hits, and finished second in home runs and in the top five in batting average. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts foresees Seager improving, year to year, at a steady and almost deliberate pace. Roberts sees a young player not easily distracted from the immediate task. "Corey still goes out and competes," said Roberts, "That's the thing that separates Corey from a lot of players."

To read and view, go to Feature Stories

Seattle Mariners Add to Their Core Strength

The Seattle Mariners have never won a pennant, and they have reached the postseason just four times in 40 years. Their playoff drought, which reached 15 seasons last year, is the longest active streak in the majors. They won 86 games last season and hung in the race through Game 161. The Mariners arrived at spring training with new faces everywhere, after 13 off-season trades by General Manager Jerry Dipoto. "We're not trying to go with the 'scrubs and duds' program," said Dipoto. "We're trying to build as well-balanced a 25-man roster, with enough depth after 25, to make a go of it." Seattle manager Scott Servais sais, "I enjoy working with Jerry because there's never a dull moment and he's absolutely not afraid."

For the story, go to Newsletter

Joe Mauer Enters 14th Year Still Excited as a Minnesota Twin

For a local kid that grew up a Minnesota Twins fan, Joe Mauer has had quite a career with his home team. Entering his 14th season with the Twins, the 33-year-old Mauer is touched when his name is mentioned with the previous stars who wore the Minnesota uniform before him. A three-time batting champion from 2006-09, Mauer was the American League's Most Valuable Player in 2009. He has hit over .300 in seven of his first 10 seasons in the majors before dropping off the past three seasons. Mauer is looking to rebound, just like the team, which is coming off a club-record 103 losses. Mauer's presence in the clubhouse is appreciated by his teammates, too.

For the article, go to News Release

Brewers' Center Fielder Keon Broxton Has Rare Speed, Power Combo

Keon Broxton went from confused to confident at the plate. The 26-year-old Milwaukee Brewers center fielder is thinking that how he ended 2016 will carry over into this season. At 6-3, 200 pounds, Broxton is a rare combination of speed and power. He hit nine home runs and stole 23 bases in 75 games last year. In spring training this year, Broxton was hitting .366 with three home runs in 15 exhibition games. "Cutting down on strikeouts, trying to put more balls in play," said Broxton, describing how he wants to improve this year. "That's No. 1 for me. I just try to be a complete player. I've still got a lot of things to work on."

For the story, go to Newsletter

Aroldis Chapman, Yankees Reach Deal for $86 Million, 5 Years

Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen, and a very rich spot, too. The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees, with the highest priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, " The price tags are off the chart, both trade acquisitions as well as free agency." The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July last season, and he helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over. Chapman will receive an $11 million signing bonus, and $5 million in each of the next two years, and annual salaries of $15 million. He was acquired by New York from the Reds last off season.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Mark Trumbo Happy With 3-year Deal, and So Are the Orioles

Mark Trumbo figured his first foray into free agency would be a huge success. Trumbo topped the major leagues with 47 homers for the Baltimore Orioles in 2016. He then received a qualifying offer of $17.2 million, which he spurned. He entered free agency and ended up where he started: in Baltimore. The 31-year-old slugger finalized a $37.5 million, three-year contract in January. Though it wasn't as much as he was hoping for. at least Trumbo won't have to test the market again until 2020. Orioles vice president Dan Duquette said, "We're glad that Mark's back from that perspective. He's a good player. He fits in with the team and a good teammate."

For the article, go to Newsletter

Dallas Green, Who Managed Phillies to 1st World Series Title, Dies at 82

Dallas Green, the tough-talking, no-nonsense skipper who in 1980 guided the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series championship, died on March 22. He was 82. Green spent 62 years in baseball as a player, manager, general manager, team president and other roles. "He was a big man with a big heart and a bigger-than-life personality," said Phillies Chairman David Montgomery. Green also was the GM and president of the Chicago Cubs and made a shrewd deal to get a young infielder from the Phillies, future great Ryne Sandberg. In 2006, the Phillies inducted Green into their Hall of Fame. He spent 46 years overall in the Phillies system and was an adviser to their last four managers.

For the article, go to Newsletter

Mike Trout Stays Humble and Hungry in New Season with Angels

Although Mike Trout is a well-known baseball player, he still made his way around the Los Angeles Angels' clubhouse on February 18, to introduce himself to several new teammates. His teammates and coaches say he has been the same unassuming, upbeat guy throughout one of the greatest half-decades in recent big league history. "Mike hasn't changed a bit from the first day he stepped up here on a major league field," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "He probably hasn't changed since he was in high school." Trout won his second MVP award last fall. He batted .315 with 29 homers, 100 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and a .991 OPS while playing solid defense in center field last season.

To read, go to Feature Stories

James Rowson Working to Develop Twins' Young Hitters

A member of the 3,000-hit club and the Hall of Fame, Paul Molitor has been impressed by new Minnesota Twins hitting coach James Rowson. In his 16th pro coaching season, Rowson spent some time in the big leagues. He became the interim hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs in 2012 and had the interim tag removed the following year. "The first time I did it, everything was new to me," Rowson said. "But this time, you kind of fit in right away. You know what the daily routine is. You're more comfortable in the way you go about things. During spring training, Molitor has received "a lot of good feedback about Rowson.

To read, go to News Release

Reds Star Joey Votto Says He's Energized by Team's Youth Movement

Youth dominated the Cincinnati Reds' roster this spring. maybe that's helping rekindle Joey Votto's intensity and competitive edge. The 33-year-old Votto is starting his 10th full season in the majors after hitting .326 with 29 home runs, 97 RBIs and an NL leading .434 on-base average. Cincinnati was in its seventh straight losing season when Votto was called up in September 2007. The team broke through in 2010, with Votto winning the National League MVP award and the Reds taking the Central title. The Reds have posted three 90-win seasons in four years, including two division titles. Votto signed a 10-year contract in 2012.

For the article, go to Newsletter

Padres Rookie Hunter Renfroe Hopes for Powerful Season

Hunter Renfroe is hoping a smashing start to his major league career late last season will turn into a big success this year. Renfroe made his debut last September 21 and went 9 for 22 with three home runs and 13 RBIs for the San Diego Padres in the final six games. That fast start earned him the National League Player of the Week honor. "I don't foul off a lot of balls," said Renfroe. "When I swing the bat, I put the ball in play a lot of times. If you're going to throw the ball over the plate, I'm usually not going to miss it. Last season at El Paso, Renfroe hit .306 with 34 doubles, 30 home runs and 105 RBIs in 133 games, on his way to being picked the Pacific Coast League's Most Valuable Player.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Longtime MLB Executive Dan O'Brien Sr., Loved the Game of Baseball

Dan O'Brien Sr., a baseball lifer who was president and general manager of the Seattle Mariners as well as general manager of the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels, passed away in Dallas on January 16. He was 87. O'Brien's big league career was bracketed by 18 years in the Minor Leagues, beginning in 1955. "A nice man and a class guy," said Wayne Krivsky, former Cincinnati Reds general manager. "For me, Dan O'Brien Sr. will always be a special person in my life. He always had time to talk to you. He was a mentor. I will always have fond thoughts of him." O'Brien could also be tough when he needed to be.

To read, go to Newsletter

Rockies Spend Big in Off Season to Bolster Bullpen, 1st Base

The usually cost--conscious Colorado Rockies went on a little spending splurge in free agency. They made big investments in an effort to give the Dodgers and Giants a run for their money in the ultra-competitive National League West. Colorado boasts a powerful lineup led by Nolan Arenado and a starting rotation anchored by Chad Bettis. There will be a new voice in the dugout, too, with manager Bud Black taking over for Walt Weiss. Black is the first Rockies skipper with a bona fide pitching background, which should come in handy at Coors Field. The moves boosted morale for a team that has not been to the postseason since 2009.

For the story, go to Newsletter

Rejuvenated Rotation Gives St. Louis Cardinals Hope in NL Central

Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez has two hopes for this season, "The Cy Young and World Series." St. Louis has an abundance of starting pitchers, with Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha returning from injuries to join Martinez, Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake. Add talented newcomer Alex Reyes, pictured here, to the mix, and it's easy to understand why manager Mike Matheny hasn't ruled out the idea of a six-man rotation. The Cardinals know it's starting rotation must improve this year if they hope to catch the Chicago Cubs. Matheny said, "We toy with everything. Don't rule anything out."

To read and view, go to News Release

Mike Ilitch, Detroit Tigers and Red Wings Owner, Dies at 87

Mike Ilitch, who founded Little Caesars Pizza in a Detroit suburb and also owned baseball's Tigers and hockey's Red Wings, building a business and sports empires that made him among America's wealthiest men and helped change the face of his native city, died on February 10 in Detroit. He was 87. Ilitch and his wife, Marian, had a net worth of $6.1 billion at his death. Ilitch was praised for keeping his professional hockey and baseball teams in Detroit. He was a visionary who set the tone for his company and his family. Ilitch found his calling in the business world when he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars, in Garden City, a Detroit suburb, in 1959. It became the world's largest carryout pizza chain.

For article, go to Major League

Tigers' Michael Fulmer Named American League Rookie of the Year

Michael Fulmer, the Detroit Tigers right-hand pitcher, started the 2016 season in Triple-A Toledo. He ended it as the American League rookie of the year. Fulmer became the Tigers' first rookie of the year in a decade, besting New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and Cleveland Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin, as voted by The Baseball Writers Association of America. He received 26 of 30 first-place votes and four second-place votes for a total of 142 points. Fulmer, 23, posted a 3.06 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 26 starts. Fulmer was lauded for his mound presence, wise beyond his years, and off-field work ethic.

For the article, go to Newsletter

Orioles' Zach Britton Hopes to Duplicate Great 2016 Season

Zach Britton, the Baltimore Orioles' left-handed reliever, converted all 47 of his save opportunities in 2016. He had a standout season. After giving up his third earned run of the year on April 30, Britton went nearly four months, until August 24 when he allowed his fourth and final run. "A historical year," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "I don't think you'll ever see another year like that." The Orioles ended that year with Britton sitting in the bullpen as the Toronto Blue Jays won the American League wild-card game last October. This spring the Orioles kept Britton out until March 11, his schedule set for the rest of the spring.

To read, go to Feature Stories

Rejuvenated Rotation Gives St. Louis Hope in National League Central

Carlos Martinez has two hopes for this season, one for himself and one for the Cardinals. "The Cy Young and World Series," Martinez said through an interpreter. How Martinez fares at his first goal is likely to impact the second, as is the progress of the rest of St. Louis' revamped pitching staff, one that saw its team ERA balloon from a National League best 2.94 in 2015 to 4.08 last season. The Cardinals entered this season with an abundance of starting pitchers, with Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha returning from injuries to join stalwarts like Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake, and talented newcomer Alex Reyes.

For the story, go to News Release

Nelson Cruz Home Run Caps Dominican Republic Comeback Against U.S.

With their team playing the United States in a frenzied atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic, Nelson Cruz hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off Andrew Miller in the eighth inning. Starling Marte added a solo shot off the All-Star reliever and the defending champion Dominicans overcame a five-run deficit to beat the United States 7-5 on March 11. Pictured here, Cruz is congratulated by his teammates after hitting the home run. The comeback delighted the crowd of 37,446, the largest for baseball in the five-year history of Marlins Park. "The fans were incredible," said Miller. "It was a different atmosphere from anything we're used to."

To read and view, go to News Release

What the World Baseball Classic Can Teach Major League Baseball

This year's World Baseball Classic proved to be an inspiring tournament, with thrilling passionate players and boisterous fans showing off the best the sport has to offer on stages as diverse as Tokyo, Miami, Guadalajara, Mexico, and Seoul, South Korea. There have also been plenty of totems --- platinum hair, a golden platano and a Mensch on a Bench. The last night of compelling baseball played out on March 14, in Puerto Rica's 3-1 win over the defending champion Dominican Republic. Javier Baez is pictured here tagging out Nelson Cruz of the Dominican Republic team a split second after a great throw to second base by the Puerto Rico catcher Yadier Molina.

For the story, go to News Release

Yankees Manager Joe Girardi Draws Up Blueprint to Improve the WBC

Joe Girardi is known as a meticulous taskmaster as the Yankees' manager, one who can organize detailed spring training workouts or map out bullpen usage. Girardi has devised a plan to make the event a more compelling and competitive tournament, and less risky. His basic idea: Move the first two rounds of the W.B.C. event later by a week in March so that the players are stronger and more prepared to play competitively. The semifinals and the final game would be held during an extended weeklong All-Star Break in July. For those concerned about the length of the season, Girardi suggested either playing three fewer games in the years when the W.B.C. is held, a sacrilege to some, or starting the season three days sooner.

For the story, go to Minor League

Ned Garver, 20-Game Winner for 102-Loss St. Louis Browns, Dies at 91

Ned Garver, the only pitcher in American League history to win at least 20 games in a season for a ball club that lost at least 100 times, achieving the feat for the 1951 St. Louis Browns, died on February 26, in Bryan, Ohio. He was 92. Garver posted a 20-12 record in 1951 with a last-place team that finished at 52-102. He also batted .305 and hit a home run to break a tie game with the Chicago White Sox on the season's final day, when he recorded his 20th victory. He was runner-up for the American League's MVP Award, losing to Yogi Berra, whose pennant-winning Yankees finished 46 games in front of those Browns,

For the article, go to Feature Stories

White Sox Go Young, Rebuild After 4 Straight Losing Seasons

No more quick fixes for the White Sox. The overhaul is underway. The White Sox made two huge moves at the winter meetings, and they came to spring training with new young players. "We know we're closer to the beginning of the process," said general manager Rick Hahn. Following a 78-84 season, the White Sox now have a new manager in Rick Renteria. Pictured here, he got promoted from bench coach to replace Robin Ventura. The biggest change for the White Sox is their approach. While the young players figure to get plenty of attention, keep an eye on the dugout. Known for his positive approach, Renteria drew praise for his work with the Cubs' young core in 2014.

To read, go to News Release

MLB Owners, Players Ratify Labor Deal Through 2021

Baseball owners and players have ratified the sport's new five-year collective bargaining agreement, extending their labor peace to 26 years through 2021. Major League Baseball Commissioner said, "This agreement allows us to build on the positive momentum from last season and promote a generation of young players." After eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the sides have negotiated deals without a strike or lockout in 2002, 2006, 2011 and this year. Teams voted 29-1 to approve. The players union said its executive board unanimously ratified the Basic Agreement. Former All-Star first baseman Tony Clark as executive director led the union's negotiations for the first time.

For the article, go to Major Leagues

Stolen Bases an After Thought as Spring Training Starts

The stolen base has been stolen from baseball, an afterthought when spring training started in mid-year, the fewest for any team in more than four decades. The game has changed since Tim Raines swiped 70 or more each year from 1981-86, among the 808 he accumulated over 23 major league seasons. "Today's game is the long ball and strikeouts," said Raines after he was elected to the Hall of Fame. In 1982, Rickey Henderson stole his 19th base on April 28, the Oakland Athletics' 20th game of the season. Oakland set an American League record with 341 steals in 1976, six shy of the post-1900 big league mark established by the 1911 New York Giants.

For the story, go to Major League

All-Star Baseball Game No Longer Determines World Series Start

The league that wins MLB's All-Star Game no longer will get home-field advantage in the World Series, which will go to the pennant winner with the better regular-season record. The change was included in Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement and disclosed on December 1. The American League has won 11 of 14 All-Star Games played under the rule, and the American League representative won eight World Series in those years. "It will put back a little of the sizzle," said San Francisco Giants executive Larry Baer in 2003. The 2017 Major League All-Star Game, as pictured here, will be played in Miami, Florida.

For the article, go to Major League

Pitchers Are Using Bigger, More Traditional Wind-ups

A major change continues to occur in the game of baseball. A growing number of major league pitchers are using bigger and more traditional styles in winding up. They have switched from the no-wind-up delivery used by most pitchers the past couple of decades. Among the many hurlers using a traditional wind-up are Adam Wainwright, one of baseball's most dominant pitchers, pictured here with Tom Seaver; Max Scherzer, Matt Moore, John Lackey, and Francisco Liriano. Featured in BPA's sequence-series photo section are five former pitching greats: Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Jack Morris, Billy Pierce, and Sonny Siebert.

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Dave "Boo" Ferriss, Legendary Delta State Baseball Coach, Dies

The dean of Mississippi baseball is no longer with us. Dave "Boo" Ferriss died on November 24 at the age of 94, leaving behind an unimpeachable legacy as one of the game's great champions in the state before, during and after his legendary career as Delta State's baseball coach. Ferriss spent 46 years in college and professional baseball and won 639 games as the Statesmen's head coach. They went to the NCAA Division II World Series three times under Ferriss and made the playoffs in eight of his last 12 years and won four conference championships. His 639-387-8 record ranks him among the all-time national coaching leaders at the NCAA Division II level.

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Cody Bellinger Rises Above on Defense

Cody Bellinger is as promising defensively as first base prospects come. His prowess at first base goes beyond his career .991 fielding percentage at the position. He is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 13 prospect in baseball and No. 1 at first base. Bellinger defines the role of a good defensive first baseman pretty simply: The guy who makes everyone else's job easier. Double-A Tulsa manager Ryan Garko said, "Cody's got great hands and a strong, accurate arm. He has a good feel around the bag." There's no limit for how good he could be. Cody is going to be as good defensively as anyone at first base." Bellinger was a 21-year-old, 6-foot-4, 210 pound outfielder until his junior year in high school when a growth spurt spurred the move to first base.

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Dave Elmore Named 2016 King of Baseball

David G. Elmore, owner and founder of Elmore Sports Group, has been named the 2016 King of Baseball, a long-standing tradition in which Minor League Baseball recognizes a veteran of professional baseball for longtime dedication and service. Elmore has served on the Joint Professional Baseball Agreement Committee which consists of four MiLB team owners and four Major League Baseball owners. Together, they work to identify and address issues between both leagues while discussing possible amendments to the Professional Baseball Agreement. Pat O'Conner, President and CEO of MiLB, said, "Dave Elmore has had a long and illustrious career as a Minor League owner and operator."

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Minors, Umpires Union Reach Collective Bargaining Agreement

Minor League Baseball Umpire Development, one of the subsidiaries of Minor League Baseball, has reached a five-year collective bargaining agreement with the Association of Minor League Umpires (AMLU). Tim Brunswick, MiLB vice president, said, "We are glad that the two sides were able to work together on an agreement that will ensure labor peace through the 2021 season. This agreement allows us to continue to manage the costs involved with hiring, training, developing and evaluating the professional umpires that preside over games played between our 160 teams in the United States and Canada." Pictured here, Eastern League umpire Takahito Matsuda calls a strike at Canal Park in Akron, Ohio.

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Carson Kelly Wraps Up 2016 Texas League All-Star Year

Carson Kelly, the 11th ranked prospect of the St. Louis Cardinals, got his first crack at Double-A baseball at the start of the 2016 season. As a result of his outstanding play, he was named a Texas Baseball League All-Star. Soon after, he took part in the All-Star Futures Game at San Diego's Petco Park. Four days after that, he made a debut with Triple-A Memphis. In September, Kelly was promoted to the St. Louis Cardinals. Kelly hit .289 with a on-base percentage in 96 Minor League baseball games. The 10 games he played in the major leagues provided him with the experience he is building in the Arizona Fall League.

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Phils' Dylan Cozens Receives Joe Bauman Home Run Award

The 2016 Minor League Baseball season had one last thing for Dylan Cozens, the Phillies' No. 6 prospect. He was given the Joe Bauman Home Run Award at the MiLB awards luncheon at the Winter Meetings. The left-handed slugger hit 40 homers for Double-A Reading during the season, earning an $8,000 check, $200 for each long ball, as his reward. "It felt great, said Cozens, "to reflect on the season I had, and as a team. I am honored to get this award." He was also named a Phillies Organization All-Star. Cozens is pictured here participating in the 2016 Eastern League Home Run Derby in Akron, Ohio.

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Max Schumacher Inducted into International League Hall of Fame

Max Schumacher will be enshrined in the International League Hall of Fame. An Indianapolis native, Schumacher has been with the Tribe since 1957, serving as president from 1969 until the end of last season. He joined the Indians organization as a ticket manager after playing baseball at Butler University. In 1961, Schumacher was promoted to general manager. In 1969, he was named president and helped the Indians become one of the predominant faces of minor league baseball. The Indians have been recognized twice as Triple-A Bob Freitas Award winners. A ceremony honoring Schumacher will be held later in the 2017 season.

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U.S. Rout Puerto Rico to Capture 2017 WBC World Baseball Classic

The United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries on March 22, behind six hitless innings from Marcus Stroman, the Tournament Most Valuable Player. He is pictured here throwing during the first inning of the final game. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays gave up one hit in six-plus innings. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. For a sport known as America's pastime, the United States has struggled since the WBC began in 2006. This time was different. After the final out, the Americans massed on the mound, hugging and high-fiving while fireworks exploded in center field.

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Jim Leyland's Managing Career Is Over After Leading USA to WBC Title

Jim Leyland donned a uniform for the first time in more than three years and after just two weeks, he vowed again that his managing days were done minutes after he led Team USA to an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. "I'm going to stay retired," Leyland told reporters after Team USA won its first WBC title at Dodger Stadium late Wednesday night, March 22. "That I can promise you." Leyland, 72, retired as a manager in 2013 after his eighth season with the Detroit Tigers and 22nd season overall as a MLB manager. He has served as a special assistant to Tigers general manager Al Avila since.

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Shohei Otani Named Pacific League Most Valuable Player in Japan

Shohei Otani was honored for both his batting and pitching when he was named Most Valuable Player of Japan's Pacific League during the 2016 season. Otani helped the Nippon Ham Fighters win the Pacific League pennant and the Japan Series last season. The 22-year-old right-hander went 10-4 as a pitcher and batted .322 with a career-high 22 home runs. He renewed his own Japan record for the fastest pitch on three occasions last year, most recently clocking 165 kph during the playoffs. Otani is a 6 foot 4 inch, 203 pound right-handed starting pitcher with an overhand delivery. He has also shown potential as a hitter.

In another article, Former MLB GM Randy Smith Joins Nippon-Ham Fighters.

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The Right Role for Performance-Enhancing Drugs

The Balco scandal, which exploded in 2003, was a landmark event in the history of sport because it revealed for the first time how pervasive the use of PEDs was among elite athletes, including Major League Baseball players Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. Don H. Catlin, MD, founded the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, the first anti-doping lab in the United States. it is now the world's largest testing facility for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Dr. Catlin served as the laboratory director for 25 years. Another story is The Effects of Performance-Enhancing Drugs on an Athlete

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Coastal Carolina Gary Gilmore Named National Coach of the Year

After leading Coastal Carolina to its first-ever trip to the 2016 College World Series, Chanticleer head baseball coach Gary Gilmore has been named to National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Coach of the Year. The Chants have won 841 games during Gilmore's tenure and arrived in Omaha winners of 15 of their last 16 games, including a 5-1 mark in NCAA Tournament play. NCBWA Executive Director Bo Carter said, "Congratulations to Coach Gilmore on his first NCBWA National Coach of the Year award and getting his Chanticleers to Omaha," said NCBWA Executive Director Bo Carter.

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Andrew Beckwith, Coastal Carolina, Wins Gregg Olson Award

Coastal Carolina's Andrew Beckwith has been named the winner of the 2016 Gregg Olson Award for Breakout Player of the Year. The crowning of Beckwith as the winner was somewhat unexpected as the hurler had not been named on either the semifinalist or finalist lists. However, the incredible post-season performances has left little question that the Chanticleer pitching ace was deserving of the award. Beckwith saved his best and most impressive performances for the end of the season on the nation's biggest stage with a pair of phenomenal pitching performances in Omaha at the College World Series.

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College Graduates in Baseball a Rare Breed

College commencement ceremonies and Major League Baseball games are staples of American life in May. Only a small number of men can say they have participated in both. As of May 17, 2012, 917 players had appeared in at least one big-league game this season, according to STATS LLC. Of that group, only 39 --- or 4.3 percent --- were confirmed by their teams of MLB as having obtained four-year college degrees. Curtis Granderson's degree in business management and business marketing is about as impressive as the MVP-caliber numbers Granderson posted for the New York Yankees in 2011.

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Teurlings' Mike Thibodeaux Is National HS Baseball Coach of Year

Mike Thibodeaux, Teurlings Catholic baseball coach, will receive the ABCA/Diamond Division II high school baseball coach of the year award. He guided Teurlings to the Class 4A state championship and a top 25 national ranking. The Rebels finished No. 8 in MaxPreps.com and No. 9 in the USA Today Super 25. Teurlings finished the season with a record 35-4 mark and the school's sixth state title with a 3-2 victory over West Ouachita. Thibodeaux stated that, "It's not about trophies or the rings, but the opportunity to play the game of baseball and to play it at a high level."

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Kyle Muller Wins Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year

Kyle Muller of Jesuit College Prep high school in Dallas has won the 2015-16 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year Award. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound left-handed pitcher and outfielder led the Rangers to a 34-8-2 record and the Class 6A Region 2 title. An elite hitting prospect, Muller batted .396 with 15 home runs, 52 RBI, and swiping 20 bases in 21 attempts, through 44 games. He set a national high school record by striking out 33 consecutive hitters last March. Muller has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and quality off-speed pitches.

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Santa Barbara Defeats Hays 6-2 to Win NBC World Series Title

Santa Barbara tied the NBC record with its sixth World Series championship, defeating Hays 6-2 on Saturday, August 13, at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The Foresters equaled the number of titles won by Fairbanks, Alaska. Santa Barbara manager Bill Pintard said, "I remember them all, the teams of '08, '11, '12 and '14. This one was really, really sweet." Hays, which has never won an NBC World Series, finished second for the fifth time. Hays' Friday win over the Kansas Stars, a team of former major league players, lasted 17 innings. Santa Barbara followed that game with a 12-inning win over San Diego.

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Texarkana, Arkansas Post 58 Wins 2016 American Legion World Series Title

Texarkana, Arkansas, Post 58 won its first American Legion Baseball World Series title on August 16 in front of 8,500 spectators at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, North Carolina. The Razorbacks (42-5) rallied from a 4-0 deficit against Rowan County Post 342. Texarkana won the game with a four-run 12th inning, escaping a late comeback attempt to win 8-6 for the state's first ALWS title. Nick Myers hit a tie-breaking two-run single in the top of the 12th inning and teammate Parker Ribble followed with a two-run double to give Post 58 an 8-4 lead.

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