MLB Celebrates 100 Years of the Negro Leagues & Rube Foster

MLB Celebrates 100 Years of the Negro Leagues & Rube Foster

Yesterday, Major League Baseball celebrated the 100 anniversary of the first viable Negro League, the Negro National League.

Rube Foster’s first name was Andrew, named after his father, who was a preacher. He received his nickname after defeating Rube Waddell in a postseason exhibition game played sometime between 1902 and 1905. Foster’s career participating in barnstorming leagues saw him post records of 25-3, 20-6, and 13-2 and playing on a team that finished its season 123-6.

According to legend, John McGraw hired Foster to teach Christy Matthewson the screwball. He played for teams in Chicago, Philadelphia and the “Cuban” Giants. Foster formed a venture with Charlie Comiskey’s son-in-law, managing the Chicago Leland Giants.

Foster’s vision grew into reality as eight teams participated in the inaugural season of the NNL. The teams were: Foster’s Chicago American Giants, the Indianapolis ABCs, Chicago Giants, Kansas City (Missouri) Monarchs, Detroit Stars, St. Louis Giants, Dayton (Ohio) Marcos, and the Cuban Stars, who had no home city.

The early years saw financial problems due to the discrepancy in talent, inconsistency of umpires (the home team had the responsibility of hiring them), and availability of ballparks.

Rube Foster

Foster often faced accusations of favoritism towards his Giants team, which scheduled a disproportionate number of home games. That led to some accusing Foster of forming the league to help fund the Giants by reaping the rewards of consistent home games. His teams also regularly took the best players from other organizations. Other problems included teams choosing non-league barnstorming teams due to an increased payday. Owners in cities featuring major and minor league teams made access to those stadiums difficult.

By 1923, a rival league, the Eastern Colored League (ECL) formed, after pulling out of an agreement with the NNL. When the ECL began raiding his players’ roster, both leagues formed an alliance respecting players’ contracts and facing off in a championship series. In 1924, the first Nergo World Series saw the Kansas City Monarchs of the NNL defeat Hilldale (ECL) five games to four.

Rube Foster was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

The NNL finally fell apart in 1931 under the economic stress of the Great Depression. As for Rube Foster, psychological problems that saw him grow increasingly paranoid led to extreme delusions, including believing he would be receiving a call to pitch in the World Series. He was hospitalized later in 1926 and never recovered his sanity, dying in a mental institution in 1930.

Foster’s legacy grew through the years, and in 1981 he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the first representative of the Negro leagues elected as a pioneer or executive. Without his sacrifices and vision, Jackie Robinson might never have broken the color barrier. MLB owes a great deal of gratitude to Foster.

PLAYERS OF NOTE

Andy Cooper – the left-hander won 95 games for the Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs from 1920-31. Member of both MLB and Negro League Hall of Fame.

Pete Hill – The player-manager of the Detroit Stars drew comparisons to Ty Cobb. In 1952, the African-American weekly Pittsburgh Courier named him the fourth-best outfielder in Negro League history, behind Oscar Charleston, Monte Irvin, and Cristobal Torriente. Member of both MLB and Negro League Hall of Fame.

Oscar Charleston – Legend has Charleston with just under 3,000 hits in his Negro League career. Many consider him the greatest player in league history. Member of both MLB and Negro League Hall of Fame.

Other greats included Turkey Stearnes, Martin Dihigo, Pop Lloyd, Smokey Joe Williams, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson, and eventually Jackie Robinson.

Top Five NHL Notes, NHL Playoffs – August 17, 2020

Top Five NHL Notes, NHL Playoffs – August 17, 2020

The NHL playoffs continue to provide exciting moments as Sunday’s action saw three games go to overtime.

Here are the top five moments 

Islanders Strength is Even – Mathew Barzal’s first postseason OT goal helped the Islanders take a 3-0 series lead on Washington. Despite going 1-14 on the power play this series, New York’s outscored the Capitals 10-2 when playing even.

New York Islanders
2020 Postseason
Five On Five
Goals10
Goals Allowed2
Goal Differential*+8
Special Teams
PPG-PPO*1-14
PPGA-PPOA*3-9
Goal Differential-2

Pavelski leads Stars – Joe Pavelski posted his first career postseason hat trick, as the Stars defeated the Flames 5-4. Pavelski ranks fifth among active players with 55 career playoff goals. He is the first Stars player to record a postseason hat trick since 1989.

Stars Franchise History
Postseason Hat Tricks
Date
Joe PavelskiAugust 16, 20203
Bob BrookeApril 5, 19893
Dino CiccarelliMay 5, 19813
Steve PayneApril 8, 19813

Joe Pavelski recorded the fourth hat trick in Stars postseason history.

Blues Get Back In Series – After losing their first two games against Vancouver, the defending champions won Game 3 on Brayden Schenn’s first playoff OT goal. The Blues are trying to become the third defending champion to rally down two games to none to win in the Opening Round.

Defending Champion Down 2-0 in Opening round
Came Back to Win Series
TeamsOpponentSeries Result
2013KingsBlues4-2
2014BlackhawksBlues4-2

Flyers Return Shutout – After Carey Price blanked the Flyers in Game 2, 5-0, Carter Hart returned the favor in Game 3. Hart stopped 23 shots in the Flyers 1-0 victory to take a 2-1 series lead over the Canadiens. 

Youngest Goaltender To Post Shutout
Philadelphia Flyers History
Carter Hart22 years 3 days
Pete Peeters22 years, 246 days
Ron Hextall22 years, 343 days
Ron Hextall22 years, 348 days

Hawks Stay Alive – Corey Crawford made 48 saves (the most in a non-OT playoff game in his career) to help the Blackhawks stave off elimination against Vegas. 

Most Saves, Regulation Game
Corey Crawford Postseason Career
DateSavesGame Result
8/16/2020Golden Knights48W, 3-1
8/7/2020Oilers43W, 3-2
4/21/2011Canucks36W, 5-0
5/27/2013Blackhawks35W, 4-3

Top Five Notes, NHL Playoffs – August 15, 2020

Top Five Notes, NHL Playoffs – August 15, 2020

The NHL postseason continued last night, with more exciting finishes, including a shutout and OT win.

Top Five NHL Playoff Notes 

The Price is Right – The Canadiens evened their Opening Round series against the Flyers at one, shutting out Philadelphia 5-0. Carey Price moved ahead of George Hainsworth into third place in franchise postseason history posting his seventh shutout.

Montreal Canadiens
Most Shutouts, Playoff History
ShutoutsW-LStanley Cups
Ken Dryden1080-326
Jacques Plante1059-286
Carey Price729-330

Power is BACK – Montreal & Philadelphia entered their series each struggling on the power play, combining to go scoreless in their previous 51 power-play chances. Each snapped their streaks in Game 1, but Montreal continued to improve in Game 2, scoring twice with the man-advantage. 

Candiens, Flyers, Team Comparison
Previous 13 Games, This Series
MontrealPrevious 13 GamesThis Series
GAA2.911
PPG-PPO*0-30*3-7
Goal Differential*-3*+4
PhiladelphiaPrevious 13 GamesThis Series
GAA1.693
PPG-PPO*8-28>>*1-8
Goal Differential*+27*-4
>>Entered Series 0 for last 21

Hughes is Huge – Canucks rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes notched his seventh postseason assist on Bo Horvat’s GW goal in OT. Quinn tied Boston’s Ray Bourque in 1980 for most points in his first six postseasons games.

Most Points, Rookie Defenseman
First Six Postseason Games
Playoff YearG-APoints
Quinn Hughes, VAN2020*1-78
Ray Bourque, BOS1980*1-78
Gary Suter, CGY1986*2-57
Marc-Andre Gragnani, BUF2011*1-67

Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes tied Ray Bourque for most points by a rookie defenseman in his first six postseason games.

Avalanche of points – Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon’s goal in the Avs 3-2 Game 2 victory over Arizona, stretched his consecutive point streak to five. MacKinnon’s 35 points in his first 30 postseason games rank third in franchise history.

Most Points First 30 Postseason Games
Quebe Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche History
G-APoints
Peter Stastny14-2842
Joe Sakic24-1640
Nathan MacKinnon13-2235
Anton Stastny13-1831
Peter Forsberg14-1630

Nathan MacKinnon’s 35 points is the third most in franchise history through first 30 postseason games.

Anthony’s Song – Islanders LW Anthony Beauvillier assist on Nick Leddy’s goal in the Islanders 5-2 Game 2 victory over Washington, gives him a point in all six postseason games. His seven points rank tied for fourth in franchise postseason history through the first six games among players age 23-or younger.

Most Points, First Six Games of Posteason
Age 23 or younger, Franchise History
YearG-APoints
Pat LaFontaine1988*4-59
Pierre Turgeon1993*4-48
Bryan Trottier1980*4-48
Anthony Beauvillier2020*4-37
Mike Bossy1979*5-27

Top Five Notes, NHL Playoffs – August 14, 2020

Top Five Notes, NHL Playoffs – August 14, 2020

While MLB struggles to maintain consistent scheduling for all teams due to COVID, the NHL Playoffs (except Tampa Bay-Columbus causing the delay of Boston-Carolina due to 5 OT) continually provide results.

Friday’s schedule sees the remainder of Opening Round matchups complete Game 2 of their series. Here are the five interesting notes around the league.

Dillon Dube (CGY) – Flames rookie center has four goals in his first six postseason games. He’s also scored the first goal in three straight postseason games. (I’m waiting on hockey-reference to fix their site so I can provide more insight on this.) Dube scored just seven goals in his 45 regular-season games, and entered Game 1 against Dallas with one goal in his last 17 games overall.

Miro Heiskanen scored two goals in the Stars 5-4 Game 2 win against Calgary.

Miro Heiskanen (DAL) – Stars second-year defenseman scored two goals in Dallas’s 5-4 victory against Calgary last night, giving him seven points this postseason. He tied Quinn Hughes of Vancouver for most points by a defenseman (7). 

Andrei Svechnikov (CAR) – Hurricanes forward scored his fourth goal in five postseason games, tying Anthony Beauvillier (NYI) & Bo Horvat (VAN) for highest goals per game this postseason (players still playing).

Youth is served: Svechnikov represents the youth movement in the 2020 postseason, as five of the seven leading goal scorers are 24 or younger.

Goals Per Game Leaders
2020 Postseason
TeamAgeGoals ScoredGoals PG
Anthony BeauvillierNYI2340.8
Andrei SvechnikovCAR2040.8
Bo HorvatVAN2540.8
Dillon DubeCGY2240.66
Domink KubalikCHI2440.66
Jonathan ToewsCHI3240.66
Pierre-Luc DuboisCLB2440.57
>>teams still participating

Anthony Beauvillier leads the Islanders improved scoring this postseason.

New York Islanders – Entering Game 2 of their series against Washington, the Islanders lead the Eastern Conference averaging 3.4 goals per game. New York ranked 12th in the East during the regular season, with a goal per game average of 2.78.

New York Islanders, Eastern Conference Rankings
Postseason, Regular Season
PostseasonRegular Season
Goals PG3.4 (T-1)2.78 (12)
Goals PG All.1.8 (2)2.79 (5)
Goal Diff.*+9 (2)*-1 (10)
Pct of Players in Top 40 Scoring Leaders3 pct13 pct
MLB – Top Five Notes – August 13, 2020

MLB – Top Five Notes – August 13, 2020

Among the updates that I will post and comment on include “Notes of Interest” and “Top Five Notes.”

Here are the top five notes around MLB for August 13, 2020.

Charlie Blackmon is on fire (COL): through 18 games this season, the Rockies OF has 34 hits, the most in MLB history through 18 team games.

Mike Trout (LAA): Trout leads MLB with 7 HR and 1.309 OPS in August

Jeremy Jeffress (CHC): Since allowing a hit batter and walk in his first inning, Jeffress has retired all 18 batters in his six innings pitched.

Chicago Cubs 12-3 start is their best start since 1970 and tied for the second-best 15-game start in team history (started 13-2 in 1907)

Pittsburgh Pirates: 3-13 start matches the 1952 team for the worst start in team history.