Matthews: JD Martinez Making Bid For Triple Crown

J.D. MARTINEZ MAKING A STRONG BID TO WIN THE MLB TRIPLE CROWN

The last player to win Major League Baseball’s Triple Crown – lead the majors (both leagues) in batting average, home runs and runs-batted in was Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees in 1956 (.353, 52 HRs and 130 RBI).

Boston’s J.D. Martinez on Tuesday night passed slumping teammate Mookie Betts (7-for-37, .189, since August 18) for the MLB lead in batting average. He also leads MLB with 110 RBI and trails Oakland’s Khris Davis 39-38 for the MLB lead in home runs.

The only other players since 1900 to lead the majors in batting average, HRs and RBI in the same season – besides Mantle 62 years ago -- were Ty Cobb in 1909 (.377, 9 HRs, 107 RBI), Rogers Hornsby in 1925 (403, 39 HRs, 143 RBI), Lou Gehrig in 1934 (.363, 49 HRs, 165 RBI0 and Ted Williams in 1942 (.356, 36 HRs, 137 RBI). That’s pretty fast company.

KENNYS VARGAS IS THE LATEST RED WING ON THE POSTSEASON IL ALL-STAR

Kennys Vargas on Tuesday as announced as the designated hitter on the 2018 International League Postseason All-Star Team.

Since the official All-Star Team began in 1946, here’s a nostalgic trip by position:

1B (11 players) – Rocky Nelson 1948)...Steve Bilko 1949...Don Bollweg 1950...Mike Epstein 1966...Terry Crowley 1977...Tom Chism 1979...David Segui 1990...Calvin Pickering 2001...Justin Morneau 2004...Chris Colabello 2013...Reynaldo Rodriguez 2015

2B ( 6 players 7 total  times) – Lou Ortiz 1953 and 1954...Rob Andrews 1974...Rich Dauer 1976...Steve Scarsone 1992...Tommy Hinzo 1993...James Beresford 2015

SS (8 players) – Eddie Kasko 1956...Mark Belanger 1966...Bobby Grich 1971...Tim Nordbrook 1974...Bob Bailor 1975...Bobby Bonner 1980...Kelly Paris 1985...Clay Bellinger 1996

3B (10 players a total of 14 times) – Don Richmond 1950  and 1952...Billy Harrell 1960...Steve Demeter 1966 and 1967...Mike Ferraro 1969 and 1970...Tom Matchick 1972...Doug DeCinces 1973 and 1974...Cal Ripken Jr. 1981...Craig Worthington 1988...Leo Gomez 190...Jeff Manto 1994

OUTFIELDERS (27 players a total of 29 times) – Russ Derry 1949 and 1950...Harold Rice 1950...Harry Walker 1952...Tommy Burgess 1953...Bill Virdon 1954...Jackie Brandt 1955...Charlie James 1959...Boog Powell 1961...Pete Ward 1962...Curt Motton 1967...Merv Rettenmund 1968...Terry Crowley 1969...Don Baylor 1970 and 1971...Roger Freed 1970...Al Bumbry 1972...Jim Fuller 1973 ...Royle Stillman 1975...Larry Harlow 1977...John Shelby 1982...Steve Finley 1988...Butch Davis 1989...Luis Mercedes 1991...Sherman Obando 1994...Mark Smith 1995...Danny Clyburn 1997...Jason Kubel 2004...Zack Granite 2017

CATCHER (4 players ) – Johnny Bucha 1951...Jose Morales 2007...Mitch Garver 2017

DESIGNATED HITTER) (4 players – John Valle 1980...Chris Hoiles 1990...Willis Otanez 1998 (the most recent Red Wing to have 100 RBI in a season)...Kennys Vargas 2018

Utility player (no winner since the honor began in 1997)

STARTING PITCHER (2 players since award began in 1978) – Mike Mussina 1991...Kevin Slowey 2007

RELIEF PITCHER (2 players since award began in 1978) – Travis Bowyer 2005...Pat Neshek 2006.

 EX-RED WING DEAN STONE DIES AT AGE 88...HE WON 1954 MLB ALL-STAR GAME

Left-hander Dean Stone was nearing the end of his baseball career when he pitched for the Red Wings in 1960, the final year of the affiliation with the St. Louis Cardinals. He had a 9-7 record, with a 3.67 ERA in 56 games, including 11 starts. He worked 130 innings, allowing 111 hits and 60 walks, with 93 strikeouts.

I remember being impressed by watching Stone in a Red Wings uniform because I knew he was the winning pitcher in the 1954 Major League Baseball All-Star game.

In MLB All-Star Game history, former or future Red Wings have six wins (Paul Derringer 1938, Ken Raffensberger 1944, Dean Stone 1954, Larry Jackson 1963, Bartolo Colon 1998 and B. J. Ryan 2006); and seven losses (Bill Walker 1935, Jim Palmer 1977, Dennis Martinez 1991, Steve Ontiveros 1995, Curt Schilling 1999, Phil Hughes 2010 and Pat Neshek 2014).

Stone, who died August 21 at age 88 in East Moline. Ill., was particularly noteworthy because he remains the only pitcher to win a MLB All-Star Game without retiring a batter.

Stone was a big-league rookie with the Washington Senators in 1954. He had a 7-2 record at the All-Star Game and was a late addition to the American League roster as a replacement for late scratch George Kell.

He entered the game at Cleveland Stadium (attendance that afternoon was 69,751) with two outs in the top of the eighth inning to face Duke Snider with the National League leading 9-8 and with runners on first- and third base. With the count 1-and-1, Red Schoendienst of the St. Louis Cardinals tried to steal home wite and Stan Musial on deck.  Stone calmly tossed the ball to catcher Yogi Berra, who made the tag to end the threat and the inning. The NL argued in vain that Stone had balked.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the American League rallied for three runs on a pinch-hit HR by Larry Doby (he was batting for Stone) and a two-run single by Nellie Fox to take the lead at 11-9 and make Stone the winning pitcher without retiring a batter. Virgil Trucks earned the save with a scoreless top of the ninth inning

As a major-leaguer, Stone was 29-39 in 215 games for six teams in eight seasons. He had a 4.47 ERA. In 1962, he was first Houston Astros player to pitch a complete-game shutout.

CAN CHRIS DAVIS AVOID THE WORST SEASON EVER BY A HITTER?

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had a good game Tuesday night. He was 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs and only one strikeout to boost his batting average to .173.

He is threatening to avoid posting the lowest batting average in a season by a regular player post-1900.

The men to catch for this dubious dishonor are Rob Deer (1991 Detroit Tigers) and Dan Uggla (2013 Atlanta Beaves):

Deer -- .179 batting average (80-of-448), 14 doubles, 2 triples, 25 HRs, 64 RBI, 89 walks, 175 strikeouts.

Uggla -- .179 batting average (also 80-of-448, 10 doubles, 3 triples, 22 HRs, 55 RBI, 77 walks, 171 strikeouts.

PATRIOTS WIDE RECEIVING CORPS IS A MESS AGAIN

One reason Tom Brady is regarded as one of the two- or three best quarterbacks in NFL history is the way his New England Patriots consistently win with an ever-changing array of wide receivers.

This season likely would be no exception.

Veteran WR Eric Decker retired on Sunday. Earlier in camp, the Patriots released veterans Jordan Matthews, Malcolm Mitchell and Kenny Britt.

The Patriots traded Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams in the offseason.

Danny Amendola departed via free agency to Miami.

Who’s left? Former Buffalo Bills WR Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson and Julian Edelman (will miss the first four games of season under suspension by the NFL).

It will be Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and a WR or two versus the NFL world. I wouldn’t say advantage world.

T.J. GRAHAM RELEASE ADDS TO SAD ROLE CALL FOR BUFFALO BILLS 2012 DRAFT

The Canadian Football League Montreal Alouettes last week released wide receiver T.J. Graham. He becomes the sixth of the nine players selected by the Buffalo Bills in the 2012 NFL draft who no longer are playing pro football:

No. 69 overall pick Graham...No 124 pick CB Ron Brooks...No. 144 pick OT Zebrie Sanders...No. 147 pick LB Tank Carder...No. 178 pick Mark Asper...No. 251 pick PK John Potter.

The three other picks still are playing in the NFL, but none with Buffalo: No. 10 overall pick CB Stephon Gilmore with New England...No. 41 pick OT Cordy Glenn with Cincinnati...No. 105 LB Nigel Bradham with Philadelphia.

SHORT SHOTS

The New York Yankees hit three more home runs in Tuesday night’s 5-4 come-from-behind home win over the Chicago White Sox. The Yankees have 215 HRs in 132 games this season and are on pace for 263.9 HRS this season. The team record is 245 (2012) and the MLB record is 264 (1997 Seattle Mariners)...The Yankees have hit four-or-more HRs in a game 13 times this season, most in MLB.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez could rejoin the team this weekend after a stint on the disabled list. He reportedly has lost 10-to-15 pounds. That should improve his work behind the plate.

The Buffalo Bisons played their final home game of the season Monday night. It was the downtown stadium’s final game as Coca-Cola Field. The stadium will have a yet-to-be determined new name next season. Coca-Cola chose not to renew the naming rights. The stadium was called Pilot Field 1988 to 1995, NorthAmeriCare Park 1955 to 1998, Dunn Tire Park 1999 to 2008 and Coca-Cola Field 2008 to 20-18.

The Bills are 6-point underdogs in their final pre-season game Thursday night in Chicago. You can watch what figures to be a better football game live, 7 p.m., Thursday at St. John Fisher: Victor versus Pittsford to kick off the 2018 Section V season to benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times. The 2016 and 2017 Teddi T Bowls raised a total of $17,500. The admission/donation is $5.

Jemele Hill’s final day at ESPN after 12 years reportedly will be Friday. Could her next stop be CNN?

In the best-of-five WNBA semifinals Tuesday night, the Seattle Storm took a 2-0 lead over the Phoenix Mercury with an overtime 91-87 home win.  Seattle won Game 1 at home by the identical score. The Atlanta Dream beat the visiting Washington Mystics 78-75 to tie their series 1-1.

In Bovada’s early line for NHL 2019 Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player), you can get Buffalo’s Jack Eichel at 33-to-1. I think he has a good chance to eventually win a Hart Trophy – but not yet. The favorites are Connor David 10-to-3 (bet $3 to win $10), Sidner Crosby (13-to-2; bet $2 to win $13), and Auston Matthews, Alexander Ovechkin and John Tavares each 10-to-1.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Wednesday, August 29

Noah Syndergaard (26)...Dodgers INF Chris Taylor (28)...Antii Niemi (35)...David West (38)...mal Lewis (39)....Roy Oswalt (41)...Will Perdue (53)...Carl Banks (56)...Rodney McCray (57)...Jerry Bailey (61)...Marv Foley (65)...Doug DeCinces (68)...Bob Beamon (72).

Thursday, August 30

Joe Staley (34)...Andy Roddick (36)...Adam Wainwright (37)...Cliff Lee (40)...Shaun Alexander (41)...Marlon Byrd (41)...Ricky Sanders (56)....Robert Parish (65)....Jean-Claude Killy (75)...Lowell McDonald (77). Cameron Diaz (46) and Warren Buffett (88) are invited to the birthday party.

ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...

August 29

68 years ago (1950), the International Olympic Committee voted to admit West Germany and Japan in 1952...49 years ago (1969), Joe Pepitone quit the Yankees after being fined $500 for leaving the bench...14 years ago (2004), the 28th Olympic Games closed in Athens, Greece...9 years ago (2009), Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal in his debut for Real Madrid in a 3-2 win over Deportivola La Coruna...6 years ago (2012), the USADA claimed to have stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles.

August 30

113 years ago (1905), Ty Cobb made his MLB debut with the Detroit Tigers...96 years ago (1922)m Babe Ruth was ejected for the fifth time in the season...81 years ago (1937), Joe Louis beat Tommy Farr in 15 for the heavyweight boxing title...53 years ago (1965), Casey Stengel announced his retirement after 55 years in baseball...46 years ago (1972), Ludmilla Tourischeva beat Soviet teammate Olga Korbut for gold in the women’s gymnastics qll-around...28 years ago (1990), Ken Griffey Sr., and Ken Griffey, Jr., of the Seattle Mariners both singled in the first inning in the first game of the modern era to have a father-son play for the same team in the same game...21 years ago (1997), the Houston Comets beat the New York Liberty for the first WNBA championship.

Bob Matthews' Column

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