Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

Reflecting on a 16-game winning streak

Earl Weaver was the star of the Carolina League's best team of all time--the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals. He is remembered at BB&T Ballpark with this plaque.

Earl Weaver was the star of the Carolina League’s best team of all time–the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals. He is remembered at BB&T Ballpark with this plaque.

Tonight, the Dash begin a three-game series against the Salem Red Sox, the defending champions of the Carolina League. They are 4-0 to start the 2014 season after wrapping up last year’s regular season with victories in their last six contests.

The 10-game regular season winning streak is incredibly impressive, and if you include their playoff run to the 2013 Mills Cup Championship, the Red Sox have come out on top in 15 straight games.

The Carolina League record for consecutive regular season wins is 16, and it resides in the Triad! Today, we reflect on one of the great teams in Minor League Baseball history: the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals.

(NOTE: Because postseason wins are involved with this consecutive streak, we are not sure if, by the Carolina League record books, Salem’s streak is 10 games or 15 games. We have an e-mail into league president John Hopkins about this. However, our guess is that the postseason wins will not count because postseason stats are not added to a player’s overall line).

The Cardinals were the first Carolina League team to crack the century-mark for wins in a season, going 106-47 in 1950. They finished a whopping 19 games ahead of the second-place Danville Leafs. In the playoffs, the Cardinals defeated the Reidsville Luckies and Burlington Bees to complete their championship year.

While Winston-Salem’s offensive numbers weren’t eye-popping individually, they collectively led the league in runs-per-game. They also featured the best pitching in the Carolina League and tied for the league lead in fielding percentage.

During a two-week stretch in June, the Cardinals bulldozed the competition, breaking the consecutive wins record set by Burlington in 1948 (13 games). When it was all said-and-done, the 16-game winning streak became the new standard for Carolina League success.

Among players, Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell had the most successful Major League career of anyone on the Winston-Salem roster. He pitched for nine seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets, compiling a 90-88 record and 3.85 ERA.

The most famous man on that 1950 Cardinals team, however, never played a day in the Majors. Earl Weaver was Winston-Salem’s second baseman that season, hitting .276. He later rose to prominence as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, leading that squad for 17 years. During his time in Baltimore, Weaver won 1,480 games, four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series. One of the most colorful skippers in baseball history, Weaver was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1996.

Since that historic Winston-Salem winning streak was established, it has only been challenged a couple of times. The 1959 Raleigh Capitals rattled off 15 straight wins, and the 2006 Salem Avalanche won 14 in a row. But the 1950 Cardinals remain atop the mountain, and this year’s Dash squad will look to defend Winston-Salem’s honor and halt the latest challenge.

– Dave

Carolina Countdown – Salem Red Sox

After a few days off, we continue our season preview with the Salem Red Sox, the defending Carolina League champions.

INTRODUCTION: The Salem Red Sox have been a part of the Carolina League since 1968. Originally known as the Salem Rebels, the team has been affiliated with the Pirates, Padres, Rangers, Rockies and Astros before coming under Red Sox control in 2009. Salem has won five league championships.

The Red Sox surged down the stretch en route to the 2013 Mills Cup.

The Red Sox surged down the stretch en route to the 2013 Mills Cup.

LAST SEASON: The Red Sox enter 2014 as the defending CL champions. They went undefeated in their postseason run to the Mills Cup, sweeping Myrtle Beach in the semifinals and taking all three games against Potomac in the finals. Salem finished the regular season in second place in the Southern Division with a 76-64 overall record.

Catcher Blake Swihart finished fifth in the Carolina League in batting average (.298) and tied for third in triples (7) in 103 games. Outfielder Keury De La Cruz ranked second in the league in RBI (89), third in doubles (36) and tied for third in extra-base hits (51). Among pitchers, Mike Augliera went 9-6 with a 4.23 ERA while leading the staff in innings (140.1), and lefty Henry Owens finished fourth in the league in strikeouts (123).

MANAGER: Carlos Febles will run things this season, replacing Billy McMillon, who moves up to Double-A Portland as their manager. Febles spent the last two seasons as manager at Low-A Greenville. The 37-year-old spent six years in the Major Leagues during his playing career, all with the Kansas City Royals. Joining Febles in 2014 will be pitching coach Kevin Walker, who returns for his fourth season in Salem, and U.L. Washington as the hitting coach. Washington coached with Febles in Greenville last year.

SYSTEM: The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, using a mixture of veterans acquired through free agency and homegrown talent that is maturing at the Major League level. Even with that success, there are still some intriguing prospects worth watching for the future. In fact, the Sox have one of the top systems in baseball, especially at the upper levels.

One name to keep in mind is Trey Ball, a left-handed pitcher who was the first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2013 (#7 overall). The 19-year-old received his first taste of pro ball in the Gulf Coast League, making five starts while posting a 6.43 ERA. Given his lofty draft status, Ball may see a steady advancement through the Red Sox system.

Another player to watch for the future is Manuel Margot, a 19-year-old outfielder who spent last season with Lowell. Margot hit .270 with one home run, 21 RBIs and 18 stolen bases with the Spinners. He will likely start 2014 with Low-A Greenville.

BEST PROMOTION: On Saturday, April 12, Salem will host “Boston Red Sox Championship Night” for their game against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The 2013 World Series trophy will be in attendance at LewisGale Field, where fans will receive the opportunity to have pictures taken with it.

FUN FACT: Salem, Virginia is an important city on the college athletics landscape. It is home to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, which is the NCAA Division III annual national championship game in football. Salem also hosts the Division III national championship in men’s basketball every year.

RED SOX IN WINSTON-SALEM: The Salem Red Sox will first appear at BB&T Ballpark for a four-game series on April 18-21. The defending champions will also be in Winston-Salem on June 19-21, as well as August 19-21.

Tomorrow, our preview concludes with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Talk to you then.

– Dave

Former Warthog, MLB All-Star Lee retires

(Photo via Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images).

(Photo via Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images).

One of the most successful players in Winston-Salem baseball history, outfielder Carlos Lee announced his retirement on Thursday, which happened to be his 37th birthday.

A three-time All-Star in the big leagues, Lee starred on the 1997 Winston-Salem Warthogs, who finished the regular season at 66-74. He hit .317 with 17 homers and 82 RBIs over 139 games.

Lee debuted with the White Sox in 1999 and finished seventh in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. After six seasons with the White Sox, the Panama native joined the Brewers in advance of the 2005 season, which happened to be Chicago’s World Series season.

After a year and a half in Milwaukee, “El Caballo” played with the Rangers down the stretch in 2006 before spending the next six years with Houston. He was traded midway through his final campaign in the big leagues (2012) to Miami.

Lee just missed out on the White Sox title season, and he joined the Astros right after their tremendous run in the middle of last decade. As a result, he only played in the playoffs once (2000).

Congratulations to Lee on a tremendous career, during which he competed in the Midsummer Classic three times (2005-07). He was a career .285 hitter with 358 home runs in 2,099 games.

– Brian

Weaver’s Ties To Winston-Salem

Earl Weaver while with the Winston-Salem Cardinals in 1950 (Bob Lemke).

Earl Weaver while with the Winston-Salem Cardinals in 1950 (Bob Lemke).

It is a somber Saturday morning in the baseball world. Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver has passed away at the age of 82. According to the New York Daily News, Weaver died of an apparent heart attack early this morning on an Orioles fantasy cruise.

Weaver’s claim to fame is his tremendous success as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Weaver was 1480-1060 (.583) in 17 seasons, and he led the O’s to four American League pennants. The Hall of Famer led Baltimore to the 1970 World Series title.

A man who Tim Kurkjian called “one of the three greatest managers of all time” on ESPN’s SportsCenter this morning, Weaver contributed to the greatest season in Winston-Salem history.

In 1950, the Winston-Salem Cardinals posted a Carolina League-record 106-47 (.693) mark and won the league’s title. Weaver was the club’s second baseman and hit .276 during the season.

Weaver never reached the big leagues as a player, so he began his managerial career in the minor leagues in 1956. The St. Louis native reached Baltimore as the skipper in the middle of the 1968 season, and he led the O’s to the Fall Classic in each of his first three full seasons.

We send our condolences to the Weaver family. Earl has a special place in baseball history and in Winston-Salem history.

– Brian

World Series With The Dash

The Dash hosted a World Series Game 1 party for season ticket holders Wednesday night in the Womble Carlyle Club. Thanks to everyone who joined us for a great event. If you are interested in taking advantage of these types of opportunities by securing season tickets, call the Dash at (336) 714-2287 today!

Here are a few pictures from the fun Wednesday night (thanks to Kayla Sherrill for the photographic mastery):

Have a great weekend!

– Brian

Sandoval’s Big Day In MiLB Terms

(Photo by David J. Phillip/AP via New York Daily News)

Pablo Sandoval became the fourth player to hit three home runs in a World Series game last night. Only 12 big leaguers accomplished this feat during the 2012 regular season.

How about minor league baseball? There were 20, and here are some interesting stats on it.

  • Three full-season leagues (Southern League, Carolina League and Midwest League) did not have a three-homer game this season.
  • Only one player hit three long balls in a game for a short-season team. Robert Maddox III (a proud Ohio University alum like me) slugged three home runs on the Fourth of July for the Billings Mustangs against Helena.
  • Sandoval singled in his other” at-bat last night, while the minor leagues’ crop of three-homer kids posted just a .172 average (5-for-29) in their other at-bats during these special games.
  • The hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and California League each boasted six instances of three homers to pace all circuits.
  • High Desert’s Steve Proscia was the only player in the minors to boast two games of three home runs (April 19 and July 14).
  • A pair of White Sox farmhands accomplished the feat: Ross Wilson, who finished the season in Winston-Salem, hit three homers for Low-A Kannapolis April 27, and Triple-A Charlotte’s Conor Jackson followed suit with three bombs June 21.
  • Below is a chronological list of the 20 occurrences in the minors this season.

April 18 – Stockton’s A.J. Kirby-Jones v. Lake Elsinore
April 19 – High Desert’s Steven Proscia v. Island Empire
April 22 – Sacramento’s Chris Carter v. Reno
April 24 – Toledo’s Brad Eldred v. Columbus
April 27 – Kannapolis’ Ross Wilson v. Augusta
May 11 – Lancaster’s George Springer v. Lake Elsinore
May 12 – Erie’s Tony Plagman v. Altoona
May 19 – Buffalo’s Vinny Rottino v. Indianapolis
June 1 – Las Vegas’ Moises Sierra v. Tucson
June 3 – Oklahoma City’s Mike Hessman v. Iowa
June 10 – Jupiter’s Marcell Ozuna v. Bradenton
June 21 – Charlotte’s Conor Jackson v. Columbus
June 22 – Frisco’s Chris McGuiness v. Corpus Christi
June 25 – Stockton’s Josh Whitaker v. San Jose
June 29 – Salt Lake City’s Cory Aldridge v. Las Vegas
July 1 – Rancho Cucamonga’s Joc Pederson v. High Desert
July 4 – Billings’ Robert Maddox III v. Helena
July 14 – High Desert’s Steven Proscia v. Stockton
August 16 – Midland’s Conner Crumbliss v. Northwest Arkansas
August 18 – Las Vegas’ Ricardo Nanita v. Sacramento

It is an exclusive club in the World Series and in the minor leagues. Congrats to Pablo Sandoval and to this group of minor league players!

– Brian

Playoff Predictions Sure To Be Wrong

Welcome to October baseball. Sure, the regular season spilled over to the month’s first few days, but the next four weeks of action is truly October baseball.

Many in the Dash’s front office are excited about the postseason, too. Here are 10 playoff predictions from those of us brave enough to publicly make them.

First, some trends:

  • Detroit (tied for the worst record among playoff participants) and Atlanta (could be eliminated as early as tonight) both received three votes for the World Series title.
  • Baltimore, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis and Texas will not win it all according to all 10 voters, while Baltimore, St. Louis and Texas did not even reach anyone’s Fall Classic prediction.
  • Only one person (me) predicted the Rangers, who have won 18 playoff games over the last two years, to reach the ALCS.
  • Six people picked Detroit to reach the World Series, while five pegged Atlanta as the pennant winners on the Senior Circuit. Detroit v. Atlanta represents the most popular World Series prediction.

Here are all of the individual predictions. Give us your picks in the comments!

The majority of our voters think Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers will reach the World Series (Orlin Wagner/AP).

Sarah Baumann (Group Sales Representative):

Wild Card: Baltimore and Atlanta
ALDS: New York and Oakland
NLDS: Atlanta and Cincinnati
LCS: New York and Atlanta
World Series: New York

Brian Boesch (Guy Who Writes This Blog):

Wild Card: Texas and St. Louis
ALDS: Texas and Detroit
NLDS: Washington and San Francisco
LCS: Detroit and San Francisco
World Series: Detroit

Nikki Caldwell (Associate Director of Events & Marketing):

Wild Card: Baltimore and Atlanta
ALDS: New York and Detroit
NLDS: Atlanta and Cincinnati
LCS: Detroit and Atlanta
World Series: Atlanta

Brandon Cathey (Director of Marketing and Communications):

Wild Card: Texas and St. Louis
ALDS: New York and Detroit
NLDS: Washington and San Francisco
LCS: Detroit and San Francisco
World Series: Detroit

C.J. Johnson (Vice President, Ticket Sales):

Wild Card: Baltimore and Atlanta
ALDS: New York and Oakland
NLDS: Washington and San Francisco
LCS: New York and Washington
World Series: Washington

Chipper Jones is aiming for one more run in the playoffs with the Braves (AP).

Trey Kalny (Director of Game Entertainment):

Wild Card: Baltimore and Atlanta
ALDS: New York and Oakland
NLDS: Washington and Cincinnati
LCS: Oakland and Cincinnati
World Series: Cincinnati

Caleb Pardick (Associate Director of Creative Services):

Wild Card: Baltimore and Atlanta
ALDS: New York and Detroit
NLDS: Atlanta and Cincinnati
LCS: Detroit and Atlanta
World Series: Detroit

Russell Parmele (Group Ticket Sales Manager):

Wild Card: Baltimore and Atlanta
ALDS: New York and Oakland
NLDS: Atlanta and San Francisco
LCS: Oakland and Atlanta
World Series: Atlanta

Kayla Sherrill (Sales Coordinator):

Wild Card: Texas and Atlanta
ALDS: New York and Detroit
NLDS: Washington and Cincinnati
LCS: Detroit and Cincinnati
World Series: Cincinnati

Brandon Stump (Business Development Representative):

Wild Card: Baltimore and Atlanta
ALDS: New York and Detroit
NLDS: Atlanta and Cincinnati
LCS: Detroit and Atlanta
World Series: Atlanta

No matter what happens, playoff baseball is here! What a great time of the year.

– Brian

The Day I Fell For Baseball

Note: The post below doesn’t involve the Dash. It does, however, have everything to do with baseball.

Baseball is a romantic sport, packed with highs and lows that permeate the most grueling season in all of modern day sport. Big league players suit up 162 times a year, while minor leaguers play 140 games with only a handful of day-long breaks.

When one plays or attends a baseball game, odds are that nothing magical will happen. After all, the season stretches for five or six months. Sometimes, though, our national pastime gives us a reason to come back again and again and again.

For me, that moment came 11 years ago today, and I’ve never forgotten it.

I was always a fan. I went to a no-hitter at the age of one (don’t remember that one), a World Series game at the age of five and an All-Star Game at the age of seven while growing up in Cleveland during the glory days of Indians baseball.

Photo courtesy of Amy Sancetta/AP.

If you are reading this, you have probably been a fan for a long time, too. But for many baseball fans, there is that ONE moment when everything came together. For White Sox fans, that moment is most likely Game 4 of the 2005 World Series. You probably remember the date (October 26, 2005), the score (1-0) and the game-winning hit (Jermaine Dye’s eighth-inning single).

My moment was August 5, 2001. I had tickets to the Indians-Mariners game, which was on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. After a family emergency that day, it didn’t look like I would get to go, which, at that point, was completely understandable.

About 30 minutes before first pitch, my dad changed his mind. We went to the game hoping for a pick-us-up.

By the time we got there, the Mariners were well on their way to taking a 12-0 lead in the third. And this was the Mariners team that finished 116-46 and went to the ALCS. At that point in the season, they boasted a record of 80-30. They were really, really good.

Going into the bottom of the seventh, it was 14-2. As the probability chart shows near the middle of this page, things weren’t looking good for Chief Wahoo’s crew. We stuck around as the Sunday night, sold-out crowd dwindled and the likes of Eddie Taubensee, Wil Cordero and Russell Branyan replaced some of the Indians’ starters.

The Tribe plated three in the seventh to make it 14-5. In the eighth, the Indians scored four runs and had only one out. All the momentum went away, though, when a potential run was cut down at the plate, and Seattle took a 14-9 lead into the ninth.

During the top of the ninth, my dad pointed at the scoreboard. He said, in what had to be a showing of sarcasm, that the Indians wanted three in the seventh and four in the eighth in order to score five in the ninth.

After an emotional day at home and an ugly night of baseball, my dad said, “I have a feeling.”

Whether or not he truly believed it, I don’t know and I don’t care. He was incredibly correct.

With two out and a runner at first, four straight runners reached. Bases loaded. Two outs. 14-11 Seattle. Omar Vizquel (my favorite player growing up) was at the plate. On a 3-2 pitch, Vizquel laced a bases-clearing, game-tying triple down the right field line that still gives me goosebumps when I think about it.

Kenny Lofton scored the game-winning run 11 years ago today.

Two innings later, in-game addition Jolbert Cabrera drove home the game-winning run for the Indians. Less than 10,000 people were still at Jacobs Field shortly after midnight when Kenny Lofton scored the historic run. To this day, I’ve never heard a crowd like that one. I’ve never attended a game like that one.

Every year, I relive the play-by-play calls of that magical night, which takes me back to a time, albeit a short one, when baseball was perfect.

Baseball is a game that must be approached with realism, humility and grit. Every team experiences peaks and valleys. Patience is key, and one streak (positive or negative) does not define a season.

But everyone who has watched this game enough has at least one of these experiences. Baseball keeps bringing us back because we all want to experience something better. Is that likely? Not exactly.

Neither was Chicago’s near-perfect run through the 2005 playoffs. Neither was a win for the Indians on that incredible night 11 years ago, either.

No matter what happens to our favorite teams, we’ll always have that one moment. And 11 years later, mine is still perfect.

– Brian

The Cubs Win The World Series?

In video games, the Cubs have won many championships (Darren Rovell).

I’m by no means a video game guru but I enjoy playing the sports titles each year. It was a sad day when both EA and 2K decided to stop making a college basketball game (but more on that for another day). It’s that time of year for the annual MLB games to roll out.

A past era of sports video games was defined by dueling titles for sports, but the gradual shift has been for sports to align with a brand. EA has an exclusive agreement with the NFL and essentially cornered the hockey market, while 2K Sports has a virtual monopoly on the NBA. Baseball is unique in the fact that it will still have two competing brands this season.

MLB 12: The Show was released yesterday. It’s only available for the PlayStation consoles but Sony has done a fantastic job hyping the game with a hilarious commercial. The Cubs one immediately catches you because of their World Series drought.

But the best part is the tagline: “So real, it’s unreal.” Whether that is a backhanded remark about the Cubs or not, it is funny that the core of the commercial centers on the fact that the thought of the Cubs winning the World Series is improbable.

MLB 2K12 also was released yesterday, and undoubtedly the vast majority of baseball fans consumed numerous hours trying to pitch a perfect game. This is the third year 2K has done the promotion, which seems to be a surefire way to get the disposable income out of wallets. Credit 2K as well for this enticing commercial.

This is by no means a review of either game (as I don’t currently have the time to buy or play both) but it will be interesting to see which one is the game of choice in the Dash clubhouse and across baseball this season.

And by the way, I think this celebration is a little better.

– Mike