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Baseball by the numbers with Bill Chuck

Bill Veeck (photographer Luther Joesph April 15 1959)

Bill Veeck (photographer Luther Joesph April 15 1959)

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Updated: December 11, 2013 6:26AM



This week’s names and numbers in baseball:

THE World Champion Red Sox and Chicago Nine

The Red Sox have won three titles in 10 seasons (2004, 2007, 2013). From 1906 to 1908, Chicago won three titles (1906 — White Sox; 1907 and 1908 —Cubs).

1. Leading off: During the regular season, Cardinals leadoff batters hit .300 (the best in baseball) and Red Sox leadoff batters .294 (second-best). White Sox leadoff batters hit .259 (21st) and Cubs leadoff batters .257 (22nd).

2. Dee-fense: Major-league teams averaged 92 errors this season. The Red Sox committed 80. The Cubs made 100 and the White Sox 121.

3. Work the count: The Red Sox saw 25,665 pitches this season. The Cubs saw 23,443 and the White Sox 22,848. The Red Sox saw 19 more games worth of pitches than the White Sox.

4. Doubles power: The Red Sox had eight players with 25 or more doubles. The Cubs had Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Nate Schierholtz. The White Sox had only Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez.

5. Control the bullpen: Walks kill, particularly from relievers. Red Sox relievers issued 173 walks. White Sox relievers walked 209 and Cubs relievers 210.

6. Team speed: Speed isn’t just measured by stealing bases. Baserunning aggressiveness is a critical attribute of
winning teams. Cardinals runners scored from second base on a single 153 times (the best in baseball), and Red Sox runners scored 143 times (second-best). White Sox runners scored 109 times and Cubs runners 80 times. The Red Sox hit .278 with runners in scoring position. The White Sox hit .256 and the Cubs hit .221 (the worst in baseball).

7. Steal some bases: The Red Sox (123 steals) ended their season with Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino in double figures in stolen bases. The White Sox (105 steals) ended up with only Alejandro De Aza (20 steals) and Alexei Ramirez (26) in double figures after dealing Alex Rios. The Cubs (63 steals) ended up with none after dealing Alfonso Soriano.

8. Score some runs: The Red Sox scored 853 runs. The Cubs scored 602 and the White Sox 598. Only the Marlins (513) scored fewer.

9. (Good) Consistency: Losing streaks can’t be common occurrences. The Red Sox were the only team not to have a four-game losing streak and lost three in a row only five times, just twice after mid-May. The Cubs had one six-game losing streak, two five-game losing streaks and five four-game losing streaks. The White Sox had a 10-game losing streak, a nine-game losing streak, an eight-game losing streak, a six-game losing streak and two five-game losing streaks.

NINE thoughts for the offseason

1. ‘‘There are only two seasons — winter and baseball.’’ — Bill Veeck

2. ‘‘Statistics are to baseball what a flaky crust is to Mom’s apple pie.’’ — Harry Reasoner

3. ‘‘Baseball is more than a game. It’s like life played out on a field.’’ — Juliana Hatfield

4. ‘‘Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.’’ — George Will

5. ‘‘The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 1908. The last time they were in one was 1945. Hey, any team can have a bad century.’’— Tom Trebelhorn

6. ‘‘I see great things in baseball. It’s our game — the American game.’’ — Walt Whitman

7. ‘‘It isn’t me that people love. It’s baseball.’’ — Ernie Harwell

8. ‘‘People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.’’ —Rogers Hornsby

9. ‘‘Let’s play two.’’ — Ernie Banks

Chicago-gram

ENERGY BRANDS

‘‘In baseball, there’s always the next day.’’ The Cub who said this is now a manager.

(answer to the anagram is below)

Chicago-GRAM ANSWER

Ryne Sandberg



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