Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times makes the best lists. No, they may not get the kind of traffic that lists like “the 101 hottest wives and girlfriends of relief pitchers” get, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthy.
Today’s list: the ten worst career-ending performances of all time. Specifically, the worst final games of guys who were otherwise awesome. No, the list doesn’t purport to make some grand assessment — the fact that Yogi Berra struck out three times in a game in the mid-60s means nothing for him as a player — but it is worth noting that not every Hall of Famer ends his career Ted Williams-style. And it’s kind of fun to remember where some of these dudes ended up playing at the end, both geographically and existentially. Everyone likes to remember Bob Gibson on top of some tall mound in the 1960s. The image of him ending in the mid-70s while wearing double-knits isn’t one that readily computes.
Like with most of Chris’ work, the background and story is more interesting than the list entry itself. What can he do? Dude’s a historian, and that’s just how good historians roll.
With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.
Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).
This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki deposited a single to left-center field in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Mets, then added a double to center field in the eighth. Those mark hits No. 3,010 and 3,011 for Suzuki in his major league career, tying and then moving past Wade Boggs for sole possession of 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list.
Suzuki would come around to score on a double by Xavier Scruggs to break a scoreless tie in the eighth.
Here’s the video of Ichiro’s first hit.
By the end of the season, Suzuki will have presumably moved ahead of Rafael Palmeiro (26th; 3,020) and Lou Brock (25th; 3,023).
Suzuki was 2-for-4 after the double. With baseball’s fifth month nearly complete, the 42-year-old is currently batting .298/.371/.373.