Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou

Uptons to follow in footsteps of Alous, Conigliaros, Waners

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With B.J. and Justin Upton getting together in Atlanta, I thought it’d be fun to look at the other MLB outfields to pair siblings. The Uptons are the fourth set of brothers charged with patrolling the same outfield. Here’s how the first three fared:

Felipe, Jesus and Matty Alou

1961-63 Giants
Felipe: .296/.336/.486, 63 HR, 232 RBI in 1,541 AB – 125 OPS+
Matty: .276/.325/.380, 9 HR, 40 RBI in 471 AB – 92 OPS+

1964-65 Giants
Matty: .246/.286/.303, 3 HR, 32 RBI in 574 AB – 65 OPS+
Jesus: .288.312/.369, 12 HR, 80 RBI in 919 AB – 90 OPS+

1973 Yankees
Felipe: .236/.256/.321, 4 HR, 27 RBI in 280 AB – 65 OPS+
Matty: .296/.338/.356, 2 HR, 28 RBI in 497 AB – 100 OPS+

Felipe, Matty and Jesus were all briefly part of the 1963 Giants, but I didn’t count that, since Jesus got just 24 at-bats in 16 games as a rookie that season.

Felipe was obviously the best of the brothers, but his two best seasons came in Atlanta in 1966 (.327/.361/.533, league-leading 218 hits, 122 runs) and 1968 (.317/.365/.438, league-leading 210 hits).

Before their late-career reunion with the Yankees, Felipe and Matty just missed each other and Jesus in Oakland. Felipe played for the A’s in 1970 and briefly in 1971, Matty played their in 1972 and Jesus was there in 1973 and ’74.

Billy and Tony Conigliaro

1969-70 Red Sox
Billy: .274/.343/.479, 22 HR, 65 RBI in 478 AB – 119 OPS+
Tony: .261/.323/.464, 56 HR, 198 RBI in 1,066 AB – 111 OPS+

Everyone knows what happened with Tony; his time with his brother came after he missed the 1968 season following a beaning. A Hall of Fame-type talent, he was already dealing with the deteriorating eyesight that forced him out of baseball.

What I didn’t realize is that Billy looks like quite a talent himself. That 119 OPS+ came in his age 21 and 22 seasons. However, he wasn’t happy with the Red Sox after they traded Tony following the 1970 season, and it seems to show up in his performance. He hit .262/.310/.436 in 1971 and then got traded himself. Struggling with the Brewers, he retired in the middle of the 1972 season while still just 24 years old. He did try a comeback the next year, getting into 48 games with the A’s, but that was it for his career.

Lloyd and Paul Waner

1927-40 Pirates
Lloyd: .319/.356/.400, 27 HR, 573 RBI in 7,219 AB – 100 OPS+
Paul: .341/.406/.487, 101 HR, 1,098 RBI in 7,893 AB – 136 OPS+

The Waners were also very briefly teammates on the 1941 Boston Braves and again on the 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers, but both were well past their primes by then.

Both Waners made it into the Hall of Fame, Paul in 1952 and Lloyd in 1967. Paul was obviously deserving. He won three batting crowns and finished in the top 10 in the NL in average nine times, in OBP 13 times and in slugging seven times. Lloyd, while a solid enough regular, was a rider of coattails. He finished in the top 10 in the NL in average six times, but just once higher than eighth (third in 1927). He was in the top 10 in OBP once (ninth in 1927) and never in slugging. He finished his career with a 99 OPS+, compared to 134 for Paul.

Mets owners get some breathing room on their Bernie Madoff settlement payments

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon stands on the field before baseball's Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Associated Press
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For years the central fact of life of the New York Mets has been that their owners, the Wilpon family and Saul Katz, lost a ton of money after investing it with friend and business partner Bernard Madoff, perpetrator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It has hampered their payroll and led to huge amounts of borrowing and restructuring that, before last year’s pennant run, seemed like it’d be a millstone on the Mets competitive prospects for years to come.

In addition to losing money, it was later determined that Katz and the Wilpons unfairly gained in some other respects and thus they ended up having their phony earnings clawed back via a settlement with the trustee managing the fallout of the Madoff scandal.  The upshot: the Wilpons and Katz, in addition to their losses, were ordered to pay nearly $60 million dollars back, half payable this week, half payable next year. That’s a lot of money for anyone to fork over and this week’s payment loomed large.

Now, however, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Wilpons and Katz will get some breathing room. Specifically, they have modified their agreement with the trustee and some of the owed money has been deferred. Instead of some $29 million payable this week, they will only have to pay $16 million. The remainder will be paid in four installments — from 2017 through 2020 — with an interest rate of 3.5 percent on the unpaid balance, Rubin says.

Now, there obviously was no promise that the $13 million saved this week be invested in the baseball team, but it’s probably a good thing overall for the Mets if their owners’ debt payments are reduced a bit.

Mike Napoli hit a homer for a fan with cancer

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 30: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Last night a fan named Kathi Heintzelman showed up at Progressive Field in Cleveland with a sign asking Indians first baseman Mike Napoli to hit a home run for her and to give her a hug. But there was a reason beyond her love for Mike Napoli. She’s starting chemotherapy today and the hug and homer would be a nice thing.  Hard to disagree with that, even if everyone knows that ballplayers can’t hit homers on demand.

Well, most players can’t. Mike Napoli did the easy part before the game, giving her a hug. Then in the sixth inning, he went yard:

 

Whether you believe that such things can be fated or if you merely acknowledge that Heintzelman asked Napoli for a homer at a good time — he’s on a hot streak right now and has hit bombs in four of his last 11 games — it’s a great story.

 

The Twins recall Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton
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Byron Buxton has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester by the Twins.

Buxton will replace Danny Santana, who was placed on the disabled list following a hamstring injury. But the bigger picture here is that Buxton will get a fresh go-around to show that he is the future of the Twins like so many assume he will be. The 22-year-old hasn’t hit so far in the majors, but he batted .336/.403/.603 with six homers, four steals, and a 26/11 K/BB ratio over 129 plate appearances after his demotion to Triple-A last month.

At this point the Twins, who stink on ice, need to just put their top young player in the game and let him learn to swim at the big league level rather than try to squeak out a few extra relatively meaningless wins with guys who won’t be part of the next contending Twins team.

92-year-old World War II vet throws a nifty ceremonial first pitch

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 9.04.09 AM
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Think of how many bad ceremonial first pitches you’ve seen. From the worm burners from local business owners and pillars of the community at minor league games to ex-big leaguers who obviously haven’t picked up a ball since they retired to the famous celebrity ones that go viral the next day, there are probably a lot more bad first pitches out there than good ones.

But when the good ones come, they’re really enjoyable. And few are more enjoyable than the one which preceded yesterday’s Padres-Mariners game in Seattle. The pitcher: Burke Waldron, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II. He did it in his dress whites. He ran out onto the field beforehand. And though his catcher didn’t set up the full 60 feet, six inches away from where Waldron threw it, it was still a spiffy pitch. Way better than most: