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Biggest Comeback Wins in Major League Baseball History

If we had to define baseball in one sentence, we would go with this Yogi Berra classic: “It’s not over until it’s over!

Besides, the great Yogi knew what he was talking about since the Mets, which he led in 1973, came back from a deficit of 9 and a half games in the middle of the season to finally win the championship of their division in the very last game of the season.

On this occasion, Berra said this famous phrase, and although he referred to the then ongoing season, many ball lovers also apply it when it comes to games. Because you may lose 72-2 in the bottom of the ninth, as long as you have one out left, you have a mathematical chance of coming back and winning.

It’s beautiful, huh? It also means there’s still hope when it looks like you’ll be losing your MLB odds stake.

Not that much, after all. Because according to baseball historian David W. Smith, out of 73 seasons studied, only 213 teams in 44,537 attempts managed to win even though they were down at least 4 runs after the eighth inning. That’s a 0.5% success rate, which is higher than my 6/49 odds of winning (1 in 14 million), but still, it’s a risky bet.

A Spectacular Comeback

Oddly, Major League Baseball does not keep official statistics on this subject. In any case, we couldn’t find them. Still, an extensive search using state-of-the-art technological tools (Google) tells us that the Philadelphia A’s came back from behind by 11 points in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians on June 15, 1925. They won the game 17-15 while trailing it 15-4.

For the most dramatic ninth-inning comeback, you have to go back to the Detroit Tigers’ American League opener against Milwaukee on April 24, 1901, when they came from behind 4-13 in the ninth, to win 14-13.

The Funniest Comeback

But the funniest comeback is undoubtedly the one the Phillies made against the Pirates in Philadelphia on June 8, 1989.

This comeback win forced the former Pittsburgh player and game commentator Jim Rooker to walk the 400 km between the two cities.

After the Pirates scored 10 runs in the top of the first inning, Rooker said on the radio that he was committed to walking back to Pittsburgh if the team lost the game. And that’s what happened, as the Phillies eventually won 15-11.

Rooker kept his word a few months later as he covered the distance between the two towns on foot.

Other Notable Comebacks

The Seattle Mariners Come on August 5, 2001

On August 5, 2001, the Seattle Mariners trailed 14-2; however, they won 15-14.

The Cleveland manager Charlie Manuel indicated it was impossible for the team to rally after four regulars were left out of their starting lineup in the nationally televised opener. However, the Mariners ignored the signals and won 116 games in a 162-game season.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Cleveland scored three runs, four in the eighth, and five more in the ninth inning, with two outs. At 14-14, Omar Vizquel hit a triple, forcing extra innings.

The comeback victory was completed in the 11th inning with a single left by Jolbert Cabrera with one out and Kenny Lofton coming from second to score.  

Tigers Comeback on June 18, 1911

Won 16-15 despite a 13-1 trailing score against the Chicago White Sox on June 18, 1911.

Even though the Tigers won 42 comeback games in 1911, it still doesn’t explain the unlikely occurrence of a team overturning a 12-run deficit. A large part of the reason for this was the presence of Ty Cobb.

With the Tigers trailing 13-1, they scored four runs in the fifth, three in the sixth, and then two in the seventh to gain the lead, which ultimately went to the White Sox, who led 15-8. Although the visiting team continued to hit in the eighth and ninth inning, they could only score five runs each. 

A throw to the first baseman was ill-advised, allowing Cobb to reach on an infield single, and the errant throw allowed Davy Jones and Donie Bush to score, tying the game at 15.

Sam Crawford doubled the score in the following play to bring Cobb to the second position. It was the 28th game in a career-long 40-game hitting streak for the Georgia Peach — 5 for 6, 5 RBIs, 3 runs.

There you have it, the biggest comebacks in the history of MLB; we hope you enjoyed your read!

Why the MLB needs to keep its playoff experiment to just this season

For better or for worse, the 2020 MLB postseason will be drastically different than any other postseason in MLB history.

In a wild year where the MLB season was cut short by over 100 games due to COVID-19, it is easy to see why changes would be necessary. However, those changes should just be for this season only.

What is the new Playoff system?

The MLB Playoffs will now include 16 teams, 8 from the National League, and 8 from the American League. The top three seeds in each league will belong to each league’s three division winners (East, West and Central).

The next three seeds, no. 4-6, will go to each of those same division’s second-best team. The last two teams will be the Wild Card spots, which are determined by which of the remaining teams has the best record regardless of division. 

Why it should only be a one-season experiment

Per the Washington Post, Commissioner Rob Manfred said that the 16-team expanded postseason is likely to remain beyond 2020 and that an overwhelming number of owners have already endorsed it. 

While an expanded postseason makes sense in a 60-game pandemic-shortened season, the same isn’t true for a 162-game season. The entire point of a 162-game season is to ensure that the best teams are in the playoffs.

A 16-team playoff in a 162-game season waters down an already excruciatingly long season. Each regular season game is devalued even more. 

In a 30-team league, having 16 teams make the playoffs means more than half of the league is in contention. This will lead to middling teams and sub .500 teams making the playoffs, lowering the quality of play.

It is a similar issue the NBA faces every year in the first round. An example is this year’s Orlando Magic making the playoffs after going 33-40 in the regular season. 

Fangraphs currently projects that the New York Mets, who are six games under .500 with twelve games remaining, have a 16.4% chance of making the playoffs.

The Milwaukee Brewers who are three games under .500 with 13 games remaining have a 46.9% chance of making the postseason. These are two prime examples of teams who would have little to no chance if the format was still at 10 teams.

Baseball more than any other sport has a huge game-to-game variability, meaning that it is extremely random.

Therefore a three-game series like the first round would be, removes the certainty advantage a possible no. 1 seed earned during the regular season. Certainty is the idea that the longer a series is, the more certain you are that the winner is the better team.

Picture a no. 1 seed going 102-60 in the regular season and losing to the no. 8 seed who finished 77-85 because of the randomness a three-game sample size invites. It is infinitely easier to beat a better team twice than it is three or four times.

The entire reason baseball has such a long season is because of the belief that large sample sizes determine the best teams. That is thrown out of the window when a three-game series is played. It’s just not fair to the teams that performed well all season. The reward for being a higher seed would now just be home-field advantage.

It is likely that this is how future postseasons will be formatted. The 6 added playoff teams mean added revenue, which at the end of the day is what matters most to MLB owners and Commissioner Manfred.

The MLB, like every other business, will always do what is most profitable even if it doesn’t make sense competitively. 

KatyPerrysBootyHole and wetbutt23 break this season’s biggest baseball trade

Adrian Wojnarowski is the first to break almost every NBA transaction. Adam Schefter serves the same role for NFL deals. But in MLB there is a new pair of scoopers in town: KatyPerrysBootyHole and wetbutt23.

Somehow the trade flew under the radar of the national media and these two Reddit users were the first to find out about the Chicago White Sox trading starter Jose Quintana across town to the Cubs for a haul of prospects.

Look out Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, webutt23 and KatyPerrysBootyHole might be on their way to the White House.

Even Fox’s Ken Rosenthal and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, two of baseball’s best reporters, were shocked by the trade:

Last night on Reddit’s r/whitesox board, KatyPerrysBootyHole wrote,

“Hey guys, take this with a grain of salt, but I heard from a friend who’s brothers friend works for the cubs (sounds like bullshit I know), that Q is going to the cubs in exchange for 4 players. Has anyone heard anything similar?”

Wetbutt23 then jumped in to say,

“I was just told that the trade was agreed to this morning. And the players were doing physicals and what not. Could have been before game, I am not 100% on the timeline of the physicals.”

Quintana has struggled so far this season, posting a 4-8 record and a 4.49 ERA, but since arriving on the South Side in 2012 he has been a front-end starter. Quintana was an All Star in 2016 and has recorded a sub-3.50 ERA every season since 2014.

The way the details of the trade broke were certainly unusual but the Cubs are praying it saves their season.

MLB’s All Star Game got us thinking: Which starters would be best relievers?

As Nationals ace Max Scherzer pumped in 98 mile per hour fastballs and mixed in a filthy slider, most hitters at last night’s All Star Game in Miami knew their fate before stepping into the batter’s box and ended up flailing at anything close to the strike zone. Then Red Sox flamethrower Chris Sale took the mound, and he produced similar results.

Scherzer and Sale, starters who typically pitch seven or eight innings per start and will most likely win the Cy Young in their respective leagues, were each tasked with facing between four and eight hitters in the exhibition game.

This shortened workload allowed them to go all out for one or two innings and the results were scary. This got me thinking: if some of baseball’s best starters were converted into a bullpen role, would they become virtually unhittable?

Short answer: Yes. Scherzer was able to direct all of his energy and adrenaline into one inning. As he stomped around the mound and grunted on the release of every pitch, even Aaron Judge, a reincarnation of Paul Bunyan, looked intimidated.

We also have some context for this experiment: look at what Andrew Miller, a converted starter, has done in his ‘fireman’ role with the Cleveland Indians.

The combination of his high-90’s fastball and possibly the best slider in baseball history carried the Tribe to a World Series appearance last year. Miller only throws two pitches but both are extremely effective and he could go down as the best reliever ever.

So, which five starting pitchers would be the toughest to face in a one-inning situation?

1. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

Scherzer proved last night that if he was asked to get three outs in the ninth inning of a World Series game he would be nearly impossible to hit.

2. Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers

Fulmer was selected to the American League All Star team but didn’t get a chance to pitch in the game.

Detroit’s ace often hits 97 or 98 on the radar gun and if he knew his only job was to get out three hitters, I’m sure he could reach 100.

Fulmer is having a breakout season and will be one of the AL’s best pitchers for years to come.

3. Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets

Syndergaard has battled injuries this season, but when healthy he is a one of baseball’s most intimidating pitchers.

He dominated the San Francisco Giants in last year’s Wild Card Game, consistently pumping in 100 mile per hour fastballs and mixing it up with his deadly slider, which can touch 95.

If Syndergaard only had to lock in for one inning, the results would be scary.

4. Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays

Sanchez is now a starter, but when he pitched out of the pen, his fastball consistently reached triple digits.

Sanchez, still only 25-years old, has yet to refine his approach on the mound, but when he mixes in his wicked 12-6 curveball it leaves batters stuck in the mud.

5. Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates

Cole was a prized prospect in the Pirates system but outside of a strong 2015 season, he has yet to live up to the hype.

Cole’s average 2017 pitch speed is 96.13 miles per hour and he consistently leads starters in that category.

I think a decreased role for Cole would spell disaster for opposing hitters.

The 2017 Home Run Derby is going to be lit. But who will win?

The Home Run Derby is a loop of the most exciting play in baseball.

This year’s contest features two of the strongest and most prolific power hitters in recent memory, Marlins behemoth Giancarlo Stanton and Yankees rookie masher Aaron Judge.

Stanton, who is enjoying a career season, is looking to defend his crown in front of his hometown crowd. Judge, who stands a towering 6 foot 7 inches tall, burst onto the scene in his first year and has quickly established himself as an MVP candidate in the American League.

Both Judge and Stanton have the ability to launch baseballs 500+ feet, which should keep fans on the edge of their seats throughout the night. But, the competition also features some of baseball’s brightest young stars.

Here are some predictions for tonight’s Home Run Derby:

Longest Home Run

Giancarlo Stanton (524 feet)

Stanton has hit multiple home runs over 490 feet in his career. Though Marlins Park is a pitcher-friendly stadium, Stanton will have the crowd behind him, which should provide some extra adrenaline.

Dark Horse

Dodgers first basemen Cody Bellinger

Another rookie tearing up baseball, Bellinger has served as Aaron Judge’s equivalent in the National League, dominating pitchers in his first season.

At the All-Star break, Bellinger has slugged 25 home runs, good for second in the NL.

Bellinger’s upper-cut swing is tailor made for the derby, and he should have success launching towering fly balls to right field, the shortest part of Marlins Park.

Fewest Home Runs

Royals third basemen Mike Moustakas

Moustakas feels like the type of player that will have 3 home runs in the first round and flame out fairly quickly. Moustakas has changed his swing path, allowing him to hit more home runs but he has always been more of a line drive hitter.


Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton is familiar with the confines of Marlins Park and will enter the derby with a refined strategy. He also has the added benefit of being the No. 1 seed and being on the opposite side of the bracket from Judge.

Stanton will win the derby and hit the most home runs throughout the night. Look for some shots from Stanton to enter another orbit.

MLB to chill out a little bit, allow players to wear nicknames on jerseys

Major League Baseball, once by far the most popular sports league in America, has lost basically an entire age bracket of fans over the past couple decades.

Whether it’s because of the pace of the game, the lack of star power, the lack of African-American players, or because they’re not ‘roided up anymore, baseball risks becoming a niche sport as fans flock to basketball and football.

With this in mind, MLB has tried to look for solutions to make the game more palatable to a younger, more diverse audience.

They’re apparently looking into ways to speed up “pace of play,” trying very hard to market their stars, and starting new initiatives to reach kids who don’t have access to baseball.

The latest attempt to try and reign in some new fans, and allow players to express themselves on the field, is a “Players’ Weekend” in late August in which players can wear jerseys with their nicknames on the back and different colored cleats.

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan first reported on the Players’ Weekend, writing,

“Major League Baseball will relax its uniform rules for a weekend later this season, allowing players to put nicknames on the back of their jerseys, wear fluorescent-colored shoes and personalize a patch paying tribute to someone instrumental in their development.”

Depending on your general outlook on things, this is either a fun, exciting way for MLB to relax its own rules that are essentially pointless and prevent player individuality, or a cynical attempt to make more money off one-off jerseys.

The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but I suppose it’s promising that MLB is trying to look for alternative ways to market their slightly stale product.

All I really do know is that one of the dudes better put “HE HATE ME” on the back of a jersey.