The Boys of Summer

With today’s blog submission I thought I would give everyone a little break from the investment scene and focus in these dog days of summer on America’s favorite pastime, baseball.
My motivation is our local hometown crew, the Detroit Tigers, and my comments stem from my lifelong love of baseball.

Indeed, the Detroit Tigers are playing pretty good ball right now. They have the best record in the American League. They lead their nearest division rival by 7 games.

As I have watched them play the past few weeks, it occurred to me that for the first time in 40+ years of “fandom”, I am witnessing a rare feat. I believe we are watching, in the same season and on the same team, the current a) finest hitter in the game, b) finest pitcher in the game, and c) finest infielder in the game.

Miguel Cabrera needs no affirmation from me as it relates to his hitting exploits. His acclaim is universal by fans and major leaguers alike. He won the Major League Baseball triple crown award (best batting average, most home runs and most RBI’s) last year and appears on pace to do it again this year. The last eight games, he seems able to hit home runs at will. Enough said.

Max Scherzer is leading the Major League in wins this year, with 18. He has only one loss. His earned run average (ERA) is stellar. He is second in the league for strikeouts. What many fans do not know is that his brother, with whom he was quite close and who also routinely analyzed his pitching mechanics and dissected and shared his findings with Max after each game, passed away last September. Scherzer has been “on a mission” ever since.

Jose Iglesias was recently added to the Tigers roster and is the current starting shortstop. I have watched a lot of infielders over the years, and in these few weeks that I have seen him, Iglesias seems to be able to do things with his glove and throwing hand that defy logic (and that I have rarely, if ever, seen before). I would recommend searching on Google for videos of his fielding and you will quickly see what I am talking about.

Some might say that the 1969 Baltimore Orioles pose a challenge to my assertion as they had (1969 MVP) Frank Robinson in the batter’s box, Jim Palmer on the mound, and Brooks Robinson at third base. It’s a valid challenge. Once the season is over, I plan to look at the statistics of Cabrera, Scherzer and Iglesias and see how they stack up against these Orioles and other quality teams (1972 Oakland Athletics, for example).

Comments or questions are welcomed.

Bob Bilkie, CFA