October 10, 2014

Jan Hooks, 1957-2014


Jan Hooks played first ladies Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton, martyred wives Tammy Faye Bakker and Ivana Trump, sexy icons Ann-Margret and Sally Kellerman, along with Sinead O’Connor, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jessica Hahn, Bette Davis, Diane Sawyer and Tammy Wynette during her five seasons on Saturday Night Live (1986-91).

A virtuoso impressionist and the ultimate utility player, Hooks disappeared into characters on a show built around men and superstars like Dana Carvey and Mike Myers. She was the glue girl. Only the absence of a breakout character separated Hooks from greater fame. The closest she came was Candy Sweeney, one half of the lounge singing Sweeney Sisters.



Jan Hooks died yesterday from an undisclosed illness. She was 57.

Hooks joined the cast of SNL during the 1986-87 season with Carvey, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Nora Dunn and Victoria Jackson. Jon Lovitz and Dennis Miller were holdovers from the previous season. That group revived the iconic series, which was on the verge of cancellation.

“That show changed my life,” Hooks said in the book Live from New York, an oral history of the show.

In the same book, Jackson said: “In my audition, when Lorne [Michaels] said I think you’re weak in characters, I said, ‘Oh, well, you know who’s the greatest female character in America? Jan Hooks.’ She would just go into these people and I thought she was, like, great. … I thought she was, like, a genius, so I told Lorne.”

Hooks was such a genius and so underrated that it is worth wondering what her work on SNL might have looked like in the 21st century, when the series has been dominated by women. Tina Fey was one of the show’s head writers from 1999 to 2006, an era that featured Molly Shannon, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph. Kristen Wiig was the unquestioned star of her tenure (2005-12). The current cast includes Vanessa Bayer, Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon, the kind of do-everything performer reminiscent of Hooks.
— Kevin Brewer

October 5, 2014

National League awards [2014]



Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw beat the Diamondbacks on Opening Day in Australia, threw a no-hitter against the Rockies and pitched 41 consecutive scoreless innings. Josh Beckett, Tim Lincecum and Jordan Zimmermann also threw no-hitters.

Babe Ruth Award | Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers. 21-3, 1.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts and 31 walks in 198.1 innings.

2. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
3. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
4. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
5. Buster Posey, Giants

Walter Johnson Award | Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers. 21-3, 1.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts and 31 walks in 198.1 innings.

Jackie Robinson Award | Jacob deGrom, Mets. 9-6, 2.69 ERA, 144 strikeouts and 43 walks in 140.1 innings.

Connie Mack Award | Matt Williams, Nationals. 96-66 [.593]

2. Don Mattingly, Dodgers
3. Bruce Bochy, Giants



Catcher | Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers. 13 home runs, 69 RBIs, .301 batting average, .373 on-base percentage, .465 slugging percentage, 53 doubles. Best hitter | Buster Posey, Giants. Best fielder | Yadier Molina, Cardinals.

2. Buster Posey, Giants
3. Devin Mesoraco, Reds

First base | Anthony Rizzo, Cubs. 32 home runs, 78 RBIs, .286 batting average, .386 on-base percentage, .527 slugging percentage, 15 HBPs. Best fielder | Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers.

Second base | Chase Utley, Phillies. 11 home runs, 78 RBIs, .270 batting average, .339 on-base percentage, .407 slugging percentage, 13 HBPs. Best fielder | DJ LeMahieu, Rockies.

Third base | Anthony Rendon, Nationals. 21 home runs, 83 RBIs, .287 batting average, .351 on-base percentage, .473 slugging percentage, 111 runs. Best fielder | Rendon.

Shortstop | Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals. 21 home runs, 75 RBIs, .263 batting average, .336 on-base percentage, .443 slugging percentage. Best hitter | Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies. Best fielder | Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta.

Left field | Matt Holliday, Cardinals. 20 home runs, 90 RBIs, .272 batting average, .370 on-base percentage, .441 slugging percentage, 17 HBPs.

Center field | Andrew McCutchen, Pirates. 25 HRs, 83 RBIs, .314/.410/.542, 10 HBPs. Best fielder | Juan Lagares, Mets

2. Carlos Gomez, Brewers

Right field | Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins. 37 home runs, 105 RBIs, .288 batting average, .395 on-base percentage, .555 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Jason Heyward, Atlanta.

2. Jason Heyward, Atlanta



Starting rotation |

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers.
21-3, 1.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts and 31 walks in 198.1 innings.

2. Johnny Cueto, Reds. 20-9, 2.25 ERA, 242 strikeouts and 65 walks in 243.2 innings, 15 HBPs.

3. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals. 20-9, 2.38 ERA, 179 strikeouts and 50 walks in 227 innings.

4. Cole Hamels, Phillies. 9-9, 2.46 ERA, 198 strikeouts and 59 walks in 204.2 innings.

5. Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals. 14-5, 2.66 ERA, 182 strikeouts and 29 walks in 199.2 innings.

6. Tanner Roark, Nationals
7. Madison Bumgarner, Giants

Closer | Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta. 0-3, 1.61 ERA, 47 saves, 95 strikeouts and 26 walks in 61.2 innings.

2. Mark Melancon, Pirates
3. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies

Goodbye | The Greatest Hitter of All Time [1960-2014]



— Kevin Brewer

October 3, 2014

American League awards [2014]



Albert Pujols hit his 500th home run against the Nationals. Edwin Encarnacion hit 16 home runs in May. Rangers manager Ron Washington resigned. Derek Jeter had a walk-off single in his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium.

Babe Ruth Award | Mike Trout, Angels. 36 home runs, 111 RBIs, .287 batting average, .377 on-base percentage, .561 slugging percentage, 115 runs.

2. Robinson Cano, Mariners
3. Michael Brantley, Cleveland
4. Josh Donaldson, Athletics
5. Jose Altuve, Astros

Walter Johnson Award | Corey Kluber, Cleveland. 18-9, 2.44 ERA, 269 strikeouts and 51 walks in 235.21 innings.

Jackie Robinson Award | Jose Abreu, White Sox. 36 home runs, 107 RBIs, .317 batting average, .383 on-base percentage, .581 slugging percentage.

Pee Wee Reese Award | Ian Kinsler, Tigers. 17 home runs, 92 RBIs, .275 batting average, .307 on-base percentage, .420 slugging percentage, 100 runs, 40 doubles.

Connie Mack Award | Mike Scioscia, Angels. 98-64 [.605]

2. Buck Showalter, Orioles
3. Lloyd McClendon, Mariners



Catcher | Yan Gomes, Cleveland. 21 home runs, 74 RBIs, .278 batting average, .313 on-base percentage, .472 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Salvador Perez, Royals.

First base | Jose Abreu, White Sox. 36 home runs, 107 RBIs, .317 batting average, .383 on-base percentage, .581 slugging percentage. Best fielder | Chris Davis, Orioles.

2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers.

Second base | Robinson Cano, Mariners. 14 home runs, 82 RBIs, .314 batting average, .382 on-base percentage, .454 slugging percentage. Best hitter | Jose Altuve, Astros. Best fielder | Ian Kinsler, Tigers.

2. Jose Altuve, Astros
3. Howie Kendrick, Angels
4. Ian Kinsler, Tigers

Third base | Josh Donaldson, Athletics. 29 home runs, 98 RBIs, .255 batting average, .342 on-base percentage, .456 slugging percentage. Best hitter | Adrian Beltre, Rangers. Best fielder | Donaldson.

2. Adrian Beltre, Rangers
3. Kyle Seager, Mariners

Shortstop | Erick Aybar, Angels. 7 home runs, 68 RBIs, .278 batting average, .321 on-base percentage, .379 slugging percentage. Best fielder | J.J. Hardy, Orioles.

Left field | Michael Brantley, Cleveland. 20 home runs, 97 RBIs, .327 batting average, .385 on-base percentage, .506 slugging percentage, 200 hits, 45 doubles. Best fielder | Alex Gordon, Royals.

2. Alex Gordon, Royals

Center field | Mike Trout, Angels. 36 home runs, 111 RBIs, .287 batting average, .377 on-base percentage, .561 slugging percentage, 115 runs. Best fielder | Lorenzo Cain, Royals.

2. Adam Jones, Orioles

Right field | Jose Bautista, Blue Jays. 35 home runs, 103 RBIs, .286 batting average, .403 on-base percentage, .524 slugging percentage, 101 runs, 104 walks. Best fielder | Josh Reddick, Athletics.

Designated hitter | Victor Martinez, Tigers. 32 home runs, 103 RBIs, .335 batting average, .409 on-base percentage, .565 slugging percentage.



Starting rotation |

1. Corey Kluber, Cleveland.
18-9, 2.44 ERA, 269 strikeouts and 51 walks in 235.21 innings.

2. Felix Hernandez, Mariners. 15-6, 2.14 ERA, 248 strikeouts and 46 walks in 236 innings, 18 wild pitches.

3. Chris Sale, White Sox. 12-4, 2.17 ERA, 208 strikeouts and 39 walks in 174 innings, 11 HBPs.

4. Max Scherzer, Tigers. 18-5, 3.15 ERA, 252 strikeouts and 63 walks in 220.1 innings, 10 wild pitches.

5. Jon Lester, Red Sox-Athletics. 16-11, 2.46 ERA, 220 strikeouts and 48 walks in 219.2 innings.

6. David Price, Rays-Tigers
7. Dallas Keuchel, Astros

Setup man | Wade Davis, Royals. 9-2, 1.00 ERA, 3 saves, 109 strikeouts and 23 walks in 72.0 innings.

2. Dellin Betances, Yankees.

Closer | Zach Britton, Orioles. 3-2, 1.65 ERA, 37 saves, 62 strikeouts and 23 walks in 76.1 innings.

2. Greg Holland, Royals.

Best Picture | The Battered Bastards of Baseball



— Kevin Brewer