Black Aces| Jack Flaherty Has An Outside Shot To Join One Of The Rarest Fraternities In Baseball

Black Aces| Jack Flaherty Has An Outside Shot To Join One Of The Rarest Fraternities In Baseball

Through the first month and a half of the Major League Baseball season, Cardinals’ pitcher Jack Flaherty is on his way to joining one of the rarest fraternities in baseball: Black Aces.

The title of ace is given to a very select few in the game of baseball.  It comes with high expectations.  When an ace is on the mound, it is win day; period.  They stem the tide and stop losing streaks while also being able to be called on to perform in the biggest moments of the season and take down the best hitter on the planet.  

 

You Don’t Know Jack!

 

 

The Black pitcher, in general, is a rare sight to see in our game.  We see many of our MLB Bros showcase their athleticism while roaming in the outfield and even more recently have seen them anchoring defenses throughout the infield, most notably Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford.

The term “Black Aces” derived from a book, “Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty Game Winners” written by former pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant, who was the first 20-game winner in the American League when he did it for the Minnesota Twins in 1965.  

To qualify for the fraternity of Black Aces, you must win 20 games in a season.  Looking at the current landscape of the game, there is one pitcher who looks like he will be on his way to having his own Probate this season, and it’s Flaherty.

The former 34th overall pick in the 2014 draft currently sits alone on the top of the throne for the Major League lead in wins.  His record stands undefeated at 7-0 this season with a 2.47 ERA.  He recently became the first Cardinals pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1965 to record a win in seven of his first eight games while having an ERA under three. 

 Flaherty will be compared to the late Gibson – who passed away last year at the age of 84 to cancer – throughout his entire career. 

READ MORE: The Deaths Of Bullet Bob Gibson & Base Burglar Lou Brock…

Gibson pitched for the Cardinals during his entire 17-year career and is one of the original Black Aces in the game of baseball.  He recorded five 20 win seasons during his time in St. Louis, which is second most all-time only trailing Ferguson Jenkins who had seven such seasons.

 

 

 

Flaherty is trying to be the newest member of the Black Ace fraternity since David Price joined the group in 2012.  

Recently retired future Hall of Famer C.C. Sabathia joined the group in 2010 and former pitcher Dontrelle Willis did so as well in 2005.  Before then, the feat had not been reached since 1990 when it was accomplished by Dave Stewart who remarkably completed four straight 20 win seasons from 1987-1990.

 

 

READ MORE: What Is A Black Ace? | CC Sabathia Blesses David Price With Some Brotherly Drip

Early this year, Sabathia presented Price with a custom sweatshirt and joggers.  The logo has an Ace of spade between the two C’s with a B hovering over the Ace of Spade.  

The numbers Flaherty is putting up this season have put him in the category of potential starters for the National League All-Star team in Colorado this summer, which won’t be easy in a National League that has the best pitcher in baseball – Mets’ Jacob Degrom – and the Padres’ Yu Darvish who has one of the deepest bags of pitches and the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff whose strikeout-to-walk ratio is incredible. Hence, winning and continued quality starts will be key for Flaherty to give himself the starting nod.

After a shaky start on Opening Day, Flaherty has responded with a 1.47 ERA in his last 43 innings pitched.  He has only allowed one home run in the past seven games and has currently registered six quality starts in a row. 

 He is yet to walk more than two batters in a start this year and in his last four starts, he has at least six strikeouts.  Also this year, he joined the “Pitchers Who Rake” club when he hit his first career home run while pitching seven scoreless innings against the Rockies earlier in May.

 

 

The Black Ace Fraternity is ready to welcome Flaherty with open arms.  He is closing in on the halfway point to be allowed in the club, and there’s a possibility that he’ll break past the bouncer before seasons end.  

His next chance to start comes today as he will be on the mound in front of the St. Louis faithful taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Last time he faced them, he notched a season-high nine strikeouts on May 1st.

#HIGHFIVE + 5 More | Top 10 Black & Brown MLB Players For 2021

#HIGHFIVE + 5 More | Top 10 Black & Brown MLB Players For 2021

The 2021 season saw some MLBbros become parts of baseball history. From breaking single-season home run records the most home runs at a position to being a franchise’s first 30/30 club member and even the first walk-off in the Great state of Iowa, this was one to remember.

        Here are our Top 10 MLBbros of 2021.

1. Marcus Semien

No second baseman in the history of Major League Baseball has hit more home runs in a season than Marcus Semien has for the 2021 Blue Jays, and with just a few games left, has a chance to pile on a few more.

Semien bet on himself this season and it has paid off big time. He signed a one-year deal with the Blue Jays in the off-season and even made the switch from shortstop to prove his versatility.

Semien’s 44 home runs have him fourth in the race for the Home Run crown, while some of his other numbers absolutely crushed other Major League second baseman.

He is slashing .267/.338/.881 with 101 RBI and 39 doubles and also has the highest Wins Above Replacement rating in the Majors at 7.2.

Semien was exactly what they needed in the city of Toronto to get over the hump and become true contenders.

He’ll get the chance to test the free agent waters and says he wants to be considered a short stop while doing so.  I don’t think we can rule out the possibility he continues to play second base, but he should get the chance to be paid top dollar regardless of which side of the diamond he is on.

2. Cedric Mullins

Cedric Mullins may have had the greatest season in Baltimore Orioles franchise history, and the numbers do not lie.

Mullins became the fourth active player to join the illustrious 30 home run and 30 stolen base club. No other Oriole has ever done that.

The 5’8 175 center fielder has the eighth highest batting average in the Majors, the fourth most doubles and is ranked seventh in OPS among outfielders.

Mullins’ 2021 All-Star selection shocked many people, but throughout this entire season he proved his name belongs amongst baseball’s elite players.

Even though Baltimore baseball is going through tough times, they have a diamond in the rough batting leadoff and playing center field for years to come.


3. Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge has had his best season since he won the 2017 Rookie of the Year award. The Empire State has been on his back this entire season, and Judge has continued to step up and answer the bell each time in pressure situations.

From his late home run in the Field of Dreams Game to his go-ahead double against the rival Red Sox this past weekend on Sunday Night Baseball, Judge showed this year he is one of the most clutch players the game has to offer.

We told you back in April his health was key to a Yankees playoff berth.

He’s given us more than a few missles and treasured moments.

Judge leads the Yankees in almost every offensive category this season: games played, hits, doubles, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS or WAR.

He now has 38 home runs, 96 RBI and an OPS of .916 this season.

4. Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson has become one of the faces of baseball over the last few seasons and continues to make his case for best shortstop in the game every time he steps on the field.

TA7 is one of the most feared leadoff hitters in all of baseball. He has the ability to make it 1-0 before most fans can make it to their seats from the concession stands.

Anderson sits slightly out of the Top 10 for average in the Majors at .301.  He also adds 17 home runs, 18 steals, 59 RBI and 92 runs scored to his season totals.

5. Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton has been the Robin to Aaron Judge’s Batman this year, especially during the second half of the season when the Yankees made their run to get themselves back into contention.

Stanton has the second highest exit velocity average on batted balls this year at 95.3, just slightly behind Judge who is at 95.9.  He also has 35 home runs, 96 RBI and an .881 OPS.

Stanton etched his name in the history books of one of baseball’s best rivalries, the Yankees and Red Sox.  In their final time in Boston this season Stanton became one of four Yankees to have three home runs and 10 RBI in any 3-game span vs the Red Sox.

6. Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman sat out the entire 2020 season, and for him to return in 2021 and lead the Majors in starts, he deserves some respect on his name.

Stroman finished with a career high 33 starts and posted the second lowest ERA of his career.

Despite having the “best pitcher” in baseball (Jacob deGrom) the and a 2021 All-Star in their rotation (Taijuan Walker) Stroman was the most consistent Mets pitcher throughout the season.

He’ll have the chance to test the market as a free agent and will have multiple suitors as he may be the most marquee name behind Max Scherzer.

7. Mookie Betts

Despite fighting through multiple injuries and maybe a little 2020 World Series hangover, Mookie Betts had a fine 2021, even if some of his numbers are a peg lower than what we’ve become accustomed too.

Betts was named an All-Star this season and currently has 22 home runs, 56 RBI, 89 runs scored and a .371 on base percentage. His OPS is quickly approaching .900 as well.

He’s been a swiss army knife for the Dodgers, moving around in the lineup as well as playing second base for a few games and turning out a few web gems.The formed MVP will surely save his biggest moments for the playoffs.

8. J.P. Crawford

J.P. Crawford put himself in rare company last season when he became one of the few recent black Gold Glove winning infielders and it looks like he’ll repeat again this season.

He leads the Majors in putouts and assists and seems to give the west coast jaw dropping highlights every single night.

JP Crawford Is On His Way To A Second Gold Glove & Possibly His First Taste Of MLB Playoff Life

At the plate Crawford made some improvements from last season. His average against left handed pitchers increased from .242 to .276. Crawford ranks 14th in the league in total hits and leads all Major League shortstops with 37 doubles.

On the year he is slashing .273/.336/.715 with 52 RBI and nine home runs.

9. Michael Brantley

If Michael Brantley could have avoided the injury bug this season, he would have had a legit chance at the 2021 batting championship.

He started the season off hot, earning his fifth career All-Star appearance as he led the Majors in batting average for most of the first half of the season.

He’s only appeared in 118 out of 159 games this season and has 29 doubles, a .311 average and a .798 OPS. Another great season for “The Professional.”

10. Triston McKenzie

Triston McKenzie had to learn on the fly this season, and grew up in front of our eyes with some dominant starts, particularly on August 15th when he pitched eight innings out one hit baseball and a career high 11 strikeouts.

At one point of the season McKenzie put together seven consecutive quality starts from August 5th to September 14th.

McKenzie is also going to lead the team in strikeouts, becoming one of the youngest to do so in franchise history just behind C.C. Sabathia who did it at age 21.

Honorable Mentions:

Josh Bell– Despite the struggles of his Nationals, Bell had himself a great year.  He is at 27 home runs, 88 RBI and a .814 OPS.

Jazz Chisholm Jr.– Injuries at the beginning of the season stopped Jazz from being a 2021 All-Star, but we still got the chance to see him Euro step across the plate 17 times.

He has an outside chance at winning the National League’s Rookie of the Year award, but the only  Bahamian born player currently in the Majors has already impressed folks around the league

LaMonte Wade Jr.– Wade Jr. is the epitome of what the San Francisco Giants have been able to do this season.  He continually stepped up especially in late game situations earning himself the nickname “Late Night Lamonte”

Jack Flaherty – Jack Flaherty was on his way to becoming a black ace and winning 20 games before an injury stalled his season for a few months.

The Cardinals seemed to come back alive when he returned as they rattled off 17 consecutive wins at one point.  It seems Flaherty might come out of the bullpen for St. Louis during their playoff run if they can get past the wild card games.

It’s been a great season and we’ve brought you the best of the Black and Brown players in MLB. We’ll be back next season with our #HIGHFIVE lists.

See you in March !

 

#HIGHFIVE | Top 5 Black & Brown MLB Players (Week 23)

#HIGHFIVE | Top 5 Black & Brown MLB Players (Week 23)

Our very own Brandon Carr believes Triston McKenzie is the best MLBbro pitcher in the game, and over his last few starts his numbers haven’t lied.

He etched his name into the Cleveland baseball record books and has retired 96 of the last 112 batters he has faced.

Triston “Sticks” McKenzie Is Already The Best MLBbro Pitcher In The Game

For that, McKenzie takes the top spot on week 23 of our #High/Five list.

1. Triston McKenzie

This past Tuesday Triston McKenzie became the first pitcher in Cleveland Guardians history to throw six plus innings and allow three or fewer hits in five consecutive starts.

After putting his 5.57 ERA for the month of July behind him, McKenzie has been a different animal on the mound.

He posted a 1.93 ERA in the month of August and began his recent streak of seven consecutive starts going six or more innings.

McKenzie sat out for a week after dealing with shoulder fatigue, and although many thought that would spell the end of his season, it seems to have made him stronger for the final regular season push.

Even though the Guardians are basically out of the playoff picture, McKenzie has a chance to showcase why he can be a number one or two starter in their rotation next season.

His next start is scheduled for next Monday against Michael Taylor and the Kansas City Royals.

2. Aaron Judge/ Giancarlo Stanton

 

 

Last weekend’s Subway Series matchup between the Yankees and Mets was one of the most entertaining of the season, and Stanton and Judge found themselves right in the thick of things.

Saturday night Judge hit two home runs including one off of fellow MLBbro All-Star Taijuan Walker, which made him the second fastest player ever to reach 150 homers, doing so in just 552 games.

The only person to do it in fewer games was former Philidelphia Phillie Ryan Howard who did it in just 495 games.

He also hit a two-run game tying home run in the 8th inning, as the Yankees pulled out an 8-7 victory.

Sunday night’s game was a wild one in itself, and this time Giancarlo Stanton decided to stir the pot.

After Mets shortstop Franciso Lindor had some words for the Yankees during his home run trot, Stanton put one in the stands himself and made sure to let Lindor know about it after he rounded second.

Benches would clear, but I am sure nobody was looking forward to a face to face with Stanton.

3. Mookie Betts

It’s a good thing we never hit the panic button on Mookie Betts, because he’s back, and the number over his current eight game hitting streak proves it.

Over that stretch Betts has two home runs and six RBI, including a three-run home run Saturday night to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning.

Something about the fifth inning felt good to Mookie over the weekend, as he hit a solo shot to deep left during Sunday’s game as well.

Betts and his Dodgers have officially clinched a playoff spot and are right on the Giants’ tails for the number one overall seed in the National League.

4. Marcus Stroman

Tuesday’s start against the Cardinals was the 23rd time Stroman allowed two or fewer runs this season, tying him with Dodgers aces Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer for the most this season.

Stroman also showed us why he is one of the top athletes in the sport, as he dropped a bunt down and sprinted 4.02 to first base.

It’s not the first time Stroman has shown off his skill with the bat as well as his speed.  Multiple pitchers have fallen victim to his bunt singles, and with the speed he has he’ll claim more in his future.

Stroman’s next start will come next Tuesday in Fenway Park against the Red Sox.

5. LaMonte Wade Jr.

The Growing Legend Of “Late Game” Lamonte Wade Jr.

“Late Game LaMonte” is one of the many reasons the San Francisco Giants have the best record in baseball and he has earned a key role for the championship run they are preparing to go on.

Over his last seven games Wade Jr. is hitting .320 with five RBI, four walks and five runs scored.

Wade has made a name for himself by coming up in big situations late in games this season.

During the 9th inning, he is 9-for-15 with nine RBI, including a go-ahead two run single in the top of the ninth inning of their game against the Rockies.

This season Wade Jr. now has 17 home runs, 48 RBI, six steals and an .845 slugging percentage.

Turnt Up 10 | Top Black & Brown Bros Through First Half Of  2021 MLB Season

Turnt Up 10 | Top Black & Brown Bros Through First Half Of 2021 MLB Season

The people better recognize, these Bros have game.

They have shined as some of the brightest stars in the Majors this season and we are ready to see what they do in the grueling second half chase.

Here’s our “Turnt Up 10” consisting of the top MLBbros through the first half of the 2021 season.

 

1.Cedric Mullins


CM STORM gets the MVP belt for the Bros after his first half performance.

The 2021 starter in center field for the American League is one of three players in the Majors to lead his team in batting average, home runs and stolen bases this season.

The other two being Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuna Jr.

 


Mullins, the American League leader in hits, proved he belonged among the game’s elite when he got on base and scored a run to help the American League win the All-Star Game.

 

2. Marcus Semien

 

This season Marcus Semien has not only proven he is one of the best hitters in the game, but also that he is one of the most versatile.

 

 

Last season he played a damn good shortstop for the Oakland A’s but made the move to second when he got to the Blue Jays.

That paid off well for May’s American League Player of the Month.

Semien will be paid well when he negotiates his next contract during the offseason.

Semien was named the American League starter at second base after posting a .277 batting average with 22 home runs, 56 RBI, an .873 OPS and 10 steals.


3. Black Knights Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman


The Met’s have the fourth-lowest earned runs average in the Majors and two of the main reasons for that are their Melanated Mound Marauders (Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker). 

Stroman has always been a beast on the mound and is one of the most entertaining and agitating pitchers in baseball.

 


This year he has a 2.75 ERA and 83 strikeouts while Walker has been the best free agent acquisition.

He has the 11th lowest ERA in baseball and was selected to the National League All-Star team.

 

Taijuan Walker’s New York Mets Move Was Golden

 

4. Aaron Judge


Judge has put the city of New York on his back this season in an effort to keep them in contention.

He started his third All-Star Game this year and his 21 home runs have him just outside of the league’s Top 10.

Judge will have to do even more for the Yankees to have any legitimate chance at winning a 29th championship.

 

MLBbro All-Star 2021 Coverage | All Rise For Aaron Judge

 

5. Michael Brantley


Michael Brantley is as professional a hitter as you will see in baseball. 

 

He is second in the American League in batting average and swatted  .410 with 15 RBI and a .566 Slugging Percentage for the month of June.

He was named an All-Star but did not make the trip to Denver.

 

6. Tim Anderson

It feels good to call Tim Anderson, who is one of the faces of baseball, an All-Star.

At first, he was left off of the All-Star list, but then went crazy at the plate over his last seven games hitting .484 with 11 runs and four RBI.

Anderson currently has hits in 12 straight games.

 

MLBbro All-Star 2021 Coverage | Tim Anderson

 

7. J.P. Crawford

 

 

Last season’s American League Gold Glove shortstop made his bat come alive in 2021.  He was the biggest All-Star snub this season as he posted a first half statline including 92 hits, 31 RBI, 46 runs a .279 average and a 1.4 Defensive WAR which is the highest in all of baseball.

 

8. Mookie Betts


Despite not putting up his typical MVP type numbers, Mookie Betts was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career.

However he decided to skip the game in order to rest up for an attempt at winning back-to-back World Series.

 


Betts is fifth in the league in runs scored and has an .839 OPS.


9. Jazz Chisholm


Jazz is the first Bahamian player in the Majors and a perfect representation of black culture in baseball. 

 


The Bahamian Blur’s swag is unmatched and he is one of 
the electrifying newbies in the game with speed, power and multi-colored hair choices.

Chisholm would have easily been in Denver for the All-Star Game if not for injuries. He’s batting .257 while slugging 11 home runs and stealing 11 bags.

 

10. Giancarlo Stanton


Stanton still has one of the most powerful swings in baseball and has hit some of the hardest home runs this season.

He has 42 RBI, 15 home runs and a .270 batting average entering the second half of the season.


The Yankees other “Tower of Power”rounds out our list of the Top 10 Black and brown MLB players so far in 2021.

 

#HIGHFIVE: Top 5 Black & Brown MLB Players (Week 14)

#HIGHFIVE: Top 5 Black & Brown MLB Players (Week 14)

Tim Anderson had a lot to say this week after being left off of the American League All-Star roster. 

But instead of words, the White Sox shortstop used his bat to campaign for why he should be in Denver. 

And Anderson’s bat spoke volumes. He batted over .430 this week, including going 4-for-4 in Wednesday’s game against Minnesota.

For that, he claims the top spot for Week 14 on our #HighFive list.

 

1.Tim Anderson


T.A. is one of the anointed faces of the game of baseball, and the sport will be missing out on something special by not having the R.B.I. Baseball cover boy at this year’s All-Star game.

He has the second-highest batting average for all American League shortstops at .307 and has added 29 RBI, 14 steals and a .768 OPS on a first-place White Sox team that has been riddled with injuries since spring training.

 

 

This week, T.A. went off! 

Over his last seven games, he has a .433 batting average with seven runs and a .485 OBP.  Anderson also has recorded multiple hits in three of his last four games and is riding a nine-game hitting streak. 

He’s reached base safely in his last eight plate appearances, including three walks, four singles, and a double. 

 

 

Even legendary Hall of Famer Frank Robinson had a lot to say about Anderson missing out on the 2021 All-Star game.  His batting average is currently the ninth highest in all of baseball and hopefully, he will use his snubbing as fuel to the fire during his quest for a second batting championship.

 

 

2. Cedric “CM STORM” Mullins 

 


We have pleaded his case this entire season, and last Sunday we finally got what we wanted; Mullins is a Major League All-Star.

The 5-foot-8, multi-faceted phenom started celebrating his achievement mid-game during a matchup against the Los Angeles Angels Sunday by hitting a game-tying, pinch-hit single then following that with a go-ahead home run. 

 

 

This week, Mullins hit three home runs while batting .321 with six RBI, five runs and a stolen base.  He is leading all American League outfielders in hits, total bases, OPS, and his 3.9 WAR is the highest for all outfielders and sixth-highest in the Majors. 

 

 

Mullins will be participating in next Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Denver and has a chance to enter the starting lineup due to an injury to Mike Trout. 

 

3. Dom Smith

 

 

Mets’ outfielder Dominic Smith is making his first appearance on our #HighFive list this season.  His year has been up and down, but lately, he has become one of the most consistent players in New York’s lineup.

Smith had the first two-homer game of his career last Thursday against the Braves. Then followed that with a home run off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole a few games later. 

 

He batted .375 with six RBI and eight runs over his last seven games and added a web gem when he jumped into foul grounds to snag a ball out of the air.

 


This weekend, his Mets welcome MLBBro Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Pittsburgh Pirates to CitiField for a four-game series.

 

4. Aaron Judge

 


This season for the Yankees has been disappointing, but the Tower of Power Aaron Judge has responded to the bright lights and been one of the best players in baseball this entire season. 

Last Thursday night, he was named an All-Star starter for the American League outfield and also became just the fifth Yankee ever to hit 20 home runs before the All-Star break in three straight seasons.

 

 

One of those home runs came during a Bro-on-Bro crime when he launched a ball to the right-field bleachers of Yankee Stadium against Taijuan Walker to break up his no-hit bid in the sixth inning.

 

 

Judge is one of baseball’s top sluggers so it is a little disappointing he is not participating in one of the most anticipated Home Run Derby’s in recent memory, but he needs his rest as a big second half by him is a must if the Yankees, who currently sit just two games above .500, want to get back into contention for the American League East pennant.

 

5. Andrew McCutchen

 

 

This season has been a resurgence for Andrew McCutchen and after what he’s done to Chicago Cubs’ staff during this series, he may want to get a permanent residency in their batter’s box and on our #HighFive list.

 

 

On Tuesday, he hit his second grand slam of the season in the game’s first inning, and then he added a two-run shot Wednesday night.

 

 

He is 5-for-14 with two home runs, two doubles, seven RBI and four runs with a game still to go Thursday night.