Month: September 2019

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is speaking out about NFL players using the performance-enhancing drug, HGH, suggesting that it is time for the league to consider leveling the playing field by establishing a viable drug testing system.Within the last few months, many players have been suspended for HGH use in the NFL. Many have speculated that Peterson used the drug to help him recover from a torn ACL knee injury suffered two years ago. The All Star Viking says he’s clean and is eager to prove it.“You’ve got HGH, something that doesn’t show up on a test, and you’ve got guys out there trying to provide for their families,” Peterson said. “They’re going to try to get that edge, get that advantage, especially if they’re not worried about trying to get caught. Yeah, it’s being used.”Peterson mentioned that he saw people on Twitter accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs. Last year, just nine months after having major knee surgery, he had an MVP performance on the field. The running back nearly broke the NFL record for most-rushing-yards-in-a-season.“[Testing] will bring a lot of people to light,” Peterson said. “It’ll clear a lot of people, on the outside, their curiosity when it comes to different players. So I’m all-in for it. I don’t worry about those types of supplements, using those, because I’m all natural.“I work hard. This right here, it’s a test for me personally that I know that, ‘Hey, I’m clean as a whistle,’ and other guys as well. And then, like I say, it’ll bring some guys to the forefront and be like, “Hey, I guess this is how this guy’s been performing so well.” read more

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(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)Months after former L.A. Clippers player Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle, were involved in a fatal car accident, the autopsy has been released. In it, damning details about what contributed to the couple’s death have been revealed.According to documents obtained by KTLA from the Los Angeles County coroner’s office Thursday, Butler had a mixture of alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine and oxycodone in his system.The toxicology report said an empty box of Don Julio tequila was discovered in the late-model Range Rover, which police at the time said was traveling “well in excess” of the posted speed limit, going 60-90 miles per hour.Butler and Leah LaBelle died on the scene of the single-vehicle crash, which occurred in the early hours of January 31. That’s when the Los Angeles Police Department said the SUV jumped a curb, hit several parking meters, crashed into a concrete wall, flipped over and settled in a shopping center parking lot.LaBelle, a former “American Idol” contestant whose mother adamantly told TMZ Thursday that she was not Butler’s wife, had a .144 blood alcohol level while Butler, who last played in the NBA in 2016, had BAC of .118 above the legal limit in his heart. The gossip site reported a leg sample had .062, which police said is consistent with a person who was legally drunk. read more

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We’ve spent this season using a new statistic, the goose egg, in search of old-school relief pitchers. Specifically, we’ve been looking for pitchers that replicate some of the success of Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, for whom the goose egg is named. The “firemen” of Gossage’s day didn’t care as much about recording saves. Instead, they pitched in as many high-leverage situations as they could get their hands on: for instance, in tied games, or in the seventh or eighth innings when the situation demanded it. Pitchers like these provided a lot more value to their teams than modern closers who are often used exclusively in save situations. (The goose egg credits pitchers for clutch, scoreless relief innings, whether or not they’re save situations.)From the standpoint of overall bullpen usage patterns, there have been signs of progress around baseball. Major-league teams are placing less emphasis on the save and instead using their best relief pitchers in smarter ways.But no individual pitchers have come close to replicating the workload and value of Gossage, who accumulated a record 82 goose eggs — in 141.2 innings pitched — in 1975. In fact, no pitcher has yet earned even 40 goose eggs so far this season.The major-league leaders are the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and the Brewers’ Corey Knebel, who each had 38 goose eggs through Thursday night. Seattle’s Edwin Diaz leads the American League with 33 goose eggs, having helped lead the Mariners to a 25-13 record in one-run games.Knebel has had an outstanding season by any measure, but it’s been a fairly conventional one. The Brewers have dabbled with using him in Gossage-like situations — he’s made seven multi-inning appearances, for instance — but haven’t done so all that consistently.The Dodgers have gone a little further down the goose-feathered road with Jansen, who has 12 multi-inning appearances. The team has also avoided using Jansen with leads of three runs or more, which are usually a waste of an elite reliever’s talents. (A three-run lead is a save situation but not a goose situation.) And Jansen has been remarkably efficient, having converted all 38 of his goose opportunities. Still, Jansen is on pace for only 70 innings — typical for a modern closer, but only about half as many as Gossage threw at his peak.And some pitchers who were handling heavier workloads earlier in the season have seen their teams let up on the gas pedal — or have gotten themselves hurt. An early goose-egg favorite, the Astros’ Chris Devenski, has settled into a more conventional usage pattern as the season has worn on instead of routinely pitching two or more innings at a time. The Indians’ Andrew Miller has been on the DL twice in the past month.So the opportunity to see a truly Gossage-like season won’t happen for at least one more year. In the meantime, you can find complete goose stats for all pitchers this year in the table below. Tyler ChatwoodCOL100+0.2 David HernandezLAA/ARI1314+1.6 Jeurys FamiliaNYM412+0.2 Michael LorenzenCIN2452+1.7 Dan OteroCLE200+0.3 Matthew BowmanSTL1755+0.6 Sam DysonTEX/SF2392+0.1 Sam FreemanATL1024+0.7 A. J. SchugelPIT200+0.3 Chasen ShreveNYY623+0.2 Caleb SmithNYY110-0.2 Aroldis ChapmanNYY1433+1.1 Andrew KittredgeTB110-0.2 Arodys VizcainoATL2162+0.8 Chris RusinCOL1033+0.5 Adam WarrenNYY1041+0.1 Dan AltavillaSEA331-0.6 Jimmy YacabonisBAL300+0.5 Mike BolsingerTOR310+0.1 Alex ColomeTB3264+2.7 David RobertsonCHW/NYY2551+2.0 Kelvin HerreraKC2562+1.7 Corey KnebelMIL3862+3.4 Tommy HunterTB2441+2.2 Greg HollandCOL2450+2.0 Josh OsichSF426-0.2 Bryan MitchellNYY010-0.4 Al AlburquerqueKC010-0.4 James HoytHOU110-0.2 Buddy BoshersMIN010-0.4 Ben HellerNYY101+0.2 Cody AllenCLE2075+0.7 Brian EllingtonMIA210-0.1 Trevor HildenbergerMIN512+0.4 Ryan TeperaTOR2330+2.5 Justin HaleyMIN110-0.2 Alex WilsonDET1265-0.4 Justin WilsonDET/CHC2252+1.5 Blaine BoyerBOS611+0.6 T. J. McFarlandARI621+0.2 Chris RowleyTOR310+0.1 Jason MotteATL212-0.1 Drew StorenCIN423-0.2 Koda GloverWSH822+0.4 Jose AlvarezLAA554-1.1 Nick GoodyCLE011-0.4 Jake BarrettARI203+0.3 Joe SmithTOR/CLE1811+2.5 Tom KoehlerTOR301+0.5 Jonathan HolderNYY611+0.6 Matt StrahmKC231-0.8 Aaron BummerCHW251-1.5 Brandon WorkmanBOS710+0.8 Antonio BastardoPIT010-0.4 Jake McGeeCOL1252+0.1 Trevor RosenthalSTL2581+0.6 Francisco LirianoHOU120-0.6 Daniel HudsonPIT754-0.8 Zach PutnamCHW200+0.3 Brad BrachBAL2661+1.9 Santiago CasillaOAK1783-0.4 Chris DevenskiHOU2186+0.2 Danny BarnesTOR853-0.6 Tim AdlemanCIN011-0.4 Giovanny GallegosNYY010-0.4 Michael FelizHOU110-0.2 Bud NorrisLAA1771+0.0 Wade LeBlancPIT232-0.8 Joaquin BenoitPHI/PIT16110-1.8 Archie BradleyARI2645+2.5 Shane GreeneDET1544+0.8 Tommy KahnleCHW/NYY1582-0.6 Jose TorresSD542-0.8 Jake JunisKC200+0.3 Liam HendriksOAK961-0.9 Bryan ShawCLE2264+1.4 Mike DunnCOL1203+1.9 Josh FieldsLAD542-0.8 Jacob BarnesMIL2474+0.9 David PhelpsMIA/SEA1683-0.7 Akeel MorrisATL001+0.0 Frankie MontasOAK110-0.2 Adam OttavinoCOL1373-0.4 Josh SmithOAK210-0.1 Scott ObergCOL623+0.2 Jayson AquinoBAL010-0.4 Adam KolarekTB021-0.7 Josh RavinLAD010-0.4 Zach McAllisterCLE121-0.6 Zach BrittonBAL1100+1.7 Matt AlbersWSH1124+0.9 Kyle CrickSF100+0.1 Derek LawSF1131+0.5 Fernando RodneyARI2543+2.3 Ben TaylorBOS101+0.2 Cam BedrosianLAA1034+0.4 Dan JenningsCHW/TB248-1.2 Alec AsherBAL311+0.1 Chase De JongSEA010-0.4 Carlos RamirezTOR400+0.6 Evan ScribnerSEA020-0.7 Luis SantosTOR200+0.3 Austin PruittTB300+0.5 Joe BiaginiTOR932+0.3 Jake PetrickaCHW223-0.4 Deolis GuerraLAA720+0.3 Robby ScottBOS3210-0.2 Dellin BetancesNYY2361+1.5 Mark LeiterPHI010-0.4 SOURCE: SEAMHEADS.COM Matt GraceWSH112-0.2 Brad ZieglerMIA932+0.2 Chad GreenNYY122-0.6 Raisel IglesiasCIN2812+3.8 Oliver DrakeMIL431-0.5 Tyler ClippardCHW/NYY997-1.9 Sean DoolittleOAK/WSH1926+2.1 Neftali FelizMIL/KC1060-0.7 Yovani GallardoSEA100+0.2 Brent SuterMIL001+0.0 Chris HatcherLAD/OAK332-0.7 Craig StammenSD701+1.0 Ryan MadsonOAK/WSH2131+2.0 Xavier CedenoTB013-0.4 Albert SuarezSF420-0.2 Phil MatonSD711+0.6 Mike MontgomeryCHC1321+1.1 Steve CishekSEA/TB723+0.3 Matt BelisleMIN1943+1.5 Josh SmokerNYM723+0.3 Tyler LyonsSTL622+0.1 Jake DiekmanTEX101+0.2 Junichi TazawaMIA860-1.1 Jumbo DiazTB653-0.9 Hunter StricklandSF2151+1.2 Alex WoodLAD301+0.4 Pat NeshekPHI/COL2127+2.4 Chris BeckCHW022-0.7 Nate JonesCHW410+0.2 Jeremy JeffressTEX/MIL231-0.8 Dovydas NeverauskasPIT300+0.4 Jared HughesMIL942-0.2 Drew SteckenriderMIA610+0.5 James PazosSEA1245+0.4 George KontosSF/PIT973-1.3 John BrebbiaSTL103+0.1 Ricardo PintoPHI111-0.2 Jhan MarinezMIL/PIT320-0.3 Rubby De La RosaARI011-0.4 Jason GrilliTOR/TEX443-0.8 Jose LeclercTEX733+0.0 Kevin QuackenbushSD120-0.6 Richard BleierBAL421-0.1 Edubray RamosPHI3111-3.7 Hector NerisPHI2463+1.3 Robert StephensonCIN220-0.5 Hector VelazquezBOS500+0.8 Jose AlvaradoTB743-0.4 Tony CingraniCIN/LAD523-0.0 Jean MachiSEA101+0.2 Nick WittgrenMIA611+0.5 Randall DelgadoARI500+0.8 Ryan PresslyMIN521+0.0 Nick VincentSEA2336+2.4 Jacob TurnerWSH520-0.0 Ricardo RodriguezTEX020-0.7 Taylor RogersMIN1864+0.6 J. P. HowellTOR010-0.4 Troy ScribnerLAA001+0.0 Mike ClevingerCLE010-0.4 PITCHER▲▼TEAM▲▼GOOSE EGGS▲▼BROKEN EGGS▲▼MEHS▲▼GWAR▲▼ Robert GsellmanNYM210-0.1 J. J. HooverARI632-0.2 Brandon KintzlerMIN/WSH2944+2.9 Ryan DullOAK623+0.2 Jerry BlevinsNYM1557+0.3 Felix PenaCHC100+0.1 Josh EdginNYM525-0.0 Asher WojciechowskiCIN200+0.3 Danny FarquharTB/CHW932+0.3 J. C. RamirezLAA020-0.7 Doug FisterBOS420-0.1 Edwin DiazSEA3373+2.4 Kevin SiegristSTL812+0.8 Will HarrisHOU1630+1.3 Miguel SocolovichSTL101+0.1 Bruce RondonDET430-0.5 Wandy PeraltaCIN1533+1.1 Ryan BuchterSD/KC1463-0.2 Shawn KelleyWSH620+0.1 Sammy SolisWSH221-0.5 Roberto OsunaTOR26101+0.4 Bryan MorrisSF300+0.4 Matt DermodyTOR301+0.5 Zach DukeSTL111-0.2 Casey FienSEA/PHI320-0.3 Warwick SaupoldDET113-0.2 Austin Bibens-DirkxTEX001+0.0 Blake ParkerLAA1641+1.0 Miguel DiazSD010-0.4 Parker BridwellLAA001+0.0 Jorge De La RosaARI1251-0.0 Donnie HartBAL313+0.1 Fernando AbadBOS501+0.8 Ty BlachSF101+0.1 Andrew ChafinARI366-1.8 Mike MinorKC1963+0.8 Wily PeraltaMIL120-0.6 Hansel RoblesNYM952-0.6 Dustin McGowanMIA412+0.2 Brian DuensingCHC521-0.0 Rex BrothersATL331-0.7 Carlos EstevezCOL300+0.5 Jonathan BroxtonSTL120-0.6 Carlos TorresMIL643-0.6 Ryan GartonTB030-1.1 Neil RamirezNYM012-0.4 Daniel CoulombeOAK345-1.0 Aaron LoupTOR5310-0.3 Blaine HardyDET121-0.6 Chad QuallsCOL210-0.0 Kyle RyanDET210-0.1 Rob ScahillMIL110-0.2 Jarlin GarciaMIA014-0.4 Francisco RodriguezDET382-2.5 Felipe RiveroPIT3332+3.7 Chase WhitleyTB641-0.6 Jandel GustaveHOU010-0.4 Eduardo ParedesLAA200+0.3 Josh CollmenterATL020-0.7 Peter MoylanKC903+1.4 Justin GrimmCHC311+0.1 Logan VerrettBAL400+0.6 Craig KimbrelBOS2540+2.6 Jordan LylesCOL210-0.0 Juan NicasioPIT/PHI1278-0.9 Brandon MorrowLAD740-0.5 Daniel StumpfDET214-0.1 Ryan SherriffSTL210-0.1 Greg InfanteCHW113-0.2 Emilio PaganSEA330-0.6 Johnny BarbatoPIT010-0.4 Tony BarnetteTEX730+0.0 Steven OkertSF649-0.6 Kevin SchackelfordCIN100+0.1 Vidal NunoBAL010-0.4 Robbie RossBOS100+0.2 Matt BushTEX1662+0.4 Jeanmar GomezPHI721+0.3 Kenyan MiddletonLAA621+0.2 Brad BoxbergerTB231-0.8 Adam MorganPHI500+0.7 Marc RzepczynskiSEA1039+0.4 Kevin McCarthyKC100+0.2 Goose stats through Sept. 7, 2017 Ronald HerreraNYY010-0.4 Sam TuivailalaSTL321-0.3 Fernando SalasNYM/LAA764-1.2 Hector SantiagoMIN010-0.4 Pedro BaezLAD1357-0.0 Paul SewaldNYM752-0.9 Alex ClaudioTEX1837+1.8 Blake WoodCIN432-0.5 Tanner ScheppersTEX101+0.2 Carson SmithBOS100+0.2 Craig BreslowMIN010-0.4 Kenley JansenLAD3801+5.4 Yusmeiro PetitLAA1722+1.8 Brad PeacockHOU101+0.1 Hoby MilnerPHI002+0.0 Luke JacksonATL100+0.1 Ian KrolATL623+0.1 Lucas HarrellTOR001+0.0 Tom WilhelmsenARI112-0.2 Andrew MillerCLE3152+3.2 Joe BlantonWSH320-0.3 Anthony SwarzakCHW/MIL1820+2.0 Francis MartesHOU312+0.1 Jose RamirezATL1744+1.0 Heath HembreeBOS1055-0.2 Ernesto FrieriTEX010-0.4 Mark MelanconSF1350+0.0 Keone KelaTEX832+0.2 Luke GregersonHOU952-0.5 Jesse ChavezLAA111-0.2 Pedro StropCHC1724+1.7 Darren O’DayBAL932+0.3 Carl EdwardsCHC1883-0.4 Tony SippHOU110-0.2 Josh HaderMIL532-0.4 Wade DavisCHC2611+3.4 Addison ReedNYM/BOS2756+2.1 Seung-hwan OhSTL2256+1.3 Brooks PoundersLAA100+0.2 Sam MollOAK001+0.0 Erik GoeddelNYM111-0.2 Mike MorinLAA101+0.2 Tyler WilsonBAL111-0.2 Brock StewartLAD200+0.3 Austin BriceCIN400+0.6 John AxfordOAK120-0.6 Ross StriplingLAD961-1.0 Tyler OlsonCLE200+0.3 Stefan ChrichtonBAL010-0.4 Tony ZychSEA853-0.6 Jim JohnsonATL1983-0.2 Luis GarciaPHI943-0.2 Travis WoodKC331-0.6 Joely RodriguezPHI524-0.0 Casey LawrenceTOR/SEA020-0.7 Odrisamer DespaigneMIA100+0.1 Koji UeharaCHC1563-0.1 Dominic LeoneTOR736+0.0 Mike PelfreyCHW001+0.0 Chad BellDET001+0.0 Scott AlexanderKC533-0.3 Gabriel YnoaBAL001+0.0 Brandon MaurerSD/KC1980-0.2 Kirby YatesLAA/SD951-0.6 Diego MorenoTB010-0.4 Tyler DuffeyMIN1133+0.6 Domingo GermanNYY010-0.4 Kyle BarracloughMIA1741+0.9 Miguel CastroBAL301+0.5 PITCHER▲▼TEAM▲▼GOOSE EGGS▲▼BROKEN EGGS▲▼MEHS▲▼GWAR▲▼ Boone LoganCLE104+0.2 Joe KellyBOS744-0.3 Mychal GivensBAL1734+1.6 Enny RomeroWSH1346+0.4 Grant DaytonLAD112-0.2 Erasmo RamirezTB712+0.7 Simon CastroOAK011-0.4 Brad HandSD3065+2.1 Buddy BaumannSD111-0.2 Ryne StanekTB013-0.4 Jeff BeliveauTOR111-0.2 Juan MinayaCHW202+0.3 Ken GilesHOU1743+1.1 Adam ConleyMIA010-0.4 Chris YoungKC100+0.2 Hector RondonCHC1032+0.3 AJ RamosMIA/NYM1643+0.8 Tony WatsonPIT/LAD2384+0.4 Joakim SoriaKC2672+1.5 Luis AvilanLAD534-0.4 Drew VerHagenDET210-0.1 Tyler PillNYM010-0.4 Sergio RomoLAD/TB330-0.7 Joe MusgroveHOU300+0.4 Joe JimenezDET010-0.4 Brett CecilSTL1443+0.5 Austin MaddoxBOS200+0.3 Brad GoldbergCHW001+0.0 Dario AlvarezTEX201+0.3 Blake TreinenWSH/OAK1692-0.9 Cory GearrinSF932+0.2 Matt BarnesBOS1673+0.1 Eric O’FlahertyATL211-0.1 Oliver PerezWSH514+0.4 Rafael MonteroNYM131-1.0 read more

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–LAD1905Brooklyn Superbas143146 –NYY1939New York Yankees1623✓1 –STL1942St. Louis Cardinals1605✓8 –LAA2002Anaheim Angels1576✓81 Although that Philadelphia team lost in the division series, it still rates as the best Phillies squad in history. Here’s every franchise’s best team ever: FRANCH.TEAMCOMP. ELOWON WS?RANK AMONG BEST TEAMS EVER –PHI1942Philadelphia Phillies14004 –ATL1998Atlanta Braves158642 –KC2005Kansas City Royals143771 –CHW1917Chicago White Sox1579✓68 –CHC1962Chicago Cubs144194 –DET2003Detroit Tigers13972 –MIL1982Milwaukee Brewers1558246 –LAD1953Brooklyn Dodgers158640 –SEA1978Seattle Mariners142940 After the Yankees dynasty declined, MLB’s best teams started to be a lot less good. The 1960s were understandably weak — with just two teams in the Elo top 100 — because MLB expanded by eight teams during this span. The 1980s don’t have the same excuse, and the decade’s best squad — the 1986 Mets — rates as only the 62nd-best team ever. The first six seasons of the 2010s were similarly middling; of the teams from those years, the 2011 Phillies rank the highest on the all-time list, at No. 76. –NYY1908New York Highlanders1449136 –OAK1916Philadelphia Athletics14025 One hundred and 10 years ago, the Chicago Cubs ended the regular season with a 116-36 record. That .763 winning percentage is the best in modern baseball history by a comfortable margin, but the Cubs went on to drop the World Series to the White Sox in six games. Might they still be the greatest team in baseball history?We recently calculated historical Elo ratings for every team after every game as part of our Complete History Of MLB interactive graphic. (We’ve done the same for the NBA and NFL.) Elo ratings are one of our preferred metrics at FiveThirtyEight, because their simple inputs make them useful for comparing the relative strengths of teams across the entire history of a league. We can also use Elo to calculate season ratings for every MLB team since 1903, when the first modern World Series was played.1Our interactive goes back a little further, to 1871. The quality of 19th-century baseball teams was pretty uneven — meaning the top teams from that time would dominate historical rankings — so to focus on more recognizable franchises, this piece is looking only at seasons since 1903. We arrived at an overall season rating — what the table below calls “composite” Elo — by blending each team’s peak, average and final Elo for each season. This lets us take into account a team’s highest level of performance, its sustained performance throughout the season and, broadly, how well it did in the postseason.2Elo ratings are carried over from season to season, which means that most of a team’s rating at the start of a season is based on its previous season. This is useful when trying to estimate a team’s quality early on, but for assessing individual seasons, it unfairly dings teams that rose to greatness after a terrible year. For our season calculations, “average” and “peak” Elo calculations start at game 40.So who comes out on top? The 1906 Cubs have the highest peak Elo, but because of their World Series loss, they rate as the second-best team since 1903, behind the 1939 New York Yankees. We ranked all 2,374 team-seasons from 1903 to 2015 — you can explore them below: –MIN1933Washington Senators157774 –NYM1986New York Mets1580✓62 –DET1935Detroit Tigers1585✓43 –OAK1911Philadelphia Athletics1607✓7 –KC1977Kansas City Royals1560213 –CIN1934Cincinnati Reds143669 –TB2002Tampa Bay Devil Rays144296 –TEX2011Texas Rangers1568141 GRAPHIC: We calculated Elo ratings after every game in MLB history — more than 400,000 ratings in total. Explore every team’s history » –TB2012Tampa Bay Rays1558237 –HOU1998Houston Astros1572110 –PHI2011Philadelphia Phillies157776 –PIT1909Pittsburgh Pirates1609✓4 –ARI2002Arizona Diamondbacks1564166 –CLE1915Cleveland Indians1451156 Every MLB franchise’s best season, 1903-2015 –CIN1976Cincinnati Reds1595✓23 –SF1985San Francisco Giants1461251 * 1994 World Series was not played –CLE1954Cleveland Indians159424 Our Elo ratings find that the league was a bit more top-heavy in its earlier decades. If you scan through the top of the list, you’ll notice that most of the best seasons since 1903 happened more than 50 years ago — in fact, 71 of the 100 best seasons fall before 1960. The New York Yankees’ insane dominance in the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s is responsible for a lot of this imbalance. Twenty-five of the 100 best seasons are Yankees seasons from those decades: –SEA2001Seattle Mariners159034 –BOS1912Boston Red Sox1584✓46 –NYM1962New York Mets1398✓3 –STL1908St. Louis Cardinals143251 –BOS1932Boston Red Sox141412 –WSH1994Montreal Expos1561*208 –SD1969San Diego Padres1419✓23 –BAL1911St. Louis Browns141715 –SD1998San Diego Padres1543480 –CHW1932Chicago White Sox143561 –CHC1906Chicago Cubs16202 –WSH1969Montreal Expos1421✓25 FRANCH.TEAMCOMP. ELO1ST YEAR?RANK AMONG WORST TEAMS EVER The 2003 Detroit Tigers lost 119 games, winning five of their last six to avoid the 120-loss modern record set by the 1962 Mets in their first season as a franchise. Elo isn’t fooled, though — the 2003 Tigers had a slightly worse run differential than the 1962 Mets and have a slightly lower rating here. The 1904 Washington Senators, now the Twins, were even more terrible according to Elo, going 38-113 (the equivalent of a 121-loss modern 162-game season). Angels fans probably don’t look back on the 91-loss 1969 season too fondly, but, compared with the other franchises’ lousiest seasons ever, it’s not a bad low point, ranking just 279th-worst.So what will come in 2016? The Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds have had a rough start and could make a run at new Elo lows for their franchises. But the real team to watch is the Chicago Cubs, who have started the season at 24-6 with an incredible +102 run differential. It’s a hard pace to keep up, but if they do, the Cubs could make a run at becoming one of the greatest teams of all time.See the complete history of every MLB team.Check out our latest MLB predictions. –COL1993Colorado Rockies1444✓105 –MIL1969Seattle Pilots1443✓103 –TEX1973Texas Rangers143144 –MIA1993Florida Marlins1449✓146 –BAL1970Baltimore Orioles1600✓19 –HOU2013Houston Astros142535 –ARI2004Arizona Diamondbacks1449143 –SF1905New York Giants1601✓13 –PIT1953Pittsburgh Pirates141819 –ATL1911Boston Rustlers14149 –LAA1969California Angels1464279 –MIA2003Florida Marlins1537✓601 –MIN1904Washington Senators13871 The 1939 Yankees and 1906 Cubs are in a league of their own, more than 10 Elo points ahead of the other franchises. The Marlins have only been around since 1993, but it’s still sort of sad that their best team ever (World Series champions no less!) is just the 601st-best team ever. The Colorado Rockies, a franchise that was also born in 1993, are about as sad, but without the World Series rings. The San Diego Padres have had a much longer commitment to mediocrity; the franchise’s best team in its 47 seasons of existence comes in at No. 480. Fans of the Braves, Dodgers, Red Sox, Tigers, White Sox, Twins and Phillies may also be disappointed by their team’s position in this list. All seven franchises go back to 1903, but none of their teams in the last 113 seasons have come close to cracking the top 25.But great seasons aren’t the only way to be an exceptional baseball team. Here’s every MLB franchise’s worst squad ever: –TOR1979Toronto Blue Jays141922 –TOR2015Toronto Blue Jays1565161 Every MLB franchise’s worst season, 1903-2015 –COL2007Colorado Rockies1537596 read more

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Ever since the steroid era, baseball fans have been cautious about reading too much into unexpected leaps in player performance. Today’s jaded rooters assume that performance-enhancing drugs are to blame, somehow, whenever a player experiences a breakout or the league undergoes a transformation. So it’s no surprise that, with home runs flying out of parks at nearly an all-time high in 2016, many have reacted by assigning the responsibility to some undetectable new PED.After exhaustive consideration, my former FiveThirtyEight colleague Ben Lindbergh and I concluded that the most likely culprit for 2016’s home run explosion is a change to the construction of the ball. Still, given MLB’s lengthy history with PEDs, I thought it was worth revisiting whether a chemical explanation could possibly shed light on the most recent offensive uptick. And there are some similarities between the steroid era and the present — but 2016’s home run explosion is also missing a few key characteristics that defined the steroid era.One of main reasons PEDs seem an unlikely explanation for baseball’s recent offensive surge is the suddenness with which home runs increased. The league’s rate of homers per game began climbing around the 2015 All-Star break, and this year it’s risen more than 30 percent compared with 2014. In theory, PEDs make their way into the game slowly, with knowledge being passed between players over the course of years, but changes to the game’s equipment could drive a more rapid increase. A new supply of slightly altered game balls would affect all players in the league at once, so even a small modification to the ball’s properties could produce a massive statistical change across MLB. Given the quick, drastic shift we’ve seen in home run rates, a change to the ball appears to require fewer leaps in logic: players take time to become juiced, but balls can become juiced immediately.To further investigate whether the ball — and not PEDs — explains MLB’s quick home run increase these past two seasons, I compared the steroid era with a handful of other times in history when the ball’s construction is known to have changed. Although the build of the modern ball has been nominally consistent since 1976, MLB has an extensive history of openly altering the ball in earlier epochs. The first alteration in baseball’s modern era (since 1901) was the introduction of the cork-core ball in 1910, after which the league’s batting average jumped 17 points. In 1943, wartime rubber shortages forced manufacturers to make baseballs with a substitute called balata, which had different elastic properties. Runs per game fell that season by 0.17, before rebounding by 0.26 runs per game in 1945, when the balls reverted to rubber cores. And in 1974, the surface of the ball changed from horsehide to cowhide, without much discernible impact on the league’s overall statistics.In addition to the times in MLB’s history in which the league has admitted to altering the ball, conspiracy theorists have posited numerous other instances in which the league may have modified the sphere in secret. Perhaps the most intriguing parallel to the current home-run increase came in the late 1980s, when Rawlings, MLB’s official baseball manufacturer, shifted production from Haiti to Costa Rica after the collapse of Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier’s regime. From 1988 to 1990, baseballs were produced in both countries before the Costa Rican facility took over completely. Over that period, slugging percentage immediately fell by nearly 40 points, taking seven years to creep back back toward its 1987 level. This production switch is especially intriguing because of shake-ups at Rawlings in the middle of 2015: although it didn’t change where the balls are manufactured, it did move part of its factory operations and laid off 200 employees.To get a better sense of whether MLB’s current offensive spike more closely resembles the steroid era or one of the times the ball changed, I charted home runs per plate appearance around a few of the historical instances of known ball-tinkering, as well as the midpoint of the steroid era. The gap between the best home run hitters in the league and the average was never wider than in 1998, the midpoint of the PED era in terms of average hitter age, according to our definition above. Looking at the list of hitters that year, it’s not hard to tell why: Three of the top five hitters in home runs per plate appearance (minimum 300 PAs) were Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco, all of whom later admitted or were alleged to have used PEDs. The second largest gap occurs in 2001, and features Bonds, McGwire and Sosa at the top of the list.Meanwhile, contemporary HR rates for the best hitters have increased in lockstep with the MLB average. The difference between the top five current hitters’ HR/PA and the average in the last two years has been about the same as the norm across MLB’s history.5Specifically, the top five from 2015 ranked in the 55th percentile of all years, and 2016 ranks in the 25th percentile. And while the rate of HR/PA across the league has never been higher than today, the rate of the top five lags far behind that of the steroid era. MLB’s recent offensive explosion has seen the average hitter perform significantly better without creating a new wave of outliers.That extraordinary evenness with which MLB’s latest HR surge has affected all players is maybe the best reason to discard the steroid explanation. The start of the steroid era was associated with a massive jump in home runs, but it affected some hitters more than others. Even most steroid users didn’t turn into musclebound hulks, but for those who did, the results were sometimes extraordinary. The recent offensive surge, on the other hand, has been both sudden and uniform across the league, resembling previous times in MLB’s history when the ball changed. Although historical comparisons like this cannot definitively prove that the ball is different now, they do suggest that whatever is causing the ball to fly farther is affecting all hitters equally.Check out our latest MLB predictions. Most historical instances of the ball changing were accompanied by rather dramatic shifts in HR/PA, which helps confirm that the makeup of the baseball can indeed influence power rates.1It’s worth noting that many of the largest jumps had dips immediately preceding them, suggesting either efforts by MLB to correct the ball’s performance or simple regression to the mean. And 2016 currently holds the second-largest two-year shift in HR/PA since 1901. Then again, the largest change came in 1994, at the very beginning of the steroid era. (It’s impossible to precisely date the onset of PEDs in the game, but the massive increase in home runs, coupled with changes in the productivity of older hitters and an increase in outlier seasons at the same time, suggests that 1994 is as reasonable a guess for its beginning as any.)2Also, both 1994 and 2016 may have slightly elevated HR rates due to our data not including September, when home runs tend to be slightly less frequent. Even so, the addition of September would be expected to change the home run frequency by less than 1 percent, so any adjustment wouldn’t meaningfully affect the results. But although that means PEDs could also explain the current offensive leap, the start of the steroid era came with a number of other statistical changes that aren’t being repeated in 2015 and 2016.In addition to the dramatic rise in home runs per plate appearance, one of the hallmarks of the PED era was a jump in the average age of hitters. Instead of withering away, many older hitters remained productive into their late 30s and early 40s, in some cases putting up their best seasons toward the end of their careers. (We’re looking at you, Barry.) MLB’s average plate appearance-weighted age in 2005 was 29.3, the second-highest history behind 1945, when many young would-be players were at war. Most of the top 10 years for weighted player age, whether you weight by wins above replacement or by plate appearances, are either within the steroid era or around World War II.By contrast, the average age of hitters hasn’t undergone much of an increase between 2014 and 2016. If anything, it’s gone down: last year featured the lowest WAR-weighted age since 1990, and while that number has ticked upward slightly in 2016, it’s still only level with 2013 and below 2014.3 Probably some of the blame for the year-over-year increase lies with the slowing pace of MLB games, a factor which disproportionately aids older hitters. The 1994 season, which saw the largest jump in HR/PA, also saw a 0.75-year increase in WAR-weighted age relative to 1992. At least so far, there has been no significant increase in older players’ value as there was in the steroid era.Finally, we can look at parity between players, since one of the PED era’s defining features was the profound imbalance between the chemically-altered juggernauts like Barry Bonds and the average player. Not only did the rate of home runs increase across the league, but the top players in particular saw their dingers increase by an astounding degree. Record-breaking outlier seasons, like the famous 1998 single-season home run chase between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, became almost common. Roger Maris’s all-time record of 61 homers, which had stood for 37 years, was exceeded six times from 1998-2001.To measure this outlier effect in the steroid era, I calculated HR/PA for the top five home-run hitters in baseball each season.4There’s nothing special about the top five, but I got similar results when I used the top 10, 15, 20 and 25 hitters each year. I’m not necessarily assuming that all of the top five were PED-users, but if there were artificially-enhanced players in the top five, they acted to drive the highest HR/PA rates even higher. read more

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Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue questions an official’s call during a game on Feb. 8 at in Cleveland, Ohio. Credit: Courtesy of TNSAlthough it may be a microcosm for the performance of the team in an entire final’s series, the first game of the 2016 NBA finals was a rocky one for the men of the Wine and Gold.A severe lack of bench scoring and minimal output by key team members led to the Cleveland Cavaliers dropping the game 104-89 to the Golden State Warriors. Golden State only really seemed to be challenged mid-way through the third, when Cleveland took its first and only lead of the game.45 bench points by the Warriors, 20 of which came from veteran guard Shaun Livingston, and just nine team turnovers made easy work of a fully healthy Cleveland squad. After having so many hopes running high that the starters were at full power this year, it would seem the Cavs are in trouble after the opening frame of the finals.Game 2While the Cavaliers have had a tendency to bounce back from ugly losses all season, it is worth noting how impressive the Warriors home record has been. Golden State is 39-2 at Oracle Arena this season, and has more than once pummeled teams in back-to-back appearances. In order to regain momentum and even the series at one apiece, there has to be more output from shooting guard JR Smith and the bench. Combined, the entire bench and Smith only picked up 13 of Cleveland’s 89 points. Channing Frye, picked up by Cleveland earlier in the season to solidifying the bench with a scoring big man at power forwards, played just seven minutes.During that time, he missed the only shot he took, grabbed only one rebound, and made two free throws. If the Cavs want to make a bigger impact tonight, the Smith and Frye have to pick up more points in Game 2. Forward Lebron James had an overall solid performance, and was only one assist shy of a triple-double.Look for point guard and unanimous MVP Steph Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson to return to form in the next game. Combined, the Splash Brothers had just 20 points, a fairly anemic number compared to the numbers put up by the team during the course of the season. The Cavaliers will look to correct the mistakes of Game 1, the biggest being guarding Curry and Thompson, but forgetting about the rest of the team.Although the competition will be close, it seems the momentum earned by the Warriors paired with the success they have had at home spells trouble for Cleveland. Game 2 prediction: Golden State 111, Cleveland 101.Looking aheadDepending on if the Cavs fight back or experience another night of head scratching performances will dictate the rest of the finals.If the Warriors do pull ahead 2-0, it would most likely lead to the end of the title hopes to ‘Believeland,’ and could very well drive James out of Cleveland once again. But, if the Cavaliers claw their way back, look for fireworks when the Warriors come to Cleveland. All eyes will be on Game 2, which is slated for June 5 at 9 p.m at Oracle Arena read more

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) avoids the sack during a game against the Denver Broncos Sept. 23 at Sports Authority Field. Denver won, 37-21.Credit: Courtesy of MCTIt is a day some people saw as unlikely, and others saw as imminent: Terrelle Pryor has a starting quarterback job in the NFL.The former Ohio State signal caller is most known around Columbus for his involvement in the 2011 NCAA violations, known as “Tattoo-Gate,” in which he was found to have sold memorabilia and received improper benefits.Pryor was named the Oakland Raiders starter coming out of training camp, beating out Matt Flynn, who the organization traded for in the offseason as well as 2013 NFL Draft pick Matt McGloin.However, three games into a season is usually the time to assess one’s play, especially the offensive leader of a 1-2 team.In his first start of 2013 (Pryor’s first career start came in a 2012 Week 17 loss in place of an injured Carson Palmer), Pryor and the Raiders fell to Indianapolis, 21-17, thanks to Andrew Luck’s game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Pryor’s gutsy performance earned him national recognition however, as his 112 rushing yards led the league that day, running backs included.The following week brought Pryor his first career victory in a sloppy game all around. The Raiders beat the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars 19-9, while Pryor passed for just 126 yards.The third-round pick of the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft had his best statistical outing on Monday night in a lopsided loss to Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos. Despite being the matchup’s lesser quarterback, Pryor notched respectable career highs as a starter in passing yards (281), completion percentage (67.9) and passer rating (112.4).Pryor has ample opportunity to improve his numbers and reverse his team’s fortune in the coming weeks, as five of Oakland’s next six opponents currently sport losing records.If Pryor struggles through this stretch, expect Raider coach Dennis Allen to hand the offense’s reigns over to backup Flynn. The former Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson backup, who is guaranteed $6.5 million from the Raiders this season according to the San Francisco Chronicle, is once again holding a clipboard on the sideline.A big hit late Monday night against Denver left Pryor with a concussion; he is currently listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Washington. If unable to play, Flynn will get a chance to prove himself in front of the Raider faithful.It will be interesting to see how Pryor leads the Raiders moving forward. Whether in fantasy football or in real life it is hard to deny that the Jeanette, Pa., quarterback is fun to watch. That is, of course, if you’ve forgiven him for his role in “Tattoo-Gate.” read more

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The OSU men’s tennis team celebrates winning the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship against USC Feb. 17 at the Met and the Galleria Tennis and Athletic Club. OSU won, 4-1.Courtesy of OSU athleticsAfter coming close each of the previous three seasons, the members of the Ohio State men’s tennis team can finally call themselves indoor champions.Playing in their fourth match against a ranked opponent in as many days, the No. 5 Buckeyes defeated No. 3 USC 4-1 Monday afternoon to claim the ITA Men’s Team Indoor Championship in Houston.Starting the match off strong for the Buckeyes, the No. 2-ranked duo of senior Peter Kobelt and redshirt-junior Kevin Metka defeated senior Ray Sarmiento and junior Yannick Hanfmann, 6-4.Redshirt-sophomore Chris Diaz and redshirt-freshman Ralf Steinbach then defeated junior Eric Johnson and sophomore Max de Vroome 6-4 to capture the doubles point for the Buckeyes. Diaz and Steinbach had not won a doubles match the whole weekend, but came up big when it mattered most.“We were able to set the tone early on and Steinbach and Diaz fought back with five straight points in doubles to get it started,” OSU coach Ty Tucker said after the win, according to a press release. “We rode Metka and Kobelt hard at No. 1 all weekend and they were able to win all of their matches for us.”Kobelt called earning the doubles point “huge.”“We didn’t get the first point against Virginia and we are a much better team when we win in doubles. I know I had to play at my best for us to win vs. USC,” Kobelt said, according to the release. “This trophy we are bringing back is for all the former members that have played at Ohio State. This is a great accomplishment.”Redshirt-junior Hunter Callahan and Kobelt set the pace in singles as both took on higher-ranked opponents, but did not yield.Callahan was off first after beating No. 47-ranked junior Johnny Wang 6-3, 6-4. Kobelt, ranked No. 23, followed suit defeating No. 7 Sarmiento by the same mark.Diaz lost to No. 16 Hanfmann 6-5 (7-4), 6-3 to give the Trojans one point, but Steinbach squashed any hope of a comeback by beating freshman Connor Farren 6-5 (7-4), 6-4 to clinch the championship for the Buckeyes.“To help the team clinch the match is an unbelievable feeling,” Steinbach said, according to the release. “I was up a set and playing good tennis then I realized after Peter won, I had a chance to serve for the title. I was a little nervous. The deciding point came down to a volley and I was aggressive at the net and was able to place a good shot for the clinching point.”It is the first indoor national title for the Buckeyes in program history, who had to defeat some of the nation’s best on the way.OSU took down No. 12 Florida, No. 10 Texas and No. 1 Virginia in consecutive days to set up its championship tilt with the Trojans (7-1).“When you beat two teams back-to-back that have been dominating college tennis the last five years, it’s a great accomplishment,” Tucker said in a released statement. “Everyone is playing for the team and the only thing that matters to these guys is that Ohio State wins.”At 13-0, this is the best start in program history, and with already one national championship in hand, expectations are likely to be sky high for the remainder of the season.The Buckeyes are next scheduled to play Notre Dame at South Bend, Ind. Saturday. First serve is set for noon. read more

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Ohio State players celebrate after a goal by junior forward Kevin Miller. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Lantern reporterThe No. 15 Ohio State men’s hockey team (20-10-6, 11-8-1-1) capped off its first 20-win season since 2008-09 with a sweep on the road at No. 16 Wisconsin (19-14-1, 12-8-0-0) this weekend. The two wins put the Buckeyes in a favorable spot for an NCAA tournament at-large bid heading into the Big Ten tournament.Game 1Two-point games from senior forward David Gust, senior defenseman Drew Brevig and sophomore forward Mason Jobst propelled the Buckeyes to a 5-1 thrashing of the Badgers in Game 1 of the series.Sophomore forwards Dakota Joshua and Miguel Fidler also added a goal each in the victory, and senior goalkeeper Matt Tompkins chipped in with 28 saves.Buckeyes had 5 goals scorers in the 5-1 win at Wisconsin tonight. https://t.co/BUzKcRXrD2 #GoBucks— Ohio State Men’s Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) March 11, 2017Nearly nine minutes into the first period, OSU opened the game’s scoring as Brevig cashed in on a deflection for his second goal of the season. Minutes later, it was Brevig on the assist, as he fired a pass to a streaking Gust and the associate captain buried his 16th goal of the year into the top corner past Wisconsin freshman goaltender Jack Berry to put the visitors up 2-0 after the first 20 minutes.Seven minutes into the second, it was the Scarlet and Gray again. Gust centered a backhand pass to a waiting Joshua and, despite finding himself in traffic, the forward one-timed a shot into the back of the net to give OSU a 3-0 advantage. A little over two minutes later, the Badgers got on the board as junior forward Matt Ustaski scored on a the powerplay to cut the Buckeye lead to two.However, that would be the first and last time the home side scored on the night. With 5:38 remaining, Jobst’s drive to the net and shot was denied by Berry. The rebound, however, found the stick of Fidler, who tapped in his fourth goal of the season to make it a 4-1 OSU lead. In the final frame, Jobst scored one of his own, as the Speedway, Indiana, native wristed a rocket into the net to put his side up 5-1 with his second point of the night and 49th of the season. After 60 minutes on the ice, the Scarlet and Gray easily took the opening game of the weekend series in dominating fashion.Game 2OSU ended the final weekend of the regular season with a 3-1 win to cap off a sweep on the road at the Kohl Center. The Buckeyes’ penalty kill sealed the victory for the visitors in the weekend finale, as Wisconsin capitalize just once in six attempts on the powerplay in the loss.Jobst, junior forward Kevin Miller and sophomore forward Brendon Kearney all scored in the game for the Scarlet and Gray, as well as another great performance between the pipes from Tompkins, registering 27 saves.Fresh off his final period goal and two-point night in Game One, Jobst returned to form with the first goal of the series finale Saturday night. On the powerplay, the sophomore fired a shot from the slot past Berry to put OSU up 1-0 early in the first period, and eventually into the locker room. The goal marked Jobst’s 50th point of the regular season — the first such season by a Buckeye since R.J. Umberger in 2002-2003.Ten minutes into the second frame, the Scarlet and Gray added to their lead. Gust carried the puck through the neutral zone before passing to Joshua on the right. Joshua fired a pass across the ice to Miller, who wristed his shot into the opposite side of the net and past Berry to double the Buckeye lead, 2-0, on his 11th goal of the season.With a little over four minutes remaining in the second period, Wisconsin entered its third powerplay of the contest searching for an answer to their recent scoring drought — but it was OSU again adding to its lead.Jobst carried the puck through neutral ice on a two-on-one before lifting a pinpoint saucer pass to a speeding Kearney, and the defender quickly gathered himself and buried just his second goal of the season to give the Buckeyes a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the final intermission of the regular season.Jobst with the pass, Kearney with the finish for the Buckeye shorthanded goal. https://t.co/z6g1opiE0F #GoBucks #BTNStandout— Ohio State Men’s Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) March 12, 2017Out of the break, the Badgers searched for a way to get back into the crucial conference clash. With 15:24 remaining, the hosts received a glimmer of hope as Ustaski netted his second goal of the weekend to cut the OSU lead to two. However, after further review, the forward was called offsides on the play — nullifying the goal.With a little over eight minutes remaining in the third, Wisconsin finally got on the board on its sixth powerplay of the night, as sophomore forward and captain Luke Kunin fired a rocket into the top corner to make it a 3-1 Scarlet and Gray lead.Up NextThe Buckeyes now enter the Big Ten tournament as the No. 3 seed, where they will take on the No. 6 seeded Michigan State Spartans for a third time in three weeks. Puck drop from Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, on Thursday, March 16 is slated for either 4:30 or 8 p.m. read more

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first_imgHenry Lytton Cobbold, Bulwer-Lytton’s great-great-great grandson, stumbled across the tale – itself worthy of a Gothic romance – as he explored the mausoleum at Knebworth Park.Here he discovered that one of the seven coffins inside had been wrenched open – probably by thieves looking for lead – and was found to contain the skeleton of a slight young girl.Mr Lytton Cobbold established that this was the body of Bulwer-Lytton’s daughter Emily, who died in mysterious circumstances at the age of 19, alone in a London boarding house in 1848.The discovery launched him on a 17-year quest to establish the truth about Emily, a quest which has now culminated with Mr Lytton Cobbold publishing a two-volume biography of the teenager. Henry Lytton Cobbold, Bulwer-Lytton’s great-great-great grandson, at the mausoleum at Knebworth Park Emily was the product of his marriage to Rosina Doyle Wheeler, a beautiful but troubled Irish wit and writer who would today probably have been diagnosed as bi-polar.In June 1858, when her husband – who had taken her two children from her – was standing as parliamentary candidate for Hertfordshire, she appeared at the hustings to denounce him. Bulwer-Lytton had her committed to a lunatic asylum, but she was freed a few weeks later following a public outcry.Emily, a bright, bookish girl, appears to have been left traumatised by her parents’ bitter battles and the social stigma of her mother’s instability.Exiled from her warring parents, Emily led a peripatetic life, travelling across Ireland, Germany, and at one stage staying at provincial military barracks across England and Scotland.“The circumstances of her life in those final weeks were devastating. Her final words in her journal suggest she lost the will to live and that she’d rather be with her God,” Mr Lytton-Cobbold told the Telegraph.He unearthed Emily’s long-forgotten letters in the Knebworth House archives, cross-written in a small, labyrinthine script and left unread since the 1840s.Henry,  who has worked as a Hollywood screenwriter, is the 19th generation of the Lytton family to live at Knebworth House, which he now runs with his wife Martha.But though he is happily married and a teetotaller, far from the louche demi-monde lifestyle of his ancestor, he appears to have inherited some of his forebears’ bohemian tastes.He is well-known for his interest in erotica and naturism and in 2001 wrote a novella called “Wearing a Smile: A Romantic Comedy About Nudity”. He lies among the greats in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner; a novelist and playwright who coined such memorable phrases as “the great unwashed”, “the pen is mightier than the sword” and the opening line “it was a dark and stormy night”.However, the Victorian writer and statesman Edward Bulwer-Lytton – whose popularity at one stage rivalled even that of Charles Dickens, but has since languished in obscurity – hid a terrible secretBulwer-Lytton’s teenage daughter Emily is now thought to have been driven to suicide by an existential crisis, brought on in part by her troubled relationship with her womanising father and embarrassment over her own affairs, one with a 15-year-old boy.This startling conclusion was made by one of Bulwer-Lytton’s aristocratic descendants after he visited her tomb at the family seat of Knebworth House. The Victorian writer and statesman Edward Bulwer-LyttonCredit: Robert James Ryder Bulwer-Lytton’s plays and great sprawling novels are now largely forgotten, but in his day he was more widely read than Dickens or Sir Walter Scott and had acquired the reputation of a dandy and philanderer. Growing up at Knebworth in the 1970s gave Mr Lytton Cobbold a ringside seat, as his parents Lord and Lady Cobbold, desperate to prevent the house and park from being sold to pay death duties, opened it to the public with a string of legendary rock festivals, visitor attractions and film shoots.During one festival, his mother Chryssie famously guarded the door separating the police from the parlour where Pink Floyd were enjoying a riotous, drugs-fuelled after-party.* Henry Lytton Cobbold’s two volume book “In the bosom of her father: the life and death of Emily Bulwer Lytton.” is published by The 39 Production Company Ltd, price £80. Emily suffered from curvature of the spine and was treated by the pioneering German doctor Jacob Heine, who discovered she had polio.Her cause of her death was officially given as typhus and indeed Mr Lytton Cobbold initially feared the virus might still have been virulent when he found her damaged casket.But he now believes that – despairing of her fate and circumstances – she took her own life by ingesting large amounts of the laudanum she had been prescribed for toothache.Her family would have subsequently covered up the true cause of death, as taking one’s own life was still illegal up until 1961.Mr Lytton Cobbold, 54, said: “She continued taking laudanum and, I believe it affected her mind. Her worsening relationship with her father and fears that she might be turning into her mother, led to what I suspect was suicide.  “Certainly her life fell apart in April 1848 in so many ways that if you shoehorned them into a novel you simply wouldn’t believe it.”Mr Lytton Cobbold said the discovery of Emily’s coffin left a deep impression on him.“Encountering my great-great-great-aunt’s skeleton was an extraordinary moment,” he said. “The curvature of the spine was evident, and, hauntingly, her skull had tipped back revealing her teeth. “With the shroud still covering her eyes it looked as though she were at the dentist. To me this was Emily giving us the root of her mystery – the laudanum she was prescribed as a teenager for toothache.”  center_img The Victorian writer and statesman Edward Bulwer-Lytton A wreath on Emily's coffin at the mausoleum in Knebworth Park Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mr Lytton Cobbold’s daughter Morwenna was a successful model and is now a DJ and fashion commercials producer, while his son Ed is a rock guitarist and music promoter and will one day inherit Knebworth, famed for its rock festivals. A wreath on Emily’s coffin at the mausoleum in Knebworth ParkCredit:Henry Lytton Cobbold Henry Lytton Cobbold, Bulwer-Lytton’s great-great-great grandson, at the mausoleum at Knebworth ParkCredit:Robert James Ryderlast_img read more

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