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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-23-2015

Pittsburgh Press, April 23, 1915:

If J. Franklin Baker goes through with his determination to play with the Upland [Pennsylvania] team of the Delaware County league it will in all probability mean that he will never be permitted to play in organized baseball again.

“Baker can’t make a fool out of me,” said [Connie] Mack, “and if he thinks that he can have a little jaunt in the Delaware County league and then at his pleasure report to me and expect to find a place on my team, he has made the mistake of his life.
...
“Baker made a solemn statement to the public in which he said he was quitting baseball because he didn’t like traveling. Yet, in the face of this, he signs a contract with Upland. He will return to Trappe [Maryland] after playing his game with Upland, I have read.

“I went from Philadelphia to Trappe once, and I want to tell you that it was the hardest, weariest trip I ever took. I would much prefer to take a ride to St. Louis than to Trappe.

I get the impression that Baker was lying when he said traveling was the problem. Seems to me he probably saw how terrible the Athletics were going to be for the next few years, didn’t want to deal with it, had enough money to walk away, and didn’t want to embarrass Mack in the process.

As for the Trappe to Upland jaunt, it’s nearly two hours by car in 2015, so I can’t imagine how long the drive would have taken in 1915. 4-5 hours maybe? Mack’s right; that would not have been a fun commute.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-17-2015

Washington Times, February 17, 1915:

Fans [in Philadelphia] stand amazed at the official announcement from Connie Mack that J. Franklin Baker, the famous home run slugger, hero of every world’s series he has played in except the last, has quit baseball.
...
[Connie Mack says] “There has been no disagreement over salary terms with Baker. He has just simply decided to quit, that’s all.”
...
Baker’s real reason for quitting baseball is that he prefers to remain on his big farm at Trappe, Md. Mrs. Baker, particularly since the death of their children, has been urging him to stay home with her, instead of traveling around the country with the Athletics.

Most sources, including SABR, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and contemporary newspapers, suggest that Mack is stretching the truth here. According to those reports, Baker wanted to renegotiate his contract as a result of Mack selling off most of the team, Mack declined to do so, and neither was willing to budge.

After the 1915 season, under pressure from Ban Johnson to get one of the American League’s star players back on the field, Mack sold Baker to the Yankees.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: February 17, 2015 at 08:42 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: connie mack, dugout, history, home run baker

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-7-2015

Grand Forks Daily Herald, January 7, 1915:

It is an open secret that Connie Mack felt compelled to rid the Athletics of Eddie Collins to restore some measure of harmony to the team. And it is generally understood that the discord which Connie seeks to alleviate was caused by Eddie Collins’ ill-advised newspaper articles, in which he disclosed team secrets, and thus, in the opinion of his fellow-players, put them under a handicap.
...
The authorities of the American league recognized the evil and sought to suppress it, but evidently Mr. Collins held himself above authority and proceeded with his labors as an author.

Looks like the team-instigated hatchet job is at least 100 years old today.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: January 07, 2015 at 08:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: connie mack, dugout, eddie collins, history

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-3-2014

Connie Mack responds to Eddie Plank signing with the Federal League, Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 3, 1914:

“I wish him the best of luck,” said Connie Mack [last night], when told that Eddie Plank had signed a Federal League contract.

“Are you sorry to see him go?” Mack was asked.

“Oh, no,” he replied. “I was through with him. He was after the money, and he was willing to go to the Federals…He was a wonderful pitcher and he is a good one yet.”
...
Mack startled the baseball world shortly after the world’s series by announcing he had asked waivers on Plank, [Chief] Bender, and [Jack] Coombs.

Plank, as you might expect, dominated the inferior talent in the Federal League in 1915, winning 21 games while leading the league in ERA+, FIP, WHIP, HR/9, BB/9, and K/BB ratio.

Gettysburg Eddie still had it when the Federals imploded and he came back to the American League as a 40-year-old, putting up a 125 ERA+ in 366.2 innings in two seasons before retiring.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: December 03, 2014 at 08:50 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: connie mack, dugout, eddie plank, history

Monday, December 01, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-1-2014

Washington Herald, December 1, 1914:

A baseball trade between the New York and Philadelphia American League clubs, involving Ray Caldwell, of the Yankees, and Rube Oldring and Jack Lapp, of the Athletics, is under consideration, according to reports published [in New York yesterday].

President Ban Johnson, of the American League, is said to have urged Connie Mack while on a recent visit East to arrange the deal with the double purpose of saving Caldwell from the Federal League, with which he is reported to have signed for next season, and of strengthening the New York club for the good of the circuit.

The trade never happened, but Connie did spend the winter of 1914-1915 strengthening other ballclubs. The Athletics, winners of four pennants and three World Series between 1910-1914, suddenly dumped virtually their entire roster and lost 109 games in 1915.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-25-2014

Milwaukee Journal, November 25, 1914:

Connie Mack opines the reason he did not congratulate George Stallings after the world’s series was fear that Stallings would hit him on the nose. His fears were useless. Stallings hit a more vital spot—the pocketbook.

Stallings did threaten to punch Mack in the nose before the series.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: November 25, 2014 at 08:39 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: connie mack, dugout, george stallings, history

 

 

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