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Dugout Newsbeat

Friday, June 23, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-23-2017

Chicago Eagle, June 23, 1917:

The force-out of a runner at the plate on a ball that dropped in the outfield is the remarkable play made in a recent game between the Phillies and Cubs. With the bases full, and one out, Mann of the Cubs poked the ball to center field…[Gavy Cravath] caught the ball on the first bounce, and, actuated by almost a sixth sense, he hurled the ball straight to Catcher Killifer and forced out Doyle, hot-footing it from third.

I’ve seen 9-3 putouts at first base before, but never an 8-2 fielder’s choice. Unfortunately, it couldn’t have happened as described. Cravath had zero assists as a center fielder during Les Mann’s big league career. Maybe there was a 9-2 fielder’s choice involving Cravath and Mann, but there certainly was not an 8-2 fielder’s choice.

Also, I should mention that there’s a doubleheader “tonight” at Fenway. Babe Ruth is pitching the first game for Boston and Walter Johnson is pitching the second game for Washington. I bet something interesting happens in at least one of the games.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 23, 2017 at 10:41 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fake news, history

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-22-2017

Butte Post, June 22, 1917:

Haunted, it is said, by fear of life in the European trenches, Walter Mails unceremoniously quit the Portland Coast League baseball club to accept a job at one-half the salary in a Seattle shipbuilding plant.

The eccentric southpaw pitcher’s friends assert that he quit the club because W. W. McCredie refused to guarantee his full salary to the close of the Coast league season.
...
Judge McCredie says Mails told him he didn’t want to fight and as he could make $6 a day as a helper and ballplayer in the Seattle shipyards he intended to jump his contract.
...
“He’s crazy,” said Walter McCredie. “They’ll be calling him ‘slacker’ and he will not make half the money over there he could make here.”

Tough to blame a guy for choosing to work in a shipbuilding plant in Seattle instead of a trench in the Argonne Forest.

Mails sat out the rest of 1917 and all of 1918 before returning to pro baseball in 1919. He became a Cleveland hero in 1920 when he went 7-0, 1.85, 208 ERA+ down the stretch for the AL champs, then threw 15.2 shutout innings as the Tribe won the World Series.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 22, 2017 at 10:26 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-21-2017

Butte Post, June 21, 1917:

The recent success of the Detroit team is attributed by the players to a new mascot, a dog, presented to Trainer Harry Tuthill by a friend in Boston. The pet, which carries the imposing name of Luckstone Little Boy Blue, indicative of a long line of pedigreed ancestors, answers to the name of “Spin” among the athletes, and is supposed to be a thoroughbred Boston terrier.

...tests have proved it can find the free lunch counter inside of four minutes from the time of entering any hotel.

That’s something we need to bring back: Official team dogs.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-20-2017

Washington Herald, June 20, 1917:

Ban Johnson, sweating under the published announcement that the Washington American League club was about to be removed, probably to Brooklyn, has denied that such a thought has entered his mind or the minds of his club owners.

In spite of Johnson’s statements, it may be stated with some authority that negotiations for the removal of the club not only have been started, but probably will be carried out next winter.

This is at least the second mention I’ve seen in the past few weeks about Griffith moving his ballclub. I don’t think I ever realized quite how close Washington was to losing its team this early.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 20, 2017 at 10:03 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, June 19, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-19-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 19, 1917:

WEST PENN UMPIRE NOT THROWN INTO THE CREEK

In the published account of the baseball game played between the Irwin and Pitcairn clubs in the West Penn league Saturday at the former place, it was stated that Umpire Scanlin was thrown into a creek by the fans.

Although there was a disturbance at the close of the game during which the Irwin fans rushed upon the field, no violence was done to the umpire…

I’ve done a bit of umpiring before and I know how difficult it is. I don’t condone violence, particularly over sporting events.

But if a group of people wanted to throw Joe West or C.B. Bucknor into a creek, taking care not to injure them, I might be into that.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 19, 2017 at 10:06 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, June 16, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-16-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, June 16, 1917:

Club owners in the Three-I League met [in Chicago] yesterday for the purpose of discussing the course to be pursued during the remainder of the baseball season. So far the season has been disastrous from a financial standpoint, due to the war and unfavorable weather, and some action must be taken at once to avoid further losses, according to President A.R. Tearney.
...
President Tearney has sent telegrams to thirteen minor league [sic] in various parts of the country, requesting them to discontinue their respective schedules after July 4.

I imagine the typical response would have been something like “You run your league, we’ll run ours.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 16, 2017 at 10:23 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-15-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 15, 1917:

“The amount of money that is wagered on baseball,” says Arnold Rothstein, “is grossly exaggerated. I find that there is little real betting on the daily games.”
...
“Baseball is not a good betting proposition, which may be just as well for the game.”

Rothstein went on to remark, “Please disperse. There is nothing to see here.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 15, 2017 at 10:02 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: betting on baseball, dugout, gambling, history

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-14-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 14, 1917:

Fort Smith, Ark., June 14.—Umpire Shaffer [escaped] from a mob of fans who took objections to his decisions in the game between Fort Smith and Muskogee by jumping into an auto and speeding to his hotel. The ball players ushered Shaffer from the diamond to the street.

The bad news is that the fans tried to attack the umpire. The good news is that the fans seem really emotionally invested in their local ballclub.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 14, 2017 at 10:05 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-13-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 13, 1917:

Adolfo Luque, Cuban ballplayer, who started in to make good as a pitcher, has given up hurling and is going in for outfielding because of his ability to hit the ball. Manager Clymer of the Louisville Colonels thinks so much of his ability that Luque is the only extra outfielder now carried on the club.

After hitting .225 as a position player with the 1917 Louisville Colonels, Luque went back to the mound and it was the right move. As a big league pitcher, he won two ERA championships, led the league in hits per nine innings three times, won 194 games, and earned two World Series rings.

Luque was a decent hitter for a pitcher (.227/.283/.291, 53 OPS+), but a great pitcher for a backup outfielder.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 13, 2017 at 10:04 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, two-way players

Monday, June 12, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-12-2017

Washington Times, June 12, 1917:

Kenneth Williams, who is starring in the outfield for the Portland, Ore., team in the Pacific Coast League, has been purchased by the Browns, and will be tried out next spring.

That worked out pretty well for the Browns.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 12, 2017 at 10:25 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-8-2017

Butte Daily Post, June 8, 1917:

Will Al Mamaux eat himself out of baseball?
...
He does not drink nor does he ordinarily keep late hours. But Mamaux eats anything any time and uses no judgment in his selection of the food. He is just as likely to make a night of lobster and ice cream as not and he eats much candy and rich foods which threaten to ruin his digestive organs.
...
If Mamaux eats himself out of baseball he will be following the example of Elmer Flick who ruined his stomach by heavy eating and was forced to give up what might have been a promising baseball career. Flick would eat a heavy meal before going out to play baseball. Most ball players eat only a little soup or a bowl of milk.

A bowl of milk? What are they, cats?

Also, Flick’s “might have been promising” career landed him in the Hall of Fame.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 08, 2017 at 10:21 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: cats, dugout, history

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-7-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 7, 1917:

Local fandom received with unmistakable joy the news that the veteran Hans Wagner had affixed his signature to a Pittsburg contract, and would play first base in today’s game with the Brooklyn Superbas at Forbes Field.
...
[Pirates owner Barney] Dreyfuss probably realized that he made a mistake when he offered the veteran a reduction in salary last winter. Despite all statements to the contrary, there is no doubt at all that it was this alone which caused John to refrain from making the training trip and signing his contract long ago.

The Pirates then tried to return Bunny Brief, who had been playing first base on a 30-day trial agreement, to Salt Lake City, but SLC essentially said “Nah, that’s cool, we don’t need him, just keep him for now.”

Brief eventually went to Louisville and spent a dozen years or so in the American Association, hitting .350 four times while blasting a bunch of home runs. I realize 1921 was smack dab in the middle of a sillyball era, but Bunny Brief hit .361 with 104 extra base hits for the KC Blues that season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 07, 2017 at 09:55 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, honus wagner

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-6-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 6, 1917:

If Hans Wagner has any intention of returning to baseball—and he seems to have, judging from the fact that he has been turning out every morning to practice with the Pirates—the fans are hopeful that he will sign a contract soon, and get into the game.
...
If he reports, it would not be at all surprising to see him covering first base. Bunny Brief is a fair man, but he has weaknesses which are becoming more apparent. He was credited with being a very quick thinker when he came here, but he has made several plays since joining the team which have left some doubt as to the rapidity of his thinking apparatus.

Honus did come back for one final season in 1917, and he was the closest thing to a starting first baseman that the Pirates had. Wagner hit .265/.337/.304 (95 OPS+) in 74 games.

On one hand, an awful team giving 263 plate appearances to a recently unretired 43-year-old isn’t going to move them towards a championship. On the other hand, if there was any athlete in any city at any time who had earned the right to do anything he wanted, it was Honus Wagner in Pittsburgh at the end of his career. He grew up just outside Pittsburgh, was the greatest player in the history of the National League, and the team had to do something to sell tickets.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 06, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, honus wagner

Monday, June 05, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-5-2017

Pittsburgh Press, June 5, 1917:

Rumor says today that the address of the Washington ball club is to be changed. Ban Johnson says there is nothing to the rumor.

Poor patronage at Washington, it is said, makes the transfer of the Senators to some other city imperative, and Baltimore, Brooklyn and Toronto have been mentioned.

Ban Johnson says: “The sentiment of the American league is to stick by Washington. I can say that the league would rather operate in Washington at a loss than elsewhere at a profit…”
...
The very latest whisper today names Pittsburg as the logical city for the location of the Washington franchise, providing the National league consents to further invasion of its territory.

The eventual choice, Minneapolis/St. Paul, would have been a completely reasonable destination as well. Combined, the Twin Cities had a population of 615,280 in the 1920 census. That’s bigger than Pittsburgh, Washington, and Cincinnati were at the time.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 05, 2017 at 10:48 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, relocation

Friday, June 02, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-2-2017

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, June 2, 1917:

Hank Gowdy, catcher and hero of the 1914 world’s series, [yesterday] gained the distinction of being the first ball player to relinquish voluntarily the luxurious life of a big league ball player to carry a rifle as a private in the Army. Gowdy [yesterday] left for his home in Columbus, O., to enlist.
...
His teammates were infested with the military fever by his decisive step and a day off, and Stallings fears others will follow suit.

Gowdy spent time on the front lines in France and missed two seasons in the prime of his baseball career. He returned to the army during World War II.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 02, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-1-2017

Washington Times, June 1, 1917:

BROWNS’ SLUGGERS USE NAILS IN BATS
...
According to the story, Sisler strolled up to the plate in the opening game of the recent series in St. Louis, and Leslie Nunamaker, catcher for the Yanks, noticed a few metal knobs at the end of the bat.
...
“But let me see it,” insisted the catcher. “I want to look at that row of tacks at the end.”

“They’re not tacks; they’re nails,” answered George. “This is my favorite bat, and I fixed it after breaking it in batting practice. There is nothing wrong with it.”

Nunamaker walked over to take a good look at the damaged part, but Sisler hurried back to the bat rack, where he selected another war club.
...
Shortly afterward Jacobson appeared with another ‘damaged bat,’ and once more Nunamaker spotted it. He asked to examine it but Jake…too ran back to the bench and used another bludgeon.

Welp, time to remove Sisler’s plaque from the Hall of Fame.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 01, 2017 at 10:09 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: cheating, dugout, history

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-31-2017

Tucumcari News, May 31, 1917, an American soldier tells of organizing a baseball team alongside British soldiers on the front lines at the Somme:

...our first baseman, a Welshman, found an old German hand grenade of the ‘hairbrush’ variety. Being an ardent souvenir hunter, he proceeded to get busy on that bomb with the point of his bayonet…The result of his investigation was right arm blown off and no first baseman.
...
Our shortstop had a bad habit of trying to stop hot grass eaters with his foot—result, the ball would climb his leg and paint his eye blue, green and yellow. After losing two teeth and getting a beautiful lamp he made a ‘holler’ to wear our only mask. I had to give in to him (he was a sergeant). Just imagine a shortstop wearing a mask; wouldn’t it make you sick?
...
Another great difficulty, just when you had a man broken in so that he could cover a bag or play the outfield…said man would stop a German bullet and go on the sick list, losing all interest in baseball. Out of the 33 Tommies originally in the squad, 11 have been been killed and 14 wounded.”

I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. I understand wanting to live life as normally as possible, but the carnage would have been incredible.

Anyway, the whole article is worth a read.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 31, 2017 at 10:07 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-30-2017

Bismarck Tribune, May 30, 1917:

A couple of years ago Jack Dunn, owner of the Baltimore International League club decided to break up his club and sell his stars.

A Cincinnati scout heard of the deal and hurried to Baltimore with orders to buy George Twombly and see what other deals he could make.

He had an opportunity to buy Twombly with Ruth or with Ruth and Shore, but received instructions from Cincinnati to let the pitchers go and take an infielder named Derrick…

And in related news:

Since August, 1915, [Grover Cleveland] Alexander has defeated the Reds in every game he started against them, 11 in all, including six shutouts.

At least they got George Twombly.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 30, 2017 at 09:53 AM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, May 26, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-26-2017

Chicago Eagle, May 26, 1917:

The old idea that a pitcher couldn’t hit is being rapidly dissolved. Ray Caldwell is the main pinch hitter of the Yankees. Walter Johnson is the leading pinch hitter of the Nationals.

But the premier bird of them is Babe Ruth of the Red Sox. Ruth is probably the best hitting pitcher that baseball has ever known. George Sisler started out as a pitcher, and he may have challenged Ruth’s title, but not even the Brownie star is as feared as the big left-hander on the Red Sox staff. He is not only a consistent batsman, but he is as likely to crack one over the fence or up into the stands as any man in baseball.

Meh. Small sample size. There’s no way this Ruth character would keep hitting so well if he got 500 at-bats per year.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 26, 2017 at 10:33 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-25-2017

Washington Times, May 25, 1917:

Ferdinand Schupp, the young Giant pitcher, is likely to take his place among the greatest southpaws of all time, if he continues in his present brilliant form. Schupp is McGraw’s best bet. Starting this year where he left off last season, he has pitched brilliant ball, and now has five straight victories to his credit.

I had been mostly unfamiliar with Ferdie Schupp before he began to appear in the newspapers of 100 years ago, but he was one heck of a pitcher. In 412.1 innings over the 1916 and 1917 seasons, Schupp put up a 1.59 ERA (158 ERA+), threw ten shutouts, and allowed less than a baserunner per inning. Schupp’s 1916 season is one of the great forgotten performances in baseball history: 140.1 innings, 22 runs, 14 earned, and an ERA of 0.90.

Depending on which story you believe, Schupp either blew out his shoulder in a bar fight or in Spring Training 1918 and was never the same.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 25, 2017 at 10:50 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-24-2017

Pittsburgh Press, May 24, 1917:

The “wheatina ball” has made its appearance in the Central league, and batters claim that it is as difficult to hit as the “emery ball,” which has been barred. Pitcher Cummins, of the Ft. Wayne club, is accused of using it by players on opposing teams. They allege that he carries a pocket filled with crushed grains of wheat, and that the sap in the wheat gives his fingers a powerful grip on the ball, causing it to break freakishly as it passes over the rubber.

Ah, the old “pocket full of wheat sap” trick.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2017 at 10:06 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-23-2017

A letter to Grantland Rice, via the Harrisburg Telegraph, May 23, 1917:

Dear Sir: It has been suggested that we economize and cut out surplus padding…Why not the one syllable lineup in these days of restriction? I hereby nominate the following:

Catchers—Schang and Schalk.
Pitchers—Ruth, Shore, Schupp, Smith, Coombs, Bush.
First base—Chase.
Second base—Pratt.
Shortstop—Scott.
Third base—Groh.
Outfield—Cobb, Wheat, Burns.

Rice responds with a “three or more syllables team”:

Catchers—Nunamaker, Killifer.
Pitchers—Alexander, Lavender, Southoron, Demaree, Coveleskie.
First base—Konetchy.
Second base—Fitzpatrick.
Shortstop—Maranville.
Third base—Zimmerman.
Outfield—Robertson, Jacobson, Gilhooley.
Which wins?

Pretty clearly the one-syllable team, no? The difference in the outfields is gargantuan, and that’s even without Ruth.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 23, 2017 at 10:30 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, May 22, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-22-2017

Tacoma Times, May 22, 1917:

Baseball trades are funny propositions.

A week ago the Tacoma team traded Ray Alexander, pitcher, and Toots Bankhead, outfielder, to the Seattle team for Kid McIvor, southpaw pitcher.

Bankhead refused to play for Seattle, and quit organized baseball by starting east. McIvor has a good job with a Seattle shipyard and refuses to come to Tacoma. He plays ball in the Seattle shipbuilding league.

I know it’s because I’m looking at it from the perspective of 2017, but it seems bizarre that Tacoma would be too far from Seattle. I guess playing in the Northwestern League wasn’t lucrative enough for McIvor to live in Kent, buy a car, and commute 20 miles.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 22, 2017 at 10:46 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, May 19, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-19-2017

Chicago Eagle, May 19, 1917:

John B. Foster, secretary of the New York Giants, agrees with President Barrow of the International league that the game of baseball will not suffer because of war. He believes even that baseball might be stimulated.

“War has never hurt baseball in this country,” said Foster. “As a matter of fact, it was the baseball played during the Civil war by the soldiers which resulted in giving the game its great impetus in this country.
...
“Baseball games have been played repeatedly close to the actual fighting line. One game at Verdun went seven innings before it was broken up by the appearance of hostile aeroplanes.

The baseball fan in me likes that the soldiers at Verdun were playing ball. The part of me that’s mildly obsessed with World War I still can’t even fathom what a horrific place and time Verdun 1916 was, baseball or no.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 19, 2017 at 01:20 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-18-2017

Seattle Star, May 18, 1917:

Seattle school kids will again be admitted to the baseball park free of charge tomorrow to see the Giants and Butte club play. The boys were admitted last Saturday, and behaved so well it was decided to give them another free day.

Thumbs up, old timey Seattle team.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 18, 2017 at 09:55 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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