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Dugout Newsbeat

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-28-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 28, 1915:

Here’s a new one they are starting to pull in the Central association and which is causing many arguments among the baseball rule sharks in this circuit: In giving a Keokuk batsman an intentional pass in a game at Waterloo the Jay pitcher threw four balls to the first baseman instead of the catcher and the umpire told the batter to take his base. The game was played under protest from the Keokuk manager, but as it later was won by this team the protest was not sent to the league president.

Huh. That’s a new one. I’m not sure what the rule was in 1915, but in 2015, Rule 5.01(c) says the pitcher shall deliver the pitch to the batter. Throwing the ball to first base is not delivering it to the batter.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 28, 2015 at 10:51 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, intentional walk

Monday, July 27, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-27-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 27, 1915:

If George Kelley [sic], the first baseman whom Scout Kinsella has picked up from the Northwestern league for the Giants, is half as good a player as his illustrious uncle, Bill Lange, of Anson days, McGraw will not have to look much farther for an eventual successor to Fred Merkle.

Kelly was a pretty solid ballplayer, at least half was good as Bill Lange. He didn’t really deserve a Hall of Fame plaque, but a home run title, two RBI crowns, and a career batting average near .300 are nothing to sneeze at.

Elsewhere in “prospects who’d eventually be inducted into the Hall of Fame” news, the Pittsburgh Press says the White Sox have purchased Arthur [sic] Vance, a right-handed pitcher from St. Joseph in the Western League.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-24-2015

Grand Forks Daily Herald, July 24, 1915:

HITLESS INDIAN GIVEN RELEASE

[Jim] Thorpe’s inability to hit anything except straight ball pitching, which opposing twirlers took care that he did not get, proved too great a handicap for even this great athlete. Passed on to ther Jersey City club of the International league, his weakness was so apparent to all pitchers that the hitless Indian was dropped from the class AA league as valueless.

As I’ve said before, Thorpe hit .303 with solid power numbers in the 1915 International League. It seems as if reporters were going to label him a bust no matter what he did. And besides, he wasn’t dropped from the IL because elsewhere on the same newspaper page...

James Thorpe, the Indian baseball player, has been transferred from the Jersey City team of the International League to Harrisburg, at his own request.

Harrisburg was also in the International League. So, y’know, not dropped from the league as valueless. 1915 haters gonna hate.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 24, 2015 at 12:08 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jim thorpe

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-23-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 23, 1915:

Capt. Johnny Evers of the Braves, was ordered out of the game between the Braves and Cubs yesterday, after he had had a lively fistic mixup with Umpire Quigley.
...
Evers worked the pitcher for a count of three and two. The fourth ball was outside, and although Evers was entitled to first, he turned and made some remark to Umpire Quigley. Quigley must have made some rejoinder, for Evers walked up to him. The next instant Quigley hauled back and struck Evers a hard blow on the jaw. Bresnahan of the Cubs grabbed Evers before he could retaliate.

That’s how much of a pain in the butt Evers was. He made a Canadian resort to violence.

This seems like the sort of thing that would get an umpire fired in 2015, but Quigley kept his job. He umpired in six World Series after this incident and eventually became an NL supervisor of umpires. Evers appears to have escaped suspension, though I have no idea what they’d have suspended him for. Getting punched in the face isn’t against the rules, as far as I know.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 23, 2015 at 10:23 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, johnny evers

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-22-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 22, 1915:

Leslie Mann will probably be stationed permanently in left field owing to his superior throwing arm. He will be able to cut more runs down at the plate, Manager Tinker believes.

I guess because most batters are right-handed and they’re more likely to hit the ball to left field than to right field? This is an interesting move on Tinker’s part, the exact opposite of the modern conventional wisdom. Anybody know when “put a good arm in right field” became standard operating procedure?

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 22, 2015 at 11:27 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, joe tinker, les mann

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-21-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 21, 1915:

Honus [sic] Lobert is interested in the statement by Jimmy Clabby, the boxer, that tennis is a great game for developing speed. Clabby plays tennis a great deal, and says it improves his footwork.

Lobert likes tennis. He is not a bad player, and he would play regularly if he had not had orders from McGraw to leave it alone…McGraw believes tennis slows up a ball player. He argues that the sudden stopping and starting, the quick changes of course that a tennis player’s body takes, will ruin a baseball player. McGraw says a tennis player pounds the ground and knots up his muscles.

And then there’s the possibility that you’ll forget which sport you’re playing and hit a tennis ball as far as you can.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 21, 2015 at 09:39 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, tennis

Monday, July 20, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-20-2015

Milwaukee Journal, July 20, 1915:

[St. Cloud batter Jake Thielman hit a ball which was] driven clear to the fence and hit a rabbit browsing in the long grass. The startled rabbit started for the diamond, touched second base, sped along the base line a few jumps ahead of Thielman, rounded third base on account of the fans on the side line, and dashed across the home plate with the local player hard on his heels.

“If we’d had another base to go,” said Thielman, “I would have had to tell the rabbit to get out of the way and let me run.”

If we know one thing about playing baseball with rabbits who just happen to be on the field, it’s that you can’t beat them.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 20, 2015 at 09:30 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, July 17, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-17-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 17, 1915:

The Red Sox have the distinction of being the only big league team in the world that carries a movie man as a member of their regular party. His name is George Murray, and he took movie pictures of the double-headers between Red Sox and Indians at Somers park.

He is doing it for President Joseph J. Lannin of the Boston club, who plans this winter to put on moving picture talks in Boston and the territory for miles around, showing games played by the Red Sox in all the ball parks in the country and scenes in which the team figures.

As far as I know, this film no longer exists. That’s a huge bummer, obviously.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 17, 2015 at 08:23 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-16-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 16, 1915:

George Perring of the Kansas City Feds has a bat that he cherishes almost above all other earthly possessions…Perring’s father, George Perring, Sr., was a ball player of note in his day and when the old Ohio State penitentiary was dismantled some 30 years ago he procured a stout hickory joint from the prison scaffold on which many an Ohio criminal had gone to his doom.

The elder Perring had the piece turned to suit his desires and used the bat for 20 years. The son fell heir to it, and has been using the club for seven years…The timber from which the hangman’s rope dangled has been punishing baseball pitchers for 30 years.

Well, that’s certainly creepy as heck.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 16, 2015 at 09:56 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: bats, creepy things, dugout, history

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-15-2015

Milwaukee Sentinel, July 15, 1915:

A tornado struck the grandstand at the Decatur [Illinois] ball park on Wednesday just as the Decatur and Rockford players were lining up to play.

The entire roof of the grandstand was torn off and a portion of it fell upon the crowd below. A number of people were badly bruised, but there were no serious injuries.

Players on the Decatur and Rockford clubs rushed to the rescue of the people buried under the wreckage. The damage is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $5,000.

Yeah, you can go ahead and postpone this one on account of weather.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 15, 2015 at 08:02 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, weather

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-14-2015

Keokuk Daily Gate City, July 14, 1915:

When the mountain declined to come to Mahomet you know what happened, and for the same reason W.O. Anderson…took his business to the baseball park.

Anderson, finding that the ball game would not be played in his wholesale house, paid for a box at the ball park for the season, installed telephones, office paraphernalia, took his stenographer out, and while watching the game, directs his business.

Occasionally a customer trying to close an important deal over the phone is startled by a series of wild yells, to discover that some Topeka batter has cleaned the bases with a long drive.

Best. Office. Ever.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 14, 2015 at 08:09 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, good old days, history

Monday, July 13, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-13-2015

Toledo News-Bee, July 13, 1915:

Larry McLean, under suspension from the New York Giants, is again without an occupation on Tuesday. McLean has been playing in the Delaware Co. [Pennsylvania] ball league, but was released because Manager Bill Cloud thinks Larry “hasn’t class enough for the league.”

And that, as far as I know, is the end of Larry McLean’s baseball career. It’s probably safe to assume McLean drank his way out of this gig, as by this time, alcoholism had completely destroyed his career. Larry was a pretty good player, a solid defensive catcher who put up a career .262/.301/.323 line (86 OPS+) in 13 dead ball era seasons. He was the Giants’ starting catcher in the 1913 World Series and went 6-for-12 in a losing cause.

Stories like McLean’s always bum me out. There’s no real “what could have been” here, but there is a human being who (judging by most of the things I’ve read in old newspapers) was popular and well-liked, but spun out of control and never did pull himself together. As I’ve mentioned before, Larry died in 1921, shot and killed after attacking a bartender who wouldn’t give him a cigarette.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 13, 2015 at 08:10 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, larry mclean

Friday, July 10, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-10-2015

Milwaukee Journal, July 10, 1915:

President Coppin, of the Colonial league, recently fined the members of the New Bedford “Whales” for an odd exhibition of umpire baiting.
...
Late in the play with New Bedford at bat the umpire, after calling “batter up” several times, turned to the bench to ascertain the cause of the delay. He saw all of the players of the club lined up on their knees in an attitude of prayer and it was explained that they were supplicating better umpiring.

Well done. If you’re going to argue with the ump, don’t just kick some dirt and scream. Do it in a new and interesting way.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 10, 2015 at 08:10 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-9-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 9, 1915:

A merry little argument has arisen between the Brooklyn and Chicago clubs of the Federal league over the case of Tex Westerzil [sic], the third baseman recently sold by the Brookfeds to the Chifeds. After having had Westerzil for nearly two weeks Manager Joe Tinker, of Chicago, announced Tuesday that he had decided to return the player. Brooklyn will not take him back.

That’s gotta do wonders for a player’s confidence.

Wisterzil was actually a perfectly cromulent ballplayer: Essentially league-average in BA and OBP, a smidge below average power, decent speed, and modern defensive metrics love his glovework. I’m not sure why nobody wanted him, but after this all shook out, Wisterzil spent a week with the St. Louis Feds before (for some reason) returning to Tinker and the Whales. After the 1915 season ended, Tex spent most of the next decade in the PCL before retiring.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 09, 2015 at 08:09 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, tex wisterzil

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-8-2015

Washington Evening Star, July 8, 1915:

Joe Jackson, the Cleveland club’s star ball player, will not be in the game against the Tigers today, having been the victim of an automobile accident yesterday afternoon. Accompanied by his wife, Jackson was driving east of the city. Thinking something was wrong with the engine, Jackson got on the running board and lifted the hood, while Mrs. Jackson took the wheel and kept the car in motion.

While Jackson still was engaged in his investigation a wagon came along and brushed him off…outside of several cuts on his face and legs and a bruised left arm the great batter is not seriously injured.

That was spectacularly dumb. I can’t even fathom why he thought that was a good idea.

Earlier reports said Jackson had been dragged by the passing truck and may have broken his foot, but I tend to believe the report I linked because it includes a specific statement from a specific doctor.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 08, 2015 at 08:06 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, history, joe jackson

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

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

Pittsburgh Press, July 7, 1915:

Jack Coombs, the veteran pitcher, fainted in the pitcher’s box as he was winding up to hurl the ball to a Boston batsman in the fourth inning of the first game between Brooklyn and the Braves. Coombs fell to the ground, and had to be carried off the field.

An examination at the clubhouse disclosed the fact that the veteran twirler had strained a tendon in his left leg. He soon recovered from the attack, but it was thought it would be a week or ten days before he will be able to pitch again.

Either the people of 1915 had an entirely different idea than we do of what constitutes fainting, or that’s the strangest cause of fainting I’ve ever heard.

At the time, Coombs was still returning from a horrible stretch of injuries and illness. He suffered a severe groin strain in the 1911 World Series, hadn’t entirely recovered but pitched through it in 1912, then missed most of the 1913 and 1914 seasons with a case of typhoid fever that dropped his weight all the way down to 126 pounds. (He was six feet tall.) Given his history, it’s tough to know whether this was a leg injury, a fainting spell, or both.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 07, 2015 at 08:02 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jack coombs

Monday, July 06, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-6-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 6, 1915:

An invitation to join the Brookfeds is contained in a letter received by Angelo Aragon, former Yankee, who has been doing spectacular work at shortstop for the Richmond Internationals. Aragon, a Cuban, can’t read English, so had Manager Dunn read the letter to him. Magee’s letter described his Brookfeds as a club in flourishing condition. Aragon laughed aloud.

He was right to laugh, but it’s not like Aragon went on to fame and fortune in the big leagues. He had cups of coffee with the Yankees in 1916 and 1917 and hit .116/.164/.130 those two seasons with an OPS+ of -11. Aragon had a pretty solid minor league career, though, hitting around .300 mostly for Richmond.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-2-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 2, 1915:

Persistent rumors to the effect that Connie Mack’s holdings in the Athletics were for sale and that he had named his price to a syndicate which has the approval of Ban Johnson, president of the American league, were emphatically denied by the manager of the Mackmen.
...
[Mack:] “My interest in the Athletics is not for sale at any price, but any time my partners are dissatisfied with the way I’m running my ball club, or the American league does not like what I’m doing and want to drive me out of the city, they can do it easy enough. But it will be a care of driving me out, for I don’t intend to quit. I’m here to stay, and I’ll win just as sure as I’ve won before.

Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what happened. Mack won back-to-back world championships in 1929 and 1930 and only sold the team because he didn’t have enough money to make it through the 1955 season.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 02, 2015 at 09:47 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: connie mack, dugout, history

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

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

Dakota County [Nebraska] Herald, July 1, 1915:

Marty McHale has invented a new wrinkle in delivery. He pours a cupful of water on his right knee just before he starts for the rubber, and when he wants to pitch he rubs the ball on the wet spot and gets it good and smooth so that his grip is better. The other teams have protested against the trick, but the umpires see no other way to stop it.

Seems like the exact opposite of what you’d want to do in order to get a good grip, but he was a big league pitcher and I’m a doofus with a computer. If making the ball smooth worked, you can’t really tell from McHale’s big league stats. He went 11-30 with an ERA+ of 80 and 0.4 career WAR in six seasons.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 01, 2015 at 08:40 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, marty mchale

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-30-2015

Milwaukee Journal, June 30, 1915:

Elmer Leifer, a left-handed pitcher for Ewan, Wash., struck out thirty-two batsmen in a nineteen-inning game with the Malden, Wash., team.

...and then his arm fell off. Okay, not really, but Leifer had an interesting career.

He signed to play in the Northwestern League and was eventually converted to the outfield. Elmer hit .352 for Butte in 1917, .326 in 1920 as Moose Jaw’s everyday third baseman, and made it all the way to the big leagues for a cup of coffee in September 1921. Leifer went 3-for-10 for the ‘21 White Sox, then opened the 1922 season with Little Rock in the Southern Association. In May 1922, he collided with teammate Travis Jackson in pursuit of a popup, suffering a fractured skull and a severed optic nerve. Believe it or not, Leifer was healthy enough to be the Opening Day starting pitcher for Minot in 1923. He played ball through 1926, then headed back home to retire in Washington state.

(Hat tip to the excellent SABR bio of Leifer, written by Terry Bohn.)

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 30, 2015 at 08:06 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, elmer leifer, history

Monday, June 29, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-29-2015

Toledo News-Bee, June 29, 1915:

One of the prettiest bits of generalship of the baseball season resulted in a victory for the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cards [on June 24].
...
[Heinie Zimmerman] had been spiked badly and had been out of the game for days. He drove a ball far to center and limped to second, then hobbled to third [on a ground out]. There were two out and two strikes on the batter. Manager Bresnahan delayed the game. He rushed to third base and ordered Zimmerman to get out and let him run.

He asked Manager Huggins’ consent to let him run and still keep Zimmerman in the game…Then he whispered to Zimmerman to steal home on the next pitched ball.

Thrown off guard the Cardinals paid no attention to the cripple and Zimmerman stole home and won the game.

Another one for the “Man, I wish we had video of that” pile. We’d still be watching that highlight, if not the entire game. The Cubs won the game 14-13 with four runs in the ninth. Here’s the box score.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-26-2015

New York Sun, June 26, 1915:

Babe Ruth and Slim Caldwell, generally known to the baseball fans as the greatest of home run [hitting] pitchers, were responsible for the easy victory chalked up by the Red Sox against the Yankees [in New York yesterday]. The Boston pitcher contributed to the home team’s triumph by hard hitting and fair pitching, while Caldwell’s portion was poor pitching.
...
In each of the series played by the Red Sox at the Polo Grounds this year Ruth has blown himself to a home run in the right field stands, the first coming on May 6 and the second on June 2…In the second inning, with one Boston Run in the book and two red hosed runners on the paths, Ruth hit one all the way over the fence near the right field bleachers. The drive goes on record as one of the longest ever made at Fenway Park. In the sixth inning Ruth almost got another circuit clout, but Cree had been waiting for this one and he caught it after backing to the fence.

Say, this Ruth guy is pretty good. Is it rash of me to suggest he might break Roger Connor’s career home run record some day?

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 26, 2015 at 10:21 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-25-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 25, 1915:

WHY NOT STEAL FIRST BASE?

“If the strategic move will benefit his team, and the manager is willing to take the risk, why shouldn’t a player be allowed to steal first base when he so desires?” asks Bill Phelon, in the Cincinnati Times-Star. “Why can’t a man who has already reached second go back to first, if his presence on first is of more value than on second? [If a team has men on second and third with two out and a weak hitter at the plate] the club would really be much better off with its men on third and first, and a chance to at least attempt the double steal. Then why shouldn’t the man on second, if he thinks he can get by with it, plunge back to first, and, incidentally, give the man on third his chance to make a break for home?

That may be the single worst baseball-related idea I’ve ever heard. You want a baserunner to run from second to first in order to give him a chance to run to second? That’s…it’s just…I mean…wow.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-24-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 24, 1915:

Ban Johnson, in an interview in New York, admits he has done everything in his power to strengthen the Yankees, but that there is no improvement of Donovan’s team in sight at present. He realizes that with so much interest in the Yankees, the team should be made as strong as possible, but he adds that the club owners who have star players are unwilling to sell or give them up.

YR to decry baseball welfare in 3…2…1…

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 24, 2015 at 10:50 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-23-2015

Pittsburgh Press, June 23, 1915:

Ban Johnson has wired George Sisler, Michigan’s star pitcher, who wants to play for his former college coach, Branch Rickey, that he cannot play with the St. Louis Browns. The Pittsburg Pirates have put in a strong claim for the local pitching sensation, and [Pirates owner] Barney Dreyfuss will fight for Sisler before the commission.
...
[Sisler] declared that rather than play with Pittsburg he will not enter professional ball. He wants to play with his former coach, Branch Rickey.

Pittsburgh’s alleged “strong claim” was based on a contract Sisler signed while he was underage, and was rebuffed pretty quickly. Sisler made his MLB debut on June 28, 1915, and had a pretty okay not not stellar career as a pitcher, so I’m not sure what all the fuss was about.

Wait, what? Sisler hit .400 twice in three years? He was a career .340 hitter? He led the league in stolen bases four times? Okay, maybe he was worth the hassle. By the way, before suffering the severe sinus infection that permanently altered his vision and caused him to miss the entire 1923 season, Sisler was a career .361 hitter.

.361!

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 23, 2015 at 08:02 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, george sisler, history

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