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Dugout Newsbeat

Friday, July 19, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-19-2019

Great Falls Tribune, July 19, 1919:

Players of the Los Angeles ball team presented to President Johnny Powers a petition protesting against a wire fence which has been erected inside Washington park here. The fence which was conceived by Jim Morley, manager of the team, ostensibly was built to decrease the size of the field and produce more home runs and spectacular plays. The players declare that it produces too much action and intimated they would strike if it is not removed at once.

“Dear Mr. President, there is too much action nowadays. Please eliminate the wire outfield fence. I am not a crackpot!”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 10:29 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-18-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 18, 1919:

The strike of the Boston Elevated employees was responsible for the third successive day of idleness for the Pirates today. The Pittsburghers arrived at the center of culture just in time to become involved in the unpleasantness. The day was satisfactory for a ball game, but the Brave management figured that the number of fans reaching the park would not be sufficient to make the game worth while.

Elsewhere in unusual Pirates scheduling news, the board of directors of the National League has upheld a protest by the Giants, who claimed the Pirates-Reds game on July 6 violated the league constitution by ending early so the Pirates could catch a train. The ruling throws out a Reds win and forces the two teams to replay the game. In response, Reds president Gerry Herrmann flipped out, saying the league constitution requires this sort of decision to be made by the league president (and not the board of directors), and that the rules also give him five days to respond to the complaint.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 18, 2019 at 10:04 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, labor stoppage

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-17-2019

[Juneau] Alaska Daily Empire, July 17, 1919:

Baseball is bidding for favor in parts of Mexico and may supplant bull fighting and other distinctly native pastimes, according to a Dallas sporting goods concern, which has just made a large shipment of baseball equipment to Monterey, Northern Mexico [sic]. This concern recently sent a salesman through the northern part of Mexico and he reported that baseball was rapidly gaining in favor and predicted it soon would become a national pastime in that country.

Baseball? In Monterrey? It’ll never happen.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:26 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, mexican baseball, mexico

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-16-2019

Toledo News-Bee, July 16, 1919:

Carl Mays, the submarine hurler, has quit the Boston Red Sox.

This followed an argument with Manager Barrow, it is said. Mays left the team, in Chicago, without saying goodby [sic] to Barrow and is now in Boston. However, he is quoted as saying, “Ed Barrow is a fine fellow and a gentleman, but I cannot preserve my self-respect and remain with the Red Sox.”

Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and New York American league clubs are said to be seeking the services of Mays.

It’s a darn shame he didn’t end up with Cleveland. Might have unwittingly saved a life.

From what I’ve read, it seems like this wasn’t a result of a personality conflict; pretty much nobody liked Carl Mays. That was nothing new. Mays had been going through a lot personally - his house burned down during Spring Training of a suspected arson, he phlipped out on some phans in Philadelphia who were pounding on the dugout roof and beaned one in the head, he went weeks without his team scoring so much as a run with him on the mound, and he got hit in the head with a throw from catcher to second base. If ever a guy needed a change of scenery, it was Carl Mays in 1919.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 16, 2019 at 10:53 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, July 15, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-15-2019

Washington Herald, July 15, 1919:

When Steve Evans came up to the major leagues with the Cardinals some years ago he was a first baseman. Like most young ball players, Steve thought pretty well of his own ability. He was quite satisfied that he would make good as a first-sacker in the big show—and then one day he saw Fred Tenney...[Evans] looked at him in silence for perhaps five minutes, and then, walking to the dugout, he threw down his first baseman’s mitt.

“I thought I was a first baseman,” he said, with a shake of his head, “but I’m not. That bird out there is, though from now on I’m going to devote my time to the outfield.”

It’s a nice story and maybe it’s even true, but the Cardinals were never going to move the best first baseman in the league (Ed Konetchy) to make room for a rookie.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 15, 2019 at 10:48 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, July 12, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-12-2019

Harrisburg Telegraph, July 12, 1919:

Roger Peckinpaugh, New York, who hit safely in twenty-nine consecutive games…continues to lead the regulars in batting in the American League, his mark, .382, remaining unchanged from last week…Babe Ruth, the big Boston southpaw pitcher and outfielder, bagged two more homers and leads the circuit-drive hitters with 9.
Jim Thorpe, the Indian athlete, continued to lead the National League hitters and widened the gap between himself and Gavvy Cravath, recently appointed manager of Philadelphia. Thorpe’s mark is .397 and Cravath’s .356.

The more I read about Thorpe as a baseball player, the more I become convinced that he was a much better player than he’s given credit for. When he wasn’t being jerked around by the Giants*, Thorpe hit .278/.303/.391 (OPS+ somewhere around 120). That’s considerably different than the narrative I’ve always heard, that he tried baseball, it didn’t work out, and he quit. It’s more like “he tried baseball, was pretty good at it, then decided to go do something he was better at”.

* - It’s tough to blame the Giants too much here - they had a solid starting outfield (Burns-Snodgrass-Robertson/Bescher/Murray) in the first few years of Thorpe’s career, and there wasn’t a ton of playing time for a talented but raw athlete.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 12, 2019 at 10:01 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-11-2019

Washington Times, July 11, 1919:

[Terry] Turner has a grievance. You’ll recall the night of July 3 that Turner had been given his unconditional release by the Cleveland club. He was asked to go to Milwaukee for the remainder of the season at the same salary he was receiving from Cleveland, President James C. Dunn agreeing to guarantee his pay. Turner demurred simply because he thought he is still of major league caliber and that he had it coming from the Cleveland club to be carried throughout the remainder of the season.
Terry hasn’t been given to talking very much, as fans well know, but he declares that his release can be traced to one thing—Manager Lee Fohl’s dislike for him.

Turner also said the Indians released him at the end of the 1918 season, but the team cancelled the release after the federal government changed the status of ballplayers with regard to service in World War I. He claims the cancellation of that release cost him at least a thousand dollars in salary.

As it turns out, Cleveland mostly just released Turner because he was a bad baseball player at this point in his career. He went to the Athletics and hit .189/.220/.213 in final 136 MLB plate appearances. Terry Turner was a darn good player for a long time; to this day, he’s Cleveland’s all-time leader in games played and he finished with 38 WAR. It just didn’t end very gracefully.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 11, 2019 at 09:57 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-10-2019

Washburn [Wisconsin] Times, July 10, 1919:

In a recent Memphis-Birmingham game Red Smith, Memphis catcher, out with injuries, put on a Birmingham spare uniform to work out. Then Manager Barger of Memphis called him in as a pinch hitter in the rival club’s togs. Naturally there was a protest, but Umpire Dan Pfenninger would not allow it.

I’m not sure what the umpire didn’t allow: Smith to play in the opposing team’s uniform or the protest.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 10, 2019 at 10:01 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-9-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 9, 1919:

Charles C. Cravath, the hard hitting outfielder, better known to baseball fame as “Gavvy,” was [yesterday] appointed manager of the Philadelphia National League baseball team after announcement was made…that John Coombs had resigned.
It was said that when some of the players heard that Coombs was no longer to be manager of the team several of them said they would not play in [yesterday’s] game, but were prevailed upon by Coombs to change their minds.

“Cravath is my manager as long as he lives,” said [Phillies President William F. Baker] after [yesterday’s] game. “There is a man who will be a success.”

Cravath managed the Phillies through the end of the 1920 season, finishing with a career winning percentage below .400. He was alive long enough to see the advent of black-and-white television, color television, and a president who was born during Cravath’s playing career.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 09, 2019 at 09:55 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, July 08, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-8-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, July 8, 1919:

With a possible flag in sight and his outfield hitting on only two cylinders, Manager Pat Moran of the Reds has wired Honus Wagner, the famous Flying Dutchman, asking him to join the club.

When Honus received the message his heart was sorely tried and yesterday afternoon he came out to seek repose or counsel among his pals, particularly Jack Miller, whom Honus loves like a brother.
The lure of the great game is tugging away at the feelings of the picturesque one, but he has business matters which are holding him at present and which, he says, will prevent him from jumping into a uniform for Pat.

Honus was 45 years old at this point and hadn’t played since 1917. Judging by his age 42-43 seasons, he probably wouldn’t have embarrassed himself and might even have been an upgrade for the Reds as a corner outfielder, but also wouldn’t have been Honus Wagner

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 08, 2019 at 09:52 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, honus wagner

Friday, July 05, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-5-2019

Chicago Eagle, July 5, 1919:

In a recent game between the Agana and Sumay [United States Marines stationed in Guam], running through 15 innings, the last four innings were played by the light of a full moon rising over the palms which border the plaza. In a game played by moonlight almost anything is likely to happen. Manion of Sumay started things for his team when he mailed a ball in the post office through a hole in the screen of one of the windows. The Agana fielder was unable to recover it without violating section H20 of the local postal regulations and the Sumay boys walked home with the bacon.

It would have taken an impressive amount of foresight to have set ground rules for balls hit through the screen in the post office window.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 05, 2019 at 09:38 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-3-2019

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, July 3, 1919:

“If I was Mack, I’d tell them guys,” piped the guy in the brown derby, “there ain’t no baseball law, written or unwritten, that prevents them from winnin’ more than two games in a row.”
Babe Ruth wants to know if the national prohibition law applies to the American League.

Not much baseball news in the papers of July 3, 1919, as everybody was getting hyped up for the Dempsey-Willard championship fight on July 4.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 03, 2019 at 10:00 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-2-2019

Washington Times, July 2, 1919:

The New York Yankees…are performing at the famous Polo Grounds in the metropolis for their last season. This became known today when advices from New York told of the amitious plans being made by the New York National League club for the improvement of the property.
The owners of the Yankees…will have to rustle around and find new quarters before the 1920 campaign gets under way. This move was threatened five years ago, the entrance of the Federal League into the world of baseball causing a postponement.
The Giants feel that, after going to great expense of making the Polo Grounds the ideal baseball field in the metropolis, they should be permitted to enjoy it by themselves.

The Yankees got a reprieve, not moving into The House That Getting Kicked Out of Their Previous House Built until 1923.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 02, 2019 at 12:41 PM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-25-2019

I’m on vacation this week and don’t have a ton of time to dig around in old newspapers. So let’s go back 33 years instead of 100:

[Allentown] Morning Call, June 26, 1986:

The Steve Carlton era is over.

It became official at 10 a.m. yesterday [June 25] at a press conference at Veterans Stadium: Phillies President Bill Giles, appearing alone, his voice cracking and his eyes filled with tears, told the hastily-gathered media that, after trying unsuccessfully to convince the brilliant 41-year old lefthander to retire voluntarily, he had decided to release him.

I can understand why a competitor like Carlton would have wanted to avoid retirement. But he was pretty much done at this point.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 25, 2019 at 09:30 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-20-2019

Broadus [Montana] Independent, June 20, 1919:

“The amount of money that is wagered on baseball,” says Arnold Rothstein, “is grossly exaggerated…There is little or no money bet on the American league race. A few small bets have been made that the Yankees will finish higher than the White Sox. Baseball is not a good betting proposition, which may be just as well for the game.”

“ don’t worry about me. I’ll just be over here not gambling on baseball. And I super won’t put money on someone beating the White Sox. There’s nothing to see here.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 20, 2019 at 10:03 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-19-2019

Perth Amboy Evening News, June 19, 1919:

News has been flashed from France that Joe Harris, first baseman of the Cleveland club, was seriously injured in a motortruck crash recently. According to this report Joe suffered from a fractured skull and had his two legs and several ribs broken.

Harris must have made a miraculous recovery. He made his 1919 debut on June 30 and hit .375/.472/.489 as a more-or-less every day first baseman the rest of the season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 19, 2019 at 10:03 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, June 17, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-17-2019

El Paso Herald, June 17, 1919:

[Ping Bodie on why he’d rather play center field than left field:] “Center field is easy on the eyes, like September Morn or something. Now, get me, what I mean to say is that in left field you are always looking into the sun and you get razzle-dazzled in the vision…I figure that playing left field knocks about 25 to 30 per cent off an outfielder’s hitting.”
Ping’s argument is a sound one, to say the least. Even with smoked glasses to wear when the sun is burning down at its brightest the left fielder, unless he has an abnormal pair of “glims,” must find things looking hazy after he has peeped into the eye of Old Sol a couple of times, only to be called on a romp in to the bench, pick up a bat and face real jazzy pitching.

“Sorry I struck out, Skip. The pitching was real jazzy and I got razzle-dazzled in the vision.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 17, 2019 at 10:01 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, razzle dazzle

Friday, June 14, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-14-2019

Columbus Dispatch, June 14, 1919:

The Czecho-Slovakian mission [in Paris] has been studying sports and has caught the baseball fever. The members will carry home with them a number of baseball outfits and will seek to introduce the game in the new republic.

And that’s the origin of the term “Czech swing”.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 14, 2019 at 09:58 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-13-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, June 13, 1919:

Manager Hugo Bezdek received a telegram from the National League officies just before the game began yesterday instructing him that he had been suspended indefinitely for his actions toward Umpire Charles Rigler on the previous day.
Officials of the Pittsburgh club stated last night that they thought Bezdek was the victim of rather severe treatment. Hugo is a man who refrains from the use of profanity, and they seemed to be at a loss to know why he should draw this punishment.
[Rigler:] “I want it understood that I like a fighting ballplayer and one who can make it kick without trying to make the umpire look as if he didn’t know his business. Bezdek did not swear when he addressed me on the decision, but he said enough for me to eject him. Then after he left the field he remained under the grandstand for four innings yelling taunting things at me…Today I was surprised to hear Bezdek yelling at me from a box seat.

Hugo obviously didn’t have a disguise.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 13, 2019 at 09:46 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-12-2019

Washington Herald, June 12, 1919:

Major League Players Preparing for Strike

Another baseball war is imminent. Like a bolt from a clear sky comes the report that professional baseball, in the midst of what surface indications pointed to the most successful and most peaceful season in its history, in reality tottering on the brink of its most trying moment and with its very existence threatened. The Bolsheviki movement has hit the players of the two majors and three Class AA organizations.

Contending that they and not the club owners are paying and will continue to pay in settlement of the $240,000 suit of the Baltimore Federal league club…these players have recently been organizing and planning warfare of a most destructive sort.
The organization will be perfected within the next fortnight and sometime in August a general strike of the players in the five leagues will be declared.

Things were about to get a bit bumpy for professional baseball, but it had nothing to do with a labor dispute.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 12, 2019 at 10:00 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-11-2019

Philadelphia Evening Ledger, June 11, 1919:

The strangest double play seen around here came off in the third. Luderus was on first. Cravath lifted a foul that [Cubs catcher Bill] Killefer nabbed. With the catch Luderus put on full steam for second. Killefer pegged to first. Ludy dashed back. Killefer’s throw was bad and Merkle dropped the ball, but Luderus overslid and Merkle got the ball in time to tag him.

Cue Yakity Sax. Why did Luderus try to tag on a foulout to catcher? Why did Killfer throw to first? Why did Luderus turn around and go back to first?

There are things in this world that we will never fully understand.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 11, 2019 at 10:48 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, June 10, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-10-2019

New York Sun, June 10, 1919:

Frank Talcott, Yale’s great pitcher of 1918, says he is through with professional baseball. Talcott some time ago broke into the big leagues with Detroit. He remained with the Tigers just long enough to decide that he had no chance of making an early start in an American League game, so he asked Hughey Jennings for his release and led himself to the Philadelphia Nationals…But there too he was delegated to pitching divers no hit, no run games in the bull pen in addition to grooving the ball for the batters in practice.
Talcott could get a job with any minor league club, but he cannot see himself pitching in the lesser company, because playing ball in the minors is not profitable work.

Tough to blame him. A guy with a degree from Yale could probably do better than bumping around the South Dakota League or the Western Canada League for a few years.

Talcott never appeared in a professional game, but it looks like he spent some time in 1918 pitching for the Paterson Silk Sox against the Lincoln Giants, which is pretty cool. The 1918 Lincoln Giants featured Smokey Joe Williams, who’s in the Hall of Fame, and Bill Pettus, who would be a completely reasonable selection for the Hall. I’m not necessarily advocating for Pettus, but you could do worse. They have done worse. Recently.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:25 AM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, June 07, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-7-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, June 7, 1919:

Hundreds of followers of the Pirates who regretted when Bob Harmon left the team in midseason of last year wondered why Bob took the sudden step. The secret, or at least part of it is out now.

Hickory Bob, in the parlance of the speculator, “cleaned up” about $25,000 in Louisiana Oil since he shook the dust of the National League from his 10-second feet.

I don’t know how Harmon did during the rest of his time in the oil business, but I know he retired at age 30 while he was still pretty good, and I know he never threw another professional pitch. So it must have gone okay for him.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 07, 2019 at 10:04 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-6-2019

There’s been a Tubby Spencer sighting!

Seattle Star, June 6, 1919:

Meet [Salt Lake City manager] Eddie Herr’s catchers. Tubby Spencer is from the big show and Butch Byler is a University of Washington boy. Both are good receivers; in fact, Spencer is ranked with the best mask men in the league. Spencer was with Detroit in the American league for a couple of years. He hits the ball hard and far when he connects.

Spencer has become a bit of a Dugout mascot over the years - when he wasn’t diving through plate glass windows for a sandwich, getting kicked out of cities, or quitting baseball to become a lumberjack and/or hobo, he was an itinerant backup catcher. The link is worth clicking IMO, just for a photo of Spencer and Byler in their uniforms. Looks like Salt Lake may not have had a logo on their uniforms in 1919. They just had an American flag.

In other news, Babe Ruth may be out for a while after injuring his knee diving into third base.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 06, 2019 at 10:04 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, tubby spencer

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-4-2019

Grand Forks Herald, June 4, 1919:

Cleveland and St. Louis broke even in a double header Tuesday, St. Louis winning the first game 14 to 6…and Cleveland taking the second, 8 to 5.
Doc Johnston, Cleveland first baseman, fouled out in the second game after having nine consecutive hits in nine times at bat

I don’t know what got into Johnston in 1919, but he hit .219/.278/.287 in 762 plate appearances between 1916-1918. Doc hit .297/.346/.390 between 1919-1921.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, the Memphis News Scimitar has one of the most racist stories I’ve ever seen - and that’s saying something. Apparently former Memphis Chicks manager Dolly Stark has a strong aversion to teaching Malaysians to play baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 04, 2019 at 10:07 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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