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Dugout Newsbeat

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-26-2017

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, April 26, 1917:

Charley Herzog, the star second baseman of the New York National League baseball team fell in the Pennsylvania station in New York [yesterday] while en route with his team to [Philadelphia], and suffered serious injury.

Herzog noticed a piece of chewing gum on the marble floor of the station and kicked at it. His feet slipped from under him and he fell heavily. The player came to Philadelphia and was taken to a hotel where a physician who made an examination said he had injured the lower part of his spine but could not say how seriously.

Well, at least he wasn’t riding a dirtbike. Herzog wound up missing eight games with the spine injury.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 26, 2017 at 09:01 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, freak accident, history

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-25-2017

Pittsburgh Press, April 25, 1917:

Word from the hospital camp of the Cubs at Chicago informs us that Victor Saier, the crippled first-sacker, is not being coldly abandoned to his fate. He is lying in Henrotin hospital, waiting for his broken leg to get together again. The other day he was visited by the ladies’ auxiliary of the Cubs, consisting of the wives of the players, who called on Victor in a body and smuggled in to him two bottles of refreshing beer and one limburger sandwich. It was the happiest moment of Mr. Saier’s humdrum existence. He hopes that the ladies will call again.

Saier broke his leg in a collision at home plate and missed nearly all of the 1917 season. It was essentially a career-ending injury; he sat out all of 1918 to contribute to the war effort and had a failed comeback attempt in 1919. Saier compiled 13.9 WAR from ages 22-25 and 0.1 WAR afterwards.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 25, 2017 at 10:46 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 24, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-24-2017

Pittsburgh Press, April 24, 1917:

Manager Mathewson of the Cincinnati Nationals, announced that he had obtained the services of Jim Thorpe of the New York Nationals. The deal involved a straight sale, but the price was not announced.

1917 was the closest Thorpe came to being a regular in the big leagues, and he wasn’t awful. Thorpe hit .237/.275/.357 (96 OPS+) in 103 games, and legged out 10 triples in 308 at-bats. He put up 0.5 WAR, which isn’t great, but at least suggests that he deserved to be in the majors.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 24, 2017 at 10:26 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jim thorpe

Friday, April 21, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-21-2017

Chicago sportswriter Harry Neily, quoted in the Pittsburgh Press, April 21, 1917:

Last winter [Honus Wagner] got married. Reports are conflicting, persons friendly to the owners saying that Honus went into the club’s offices and announced in loud voice that he couldn’t take so much money from the club because he couldn’t earn it, due to the infirmities of old age. Others declare that Barney Dreyfuss, president of the Pirates grew frugal and cut Wagner’s pay. Whichever is correct, Wagner quit.

Immediately, the bottom fell out of the Pirates. The fans here are about as enthusiastic as was the proprietor of the dollar-fifty pants emporium five minutes after the insurance adjusters got around to discover the oil can in the basement.

I’d like to hear more about this $1.50 pants emporium.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 21, 2017 at 10:03 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-20-2017

Pittsburgh Press, April 20, 1917:

Manager Mitchell of the Cubs has ordered the discontinuance of the hit and run play. “I’ll fine anyone who tries it,” says Mitchell—“fine him $100 for the first offense and fire him the second time. I’ve studied that play thoroughly. The odds against its bein a winner are about 70 to 1, and I don’t propose to lose out on the 69 extra chances.”

On one hand, it’s pretty cool and a bit unexpected that managers were studying success rates of plays like this. On the other hand, I find it difficult to believe that the success rate of the hit and run is (or has ever been) as low as 1.4%.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 20, 2017 at 10:02 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, strategy

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-19-2017

Grantland Rice via the Harrisburg Telegraph, April 19, 1917:

A few days ago we had a long talk with Napoleon Lajoie, the eminent French Batting Eye, about the untrammelled ill-fortune that always followed Cleveland.

“There has never been anything in baseball like it,” he said, “and it has lasted for over fifteen years. There may be no such thing as a Hoodoo—but, whatever it is, it certainly gets on your nerves when you see star players hurt year after year by the queerest sort of accidents and injuries.”

Maybe it’s not specifically injuries these days, but the hoodoo and/or ill fortune is now well into its second century.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 19, 2017 at 10:30 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: cleveland, dugout, history, jinx

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-18-2017

AP via Harrisburg Telegraph, April 18, 1917:

Forty-two men were injured, fourteen of them seriously enough to warrant hospital attention, in the collapse of a section of the west bleachers at Neil Park yesterday afternoon just before the start of the baseball game between the Columbus Senators and the Louisville American Association team. The accident occurred while the teams were practicing, following a patriotic demonstration which marked the opening of the American Association season in Columbus.
...
More than 100 persons fell when the section gave way, but of this number only 42 were found to be hurt. Only one man, Elmer E. Crozier, is thought to be dangerously hurt.

I’m not sure what became of Mr. Crozier, but they played the ballgame anyway. Louisville beat Columbus 5-4 on April 17, 1917.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 18, 2017 at 10:09 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 17, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-17-2017

Brattleboro Daily Reformer, April 17, 1917:

Nine-inning pastimes pulled off in less than an hour are rather rare, but not quite so scarce as hen’s molars. The first game of this kind was pulled off in Dayton, O., 32 years ago, when Dayton and Ironton hustled through a regulation contest in 47 minutes.
...
In the early days of baseball—the era of big scores—it was by no means unusual for a pastime to drag out through three or four hours.

A nine-inning baseball game that lasts three hours? That’s insane! Who could sit through that?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 17, 2017 at 10:38 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, pace of play

Friday, April 14, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-14-2017

Butte Daily Post, April 14, 1917:

Mamaux, the millionaire kid pitcher of the Pirates, was wild as the proverbial hawk yesterday in the game with the Cubs, and five runs were scored off him in the first round.

Two things:
1. I have no idea what the proverbial hawk is, because hawks seem pretty damn precise to me.
2. I looked it up and Al Mamaux was indeed a millionaire’s son. His dad was the “Awning King”, according to Mamaux’s SABR bio, and I think this is his family’s company.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 14, 2017 at 10:24 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-13-2017

Butte Daily Post, April 13, 1917:

No.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 13, 2017 at 10:16 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, small sample size

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-12-2017

Topeka State Journal, April 12, 1917:

Connie Mack refuses to be stampeded by the war. In spite of the high cost of living he still allows his players to enter the park without paying admission.
...
Various colleges have abandoned baseball on account of the war, thereby causing considerable surprise. Few of the public ever believed that college teams played baseball.

Zingers galore!

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 12, 2017 at 10:04 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-11-2017

Pittsburgh Press, April 11, 1917:

It is hardly conceivable that the Pirates can prove disappointments this season. Very few persons are optimistic enough to concede them a chance to make a good showing in the National league race, which opens today. It’s a cinch that they can’t land lower than eighth at the finish and if they go higher than eight, they will apparently prove a big surprise to many critics and rival players. Just listen to this from the Cincinnati Enquirer: “The Cleveland Indians saw the Pirates play in New Orleans…they say that Callahan’s club is about the worst looking outfit they have ever seen”
...
[New York Herald:] “Pirates will have about as much speed this year as a train in the south.
...
[An unnamed newspaper in Boston:] “the Pittsburg team is one of the poorest looking outfits at this stage that has represented the Smoky City in two decades.”

The 1917 Pirates went 51-103, the worst record in baseball. They were even worse than the Athletics, who went 36-117 the year before and did very little to improve their club before 1917. They’re the only team in the 136-year history of the franchise to score fewer than three runs per game. The team’s on-base percentage was below .300. The team’s slugging percentage was below .300. They finished last in the National League in runs, batting average, slugging percentage, total bases, and walks allowed.

This was a bad baseball team.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 11, 2017 at 11:13 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 10, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-10-2017

Topeka State Journal, April 10, 1917:

“Color,” writes Christy Mathewson, “is what they want in baseball, and plenty of it. Rube Foster is ready to furnish all the color baseball requires.”

Big Six: class act.

Also in the newspapers 100 years ago today: Wind destroys part of the grandstand at Reading’s stadium, the Circus Maximus. I mention this because Circus Maximus is perhaps the best name for a ballpark I’ve ever heard.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 10, 2017 at 10:58 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, April 07, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-7-2017

Pittsburgh Press, April 7, 1917:

Amos Strunk, the fastest player on the Athletics, was last night ordered out of the camp by Connie Mack and given his transportation to Philadelphia. Strunk refused to run out infield hits this spring and instead of taking kindly to the advise [sic] given him by Mack, sulked and in Charlotte failed to put in an appearance for the game.

Mack stated that he would not have any disgruntled star upon his team and that Strunk had not spoken to him for 10 days.

This is just about the only time anyone would be able to say Eric Wedge and Milton Bradley were not unlike Connie Mack and Amos Strunk.

It would be interesting to know what Strunk’s deal was - whether it was an honest-to-goodness personality clash with Mack, or whether he just didn’t want to go through another season with the most embarrassing big league ballclub since the ‘99 Spiders. Anyway, I guess he got over it because Strunk started 146 games in CF for the 1917 Athletics.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 07, 2017 at 10:41 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-6-2017

Grand Forks Herald, April 6, 1917:

Yelling, “Take it, Joe,” nearly resulted in half a dozen cracked heads among members of the Cleveland Americans. It happened because Joe Wood, Joe Boehling and Joe Harris were racing for the ball at the same time. They came together like a ton of brick.

“I shall have to split our Joes up or they’ll be killing one another,” Manager Fohl said.

This does seem like the sort of thing that had to result in disaster before someone realized it was a problem.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 06, 2017 at 10:42 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-5-2017

Pittsburgh Press, April 5, 1917:

Earl Yingling, the southpaw pitcher for whom Clark Griffith paid Minneapolis $2,500, and who last winter notified Griffith he had quit baseball, may yet be seen in a Washington uniform this season. The manager had a talk with Yingling [in Cincinnati] and the latter assured him he wanted to play with Washington, but that his wife was opposed to his continuing in the game, and that it was to please her he had retired. He told Griffith he would have another talk with the “missus” when he returned to Lebanon, O., where he lives…

Lebanon is a nice town, but I’d rather be a major league ballplayer than a resident of Lebanon, Ohio. Anyway, Yingling’s SABR bio sheds more light on this. According to the bio, Yingling’s mother-in-law had health issues and he stayed home to take care of his family.

Yingling returned to the big leagues in 1918, but almost immediately got drafted into the army. After the war, he returned home to Southwest Ohio and never again played in the majors.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 05, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-4-2017

Pittsburgh Press, April 4, 1917:

John Donaldson, a colored pitcher, who ranks with the fastest hurlers among the dusky club, has, so it is stated, been [illegible] a salary by a big league manager, conditioned on his going to Cuba, learning Spanish, pitching a season on the island, and returning under a Cuban disguise and a Spanish name. Donaldson has declined the proposition.

...and rightfully so. They may as well have said he could join the team if he figured out a way to become white.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 04, 2017 at 10:13 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 03, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-3-2017

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, April 3, 1917:

Ty Cobb declared formally that he would not play another game in the [current exhibition series against the Giants] and Jennings, manager of the Tigers, announced that he had made arrangements to send him to Cincinnati to finish his training with the Cincinnati Reds. This action was taken as a result of the clash between Cobb and Herzog in Dallas on Saturday.
...
Jennings agreed to [Cobb’s] withdrawal and upholds his stand, calling Charley Herzog, Fletcher and others of the New York team, anarchists of baseball.

How many ways to get what you want. Herzog used the best, he used the rest.

On the same page of the same newspaper, Benny Kauff tries and fails to get in on the Herzog-Cobb fight.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 03, 2017 at 10:10 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, ty cobb

Friday, March 31, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-31-2017

Washington Times, March 31, 1917:

Carl Sawyer, the National’s comedian-player is suffering from a badly swollen jaw today. Sawyer was hit by a pitched ball in practice but played through the game won from Rocky Mount by 4 to 0.

An examination of Sawyer’s jaw will be made today. The player passed an uncomfortable night.

The early 20th century idea of a full-time bench player/comedian is something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to.

Sawyer wasn’t a terrible player; he was a second baseman with decent gap power and a career batting average around .275 in the PCL and American Association. If Clark Griffith needed him to play every day, Sawyer probably wouldn’t have been an embarrassment. But I get the impression that he was around mostly to keep the fans entertained and his teammates loose. (See also: Altrock, Nick and Schaefer, Germany)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 31, 2017 at 10:44 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-30-2017

Ogden Standard, March 30, 1917:

[A famous bat maker says Benny Kauff] “buys more bats—has them made to order too—than all the rest of the club put together. He doesn’t order just one bat or maybe two, as others do. He orders from one dozen to two dozen at a clip. And he goes right down the line, trying one at a time, until he gets a good stick. He then sticks to that one until he has a bad slump in hitting. Then he destroys the whole lot and buys a new set.”

Benny Kauff was a strange guy. Anyway, the article later reports that Kauff says he’s learned to wait for good balls to hit, then “bust ‘em”. Maybe he did, but both his walk and strikeout rates declined in 1917, so there’s not a ton of evidence he was going deeper into counts.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 30, 2017 at 10:53 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-29-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, March 29, 1917:

When the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox took the field at Red Elm Park, Memphis, yesterday, for the first road game of their spring championship series, the town folk of the Southern burg witnessed an innovation in baseball. Players of both teams wore on the sleeves of their uniforms identification numbers similar to those adopted by some of the leading universities for their bootball warriors.

Cool. I’m enjoying seeing the occasional reference to uniform numbers as they slowly get adopted.

No mentions in today’s papers of yesterday’s dugout story, Heinie Groh leaving Reds camp early and going home to Cincinnati. I guess it must not have been a big deal.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 29, 2017 at 10:33 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, uniforms

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-28-2017

Washington Times, March 28, 1917:

President August Herrmann, of the Cincinnati Nationals, was notified last night that Heinie Groh, infielder, had left the local club at Memphis, Tenn., last night, and was now on a train to Cincinnati. Groh is said to have left a note for Manager Mathewson in which he stated he was “homesick.”

A quote from Groh in the Pittsburgh Press, March 28, 1917:

“Any married man can understand. I was homesick, dead lonesome, and simply had to come home. I feel better already. I will join the team here Friday and keep in physical trim.

These days, it would probably trigger a massive kerfuffle including suspensions, character assassination, and perhaps a trade if a player noped out on Spring Training, left a note, and went home.

I don’t know what the Reds’ reaction was to Groh leaving - I guess we’ll find out together - but he didn’t get suspended or traded. Heinie went on to lead the league in games played, plate appearances, hits, doubles, and on-base percentage. His trip home seems to have worked out well for everyone.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:12 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, March 27, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-27-2017

Tacoma Times, March 27, 1917:

[Seattle manager] Bill Leard waxed highly indignant the other day because of a remark by Harry Wolverton of the Seals, quoted in a local newspaper, the tenor of which was that organized baseball might just as well let down the bard to negroes if it is to permit Chinamen to play.

You tell ‘em, Bill! Of course players of all ethnicities should be allowed to play!

“Think of that!” fairly hissed the scrappy Leard. “Think of it. Ayau is an American-born, half-Chinese-half Hawaiian, has attended American schools and speaks English almost as well as I do. And Wolverton has on his San Francisco club Jacinto Calvo, a Cuban who butchers the American lingo.

Oh.

Well, I guess being right for the wrong reason is better than nothing.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 10:13 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: casual ethnic prejudice, dugout, history

Friday, March 24, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-24-2017

Topeka State Journal, March 24, 1917:

John Couch, a recruit pitcher with the Detroit Americans doesn’t have to worry about the price of potatoes or whether he makes good in the majors.

Couch and his five brothers own a cattle ranch of 16,000 acres in Montana and he is well fixed with the world’s goods. He has been playing ball in the summer and going to Leland Stanford university in the winter.

Couch was never a star in the big leagues, but he made 147 career appearances with a 91 ERA+. He won 16 games for the 1922 Reds.

I don’t know if or when Couch graduated from Stanford, but he pitched for San Francisco in 1915-1916 and 1919-1921. That could have been convenient for his classwork. If he lived in San Mateo or thereabouts, he’d have been 15 miles from San Francisco and 15 miles from Palo Alto.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 10:01 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-23-2017

Pittsburgh Press, March 23, 1917:

Manager Robinson has a hard time getting his Brooklyn players to train enough. Yesterday he hit upon a new plan and gave them an “Irishman’s Ride.” What’s that? Well, he invited them all to take a motor ride into the country. Then he made them walk back.

This seems like something that would work once. Once.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:53 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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