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Dugout Newsbeat

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-22-2019

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, January 22, 1919:

Big leaguers who object to cut-rate baseball have a swell alibi now that the Delaware County League has resumed business at the old stand. The signing of Frank Baker—if he really has signed the papers—will stimulate contract jumping, and if an effort is made to grab a few more stars some managers under the big top will have to raise the ante. It is reported that Perry, Munch and Jamieson, of the Athletics, have been spoken to by Manager Miller, of Upland, and others, including Billy Southworth, of Pittsburgh, and Babe Ruth, of the Red Sox, have listened to propositions.

If they had pulled this off, the 1919 Delaware County League might have had a better case as a major league than the 1884 Union Association. They didn’t, though; all of the listed players were in organized baseball in 1919. Baker even led the American League with 141 appearances, which is particularly impressive for a one-team player in a season with 140 scheduled games.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 22, 2019 at 10:11 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 21, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-21-2019

Pittsburgh Press, January 21, 1919:

Babe Ruth, the star southpaw of the Boston Redsox, was looked upon today as the next big leaguer to leave organized baseball for a berth with the Upland team of the Delaware County league. Upland team representatives have gone to confer with Ruth.

Home Run Baker spent the entire 1915 season playing for Upland after a salary dispute with the Athletics. I need to read more about the Delaware County League - it’s bizarre to me that independent teams in suburban Philadelphia were in a financial position to bid for the biggest stars in baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 21, 2019 at 10:05 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, January 18, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-18-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 18, 1919:

The National League [yesterday] decided it did not want to be classed as a minor league. As a result it rescinded the action taken Wednesday in declaring a salary limit of $11,000 [per month]. In place of that minor leaguers figure it adopted one much higher. Just how high was not announced, but is said to be perfectly satisfactory to New York and Chicago, which had protested against the adoption of the $11,000 a month salary limit.

The salary cap lasted approximately two days.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 18, 2019 at 09:52 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-17-2019

New York Tribune, January 17, 1919:

The forces of democracy as represented by the minor leagues of baseball won a sensational victory in the waning hours of the long-winded session of the rulers of the national game at the Biltmore yesterday…toward midnight came the big sensation with the announcement that the majors had surrendered and granted practically everything the minors had demanded.
...
It took a long time for the big fellows to get together on this democratic proposition, which in brief means that the National Commission will continue to direct the affairs of the major leagues, whereas the National Association of Professional Ball Clubs, or in short terms the minors, will have the undisputed control of their own affairs.
...
If the majors wish to buy a promising minor league player they [now] must purchase their man outright [instead of having the option to draft him].

The minor leagues had been angry for years that the National Commission (which was essentially just AL and NL leadership) had the last word in any kind of disagreement. They had also been trying to eliminate the draft, by which big league clubs could pluck players from the minors at a set price regardless of the wishes of the smaller clubs.

The other big news story to come out of this baseball confab was that the American League had no intention to implement a salary cap to match the NL’s self-imposed $11,000 monthly limit. One day into the salary cap era, the cracks were already beginning to show.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 17, 2019 at 10:15 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-16-2019

New York Sun, January 16, 1919:

Eleven thousand dollars a month for each club! That was the players’ salary limit for next season adopted by the National League at its meeting in the Waldorf-Astoria yesterday afternoon. The sum named is not to include the manager’s salary. The league’s announcement of this radical legislation immediately set baseball circles agog, and it is expected to develop an upheaval that is likely to include the biggest players’ strike in the history of the game.
...
This is the first time in major league history that a club salary limit has been adopted.

Somewhere in Milwaukee, Bud Selig’s father is jumping for joy. (I looked it up: He’d have been in his late teens in January 1919, probably in high school, maybe a student at Marquette.)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 16, 2019 at 10:16 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 14, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-14-2019

Washington Times, January 14, 1919:

Lieut. Lloyd Waite, formerly a Pirate, now an officer in France, says that the German troops know a lot more about baseball than generally is supposed. On several occasions, when American soldiers were playing games in dangerously exposed positions, Germans within good firing distance not only let them alone, but stood up in their trenches and hooted derisively when anybody made a fielding error, struck out, or boneheaded on a play.

It’s pretty unnerving when angry people with guns are yelling “Du bist ein Fünf!” at you while you’re trying to play defense.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 14, 2019 at 10:14 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, January 11, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-11-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 11, 1919:

An effort will be made to have Thirdbaseman Dug [sic] Baird of the St. Louis National League club play at Vandergrift [Pennsylvania] next summer. Jimmy Beeson, who is to manage the team in the Westmoreland county town, said yesterday he already is in negotiations with Baird, and he has reasons to believe he will wean him away from the major league. Beeson shares the belief with Baird that St. Louis will try to mete out some sort of punishment to him for jumping last summer to work at the Allegheny Steel and play on its team when the work or fight order went into effect.

I’m pretty sure this is the weirdest player movement rumor I’ve ever come across. A small-town independent semi-pro team thinks the starting third baseman from the St. Louis Cardinals will quit the big leagues and play for them instead.

It didn’t happen, as you might expect. The Cardinals, who may or may not have been mad at Baird for bailing on the team in 1918, traded him to Philadelphia ten days after this article appeared in the newspaper. And then in July, the Phillies traded Baird to…the Cardinals, who waived him in August. So maybe they really didn’t want him. Anyway, Baird was out of the majors by the end of 1920, but played professionally in non-Vandergrift cities like Indianapolis, Columbus, and Birmingham into the late 1920s.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:27 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-10-2019

Pittsburgh Press, January 10, 1919:

Many people are of the opinion that the adoption of the prohibition amendment by enough states to make the country entirely dry will have a helpful effect on baseball, and cause the national pastime to boom.
...
[Reds business manager Frank Bancroft:] “I can see where thousands of people will now change their daily route and go to the ball park. The suburban garden and saloon have taken thousands of people away from baseball—and now we’ll get them back again.”
...
[AL President Ban Johnson:] “I should put the increase in baseball attendance, due to bone dry laws, at from 10 to 15 per cent next summer,” said he, “Cities like Cincinnati and Chicago will be specially benefited.”
...
[NL President John Heydler:] “Whether we are for or against the dry wave, it is going to boost the game.”

Attendance was up dramatically in 1919, but it’s tough to figure out how much of it was the end of the war and how much was prohibition. My completely uninformed, pulled out of the air with no supporting evidence guess is that it was maybe 85% the end of World War I and 15% prohibition.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 10, 2019 at 10:02 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-9-2019

Washington Times, January 9, 1919:

Relatives of Christy Mathewson…believe that the Cincinnati manager will not return from France in time to take up his duties next spring. He is a gas officer with the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania division, and is now at Hendticourt, France, sixty miles from Metz.

Not close enough to meet the Metz, it seems. He’d have been recovering from his mustard gas accident at this point, and it’s interesting that the papers still don’t know it had happened.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, newspapers report on the passing of Hall of Fame outfielder/catcher Orator O’Rourke. Presumably, they knew he was gone because he stopped talking. O’Rourke was a fantastic player - played every position on the field, won a batting championship, led the league in home runs three times, and had an OPS+ over 100 for twenty consecutive seasons. He somehow might have been better at flowery speech than he was at baseball, judging by his famous response to a player who asked him for an advance on his salary:

“The exigencies of the occasion and the condition of our exchequer will not permit anything of that sort at this period of our existence. Subsequent developments in the field of finance may remove the present gloom and we may emerge into a condition where we may see our way clear to reply in the affirmative to your exceedingly modest request.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 09, 2019 at 10:07 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-8-2019

Pittsburgh Press, January 8, 1919:

Waite Hoyt, the schoolboy star, who has been the property of the Giants for nearly four years and who was included in the deal with the Rochester club by which Earl Smith comes to New York, announces his retirement from baseball [at age 19]. Hoyt, who called at the offices of the club yesterday, was not at all pleased when he read of his transfer to Rochester, and declared that he would abandon baseball to accept a position in the mercantile business.

“When I first joined the Giants I made up my mind that if I failed to make good in the major leagues before I was 21 I would quit, for I have no desire to be a minor leaguer all my life,” said the kid pitcher. “I’m not 21 yet, but I haven’t advanced as I had hoped to do, and it seems to me that now is the time to quit…Rochester has no attractions for me.”
...
It is possible he may reconsider the matter of his retirement before the opening of the season.

He did reconsider. Hoyt never spent another day in the minor leagues, winning 237 games, three World Series rings, and a plaque in Cooperstown. It was overly generous to induct Hoyt into the Hall, but he was a darn good pitcher - in the Dwight Gooden/Johan Santana/King Felix neighborhood in terms of career WAR.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 08, 2019 at 09:47 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 07, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-7-2019

Memphis News Scimitar, January 7, 1919:

Fred Anderson, New York National league pitcher, has announced he would quit baseball permanently to practice dentistry here.

Anderson has threatened several times to forsake the bat for the forceps. This time his decision seems final.

Fred was popular with the Gotham fans and well liked around the circuit.

Unlike most of the guys who retired from baseball to take other jobs, Anderson wasn’t bluffing to get more money. He really retired to become a full-time dentist.

It’s tough to know what to make of Fred Anderson’s career. He was horrible in 1913 with the Red Sox, good in 1914-15 in the Federal League, super-unlucky in terms of BABIP for the 1916 Giants, incredibly lucky with BABIP for the 1917 Giants, and league-average for the 1918 Giants. I guess he was probably pretty okay but unremarkable. Probably the best combination pitcher-dentist in history. Anderson did in the National League ERA crown in 1917 with a 1.44 ERA..

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 07, 2019 at 10:09 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, January 04, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-4-2019

Pittsburgh Press, January 4, 1919:

William “Kid” Gleason, appointed manager of the Chicago Whitesox, said last night that he had accepted the position offered him by Charles Comiskey.

“I don’t know exactly what I am going to do in my new position, but I am going to New York on Jan. 16 for a conference, and will know about it then. Every man on the team will get a square deal. How I will succeed no one can tell, but I am going to do my best to see that the Whitesox finish the season with flying colors.”

The end of the 1919 season was…not great for the Sox. Famously so.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 04, 2019 at 10:18 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-3-2019

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, January 3, 1919:

President Heydler, of the National League, yesterday announced the appointment of William L. Veeck, vice president of the Chicago club, as a member of the rules committee of the league. President Heydler said that Veeck’s long experience as a baseball reporter qualified him for this duty.

This appointment seems appropriate because his son Bill Junior ruled.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago, former Braves infielder Ed Fitzpatrick appears to be caught up in some kind of soccer tampering scandal. I’m just pleased to find out there were soccer scandals in the United States that long ago.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 03, 2019 at 10:11 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-2-2019

Toledo News-Bee, January 2, 1919:

Fred Toney, Cincinnati pitcher, is having his fill of federal courts. Toney was sentenced to four months on Monday on a white slave charge. On Tuesday he was hauled before the Federal Court of Nashville, Tenn., on a charge of trying to evade the selective service law. This case is now in progress.

Toney had been convicted of violating the Mann Act by traveling across state lines with a woman for an “immoral purpose”. Later in 1919, Toney married his ‘slave’ and as far as I can tell remained married to her until his death in 1953, so this doesn’t exactly seem like the sort of thing the Mann Act was intended to punish.

Anyway, 1919 was quite a year for Fred Toney. He spent time in prison, was acquitted of the draft-dodging charges, retired, unretired, and may or may not have been present when the Black Sox players and gamblers met in New York.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 02, 2019 at 10:04 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, December 31, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-31-2018

New York Sun, December 31, 1918:

Heydler Declines to Name Official Batting Champion of League

Who really is the 1918 batting champion of the National League? The official figures printed in adjoining columns show that Southworth, the young outfielder who came to the Pirates from the Southern League in time to play in 64 National League games, compiled the best average, with .341. Zack Wheat of Brooklyn hit .335 for 105 games, but Eddie Roush of the Reds batted only two points worse in 113 games…It might not be considered fair to hand Wheat the crown if we take all these things into consideration.
...
“I will not say who is the official champion,” said [National League president-secretary John] Heydler. “Southworth has a claim on the title that cannot be readily dismissed. In an ordinary year a player who took part in sixty-four games would not be recognized as champion, but in view of the shortened National League season and the fact that Southworth played in more than half of his club’s games, he must be given some consideration. But as to who is the champion—ask me not.”

If I understand the rules of the day correctly, Southworth should be the real batting champion because he played in more than half of his team’s games. Under current rules, it’s Wheat. It’s definitely not Roush, any more than it’s NL hits leader Charlie Hollocher.

Eventually, the NL decided on Wheat. I don’t think I’d have made the same ruling, but the shortened season caused all kinds of goofiness in 1918. They kind of had to make things up on the fly.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 31, 2018 at 10:03 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, December 28, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-28-2018

Perth Amboy Evening News, December 28, 1918:

Napoleon Lajoie, for twenty years conceded to be one of the brightest luminaries of the major league, announced his retirement from professional baseball last night.
...
Only once in his twenty-three years’ career on the diamond did Lajoie belong to a pennant winning team. That was in 1917, when he managed the Toronto team of the International League.
...
Lajoie retired from baseball to take care of his interests in an automobile tire manufacturing company.

After all that time, Nap had become a real Northeast Ohioan: Making tires and not winning championships.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 28, 2018 at 09:41 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-27-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, December 27, 1918:

Comiskey Yet May Lift Ban on “Outlawed” Players

Charles Comiskey, the generous owner of the White Sox, has taken a stand against the players who quit baseball last season to enter the shipyards. The Chicago fans now have started to write Comiskey asking for different action on those cases. Four of the Chicago stars come under the ban.
...
If Comiskey parts with Jackson and Felsch and this pair is snared by the Yankees, Huggins will have one of the best outfields in baseball. Duffy Lewis and Ping Bodie already are on the payroll. Again, the chances of Cobb going to the Yankees are not to be overlooked.

Jackson and Felsch: “You want to ban us? Hold our beers and watch this.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 27, 2018 at 10:05 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-26-2018

Washington Herald, December 26, 1918:

Connie Mack will be one of the outstanding figures in the reconstruction of baseball. He can reconstruct a ball club out of an orphan asylum.

He can do it twice, though they didn’t know that yet in 1919.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 26, 2018 at 09:47 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, December 24, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-24-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, December 24, 1918:

Delighted that he landed the Red Sox trio of Lewis, Shore and Leonade, but still far from satisfied, [Yankees owner Jacob] Ruppert has instructed manager Miller Huggins, of the Yankees, to angle for other players.
...
Now, it is rumored…that Colonel “Go-Get-‘Em” Ruppert is baiting his hook with the necessary coin of the realm to land Tyrus Raymond Cobb—none other than the original T.R., of Detroit—or Happy Felsch, the outfield slugger of the Chicago White Sox.
...
Colonel Ruppert has decided fully not to let money stand in the way of obtaining T.R. Cobb, and is ready to go to the limit to snare the Georgia Peach, which would just about round out a team for the Yankees that would enable them to compete with McGraw’s Giants for public favor and patronage in New York.

The Yankees couldn’t land Cobb or Felsch, so they had to settle for a pitcher/outfielder named Ruth. It worked out okay in the end.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 24, 2018 at 10:03 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, December 21, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-21-2018

Washington Times, December 21, 1918:

“If Jack Hendricks is to manage the Cardinals next summer, then I shall not play shortstop,” said Roger [sic] Hornsby, who is visiting friends [in St. Louis]. “I mean it because I am unable to give my best under Jack Hendricks. I’d like to return to St. Louis. I like the fans and everything here, but I’ll ask President Rickey or some one connected with the club to trade me if Hendricks is to return.

“If I’m to be traded,” continued Hornsby, “any club will suit me. I want to come back next season and show that I’m not a Texas bloomer. They don’t grow bloomers down in that State. We’re good or we’re bad.

“When we’re good we keep up the name of Texas. When we’re bad no one on the outside hears about us. I’m not egotistical by telling the fans that I’m good. I simply want to show them that last season doesn’t count for me.”

It’s not bragging if you can back it up. Rogers Hornsby could back it up.

The Cardinals chose correctly, keeping the 23-year-old middle infielder who was about to hit .397 from 1920-1925, leading the league in batting average, OBP, and slugging in each of those six seasons. Taking his entire MLB and MiLB career into account, Hendricks seems to have been a perfectly cromulent manager. It’s just that Rogers Hornsby was Rogers F. Hornsby.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 21, 2018 at 10:04 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-19-2018

Washington Times, December 19, 1918:

Charles Webb Murphy, who became rich as the owner of the champion Cubs under Frank Chance, has a scheme for a new league in the West. He would include Chicago, playing games at his West Side park, which is now without a tenant; Milwaukee, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville, Toronto, and Buffalo.

An independent or outlaw attempt at a third major league? Great idea, Charlie! Why hasn’t anyone tried this recently?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 19, 2018 at 09:53 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-18-2018

Washington Herald, December 18, 1918:

A report that Corp. Hank Gowdy, the first major league player to enlist in the army service in France, has been killed in action gained circulation last night. Many soldiers among those who arrived from France [this week] had heard that he had fallen in action.
...
Gowdy was expected to catch next season for the Boston Braves, and arrangements were being made to give him a warm welcome when he returned with other ball players from France.

I hope they didn’t cancel the reception, because Gowdy was fine. He played big league baseball through 1930, then coached into the 1940s. When the United States entered World War II, Gowdy enlisted again, making him the only known ballplayer to serve in both World Wars.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 18, 2018 at 10:00 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, December 17, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-17-2018

Washington Times, December 17, 1918:

Capt. Tyrus Raymond Cobb, U. S. A., the Detroit baseball star, announced today that he is “tired of baseball,” and intends to “break away” from it.

“I am going down to my home in Augusta, Ga.,” declared the famous batsman, who has just returned from overseas service, “and rest up for several months. I intend to break away from baseball. I am tired of it. I’ve had fifteen years of it, and I want to quit while I am still good.

Cobb played another ten seasons, hitting .360 from 1919-1928. He was still good when he quit.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee is in a full-on war with Ban Johnson. Johnson says Frazee tolerates gambling in the stands at Fenway, while Frazee says that’s nonsense and he’s had gamblers arrested and banned from the stadium. From what I can tell, Johnson was salty about Frazee trying to get William Howard Taft to become a one-man national commission, kneecapping the league presidents in the process.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 17, 2018 at 10:14 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, December 14, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-14-2018

Washington Times, December 14, 1918:

Two gobs from the [Great Lakes Naval Station] will go South with the New York Yankees for trial next spring. They are Johnny Jones, a sandlot infielder from St. Louis, and George Halas, who played in the outfield on the Illinois varsity nine and end on the football eleven.

Meh. I bet Halas will be back in Chicago and out of baseball in a year or two.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 14, 2018 at 09:56 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-13-2018

Washington Herald, December 13, 1918:

Georgie Burns is building ships at a New Jersey yard and is so enamored of the work that he will stick to it until McGraw orders his veterans to training camp next spring. Ordinarily the Giant left fielder takes on ten or fifteen pounds during the off season, but thus far this winter he hasn’t gained an ounce.
...
It is reported that Hickman, of the Dodgers, may not play ball again. He is said to have a responsible position with a shipping company.
...
“Derby Day” Bill Clymer, winning manager of the Louisville Colonels, is a coal salesman, taking a position at Scranton, Pa., with the Payne Coal Company. Clymer will continue selling the coal the balance of the winter, but he says he will be back in baseball as soon as it is resumed.

Burns declares that he is thinking of taking up shipbuilding permanently. He plans to devote his time in the off months of the year to learning the art of ship construction, and when his baseball days are ended plans to give all his time to it.

I don’t begrudge modern players their large salaries, but it does add some personality to the game to know that your left fielder builds ships or your manager sells coal. Where have you gone, Richie Hebner?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 13, 2018 at 10:40 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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