President Somers of the Indians on Friday announced he had discharged Joe Birmingham as manager of the team. Unsatisfactory progress of the club is blamed. No successor has been chosen.
[Portland Beavers] Manager McCreedie…stated on Friday that he could not accept the managership of the Cleveland Indians, for which he has been mentioned since Owner Somers deposed Birmingham.
Asked why, McCreedie declared: “I don’t like to say, but there are reasons. I will talk about it further if the managership is offered me.”
Sources say he had a guy on the other line about some whitewalls.
Before getting to baseball’s dependence on the health of major cable companies, here is a brief look at some early season numbers. The first month of the season has seen big increases in viewership for national games on Fox Sports 1 and MLB Network, including double the amount of viewers aged 18 to 34 watching game on Fox Sports 1. The Chicago Cubs have doubled their ratings after their increased commitment in the offseason as well as the arrival of Kris Bryant. The Kansas City Royals have done the same coming off their World Series appearance. The Houston Astros have seen an increase in viewership after finally resolving their local disputes, at least as far as getting their games on all the local cable packages. The Arizona Diamondbacks have seen their highest ratings in a decade while the games of the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Diego Padres rank first in their broadcast territories among all shows. A recent article by Maury Brown at Forbes showed that baseball games beat playoff games from the NHL and NBA in many markets across the country.
The ratings so far this season are a great indicator of baseball’s popularity. Not only is baseball beating playoffs in other sports, it is also beating first-run shows on networks.
Kluber’s 18 strikeouts tied Hall-of-Famer Bob Feller for the most in a nine-inning game in franchise history. Feller achieved the feat on Oct. 2, 1938, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Tigers. The 18 strikeouts are the most in the Majors since Ben Sheets fanned the same total on May 16, 2004, with the Brewers. Kluber also tied soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson for the most strikeouts in an eight-inning outing since at least 1914.
Are the 2015 Indians the worst-fielding team in modern major league history? There’s a lot of season left before they can claim that dubious distinction, but with the first month in the books, their play in the field has been poor enough to argue that they very well could.
Fielding is, of course, extremely difficult to measure, but it’s a bit simpler to sort out on a team level than it is to figure out the value of one fielder from the man next to him on the field. The blunt instrument here is defensive efficiency, which measures the rate at which a team’s fielders turn balls in play (except for home runs) into outs. Thus far this season, Cleveland is dead last in the majors in defensive efficiency, converting just 64% of its opponents’ balls in play into outs. That number may look bad, but put into historical context, it looks a lot worse.
Comparing that raw figure to the full-season numbers from the last century of baseball, the Indians’ defensive efficiency (.641 to be precise) is the worst since the 1930 Phillies posted a .631 mark, which is the game’s lowest figure since the start of the twentieth century. Within the context of their respective times, however, Cleveland has been even worse. In 1930, 67% of the balls in play in the major leagues were converted into outs; this year, that figure has been 69%. Compared to league average, then, the 1930 Phillies turned balls in play into outs at 93.8% of the league-average rate, but this year’s Indians have done so at just 92.5% of the league-average rate.
ZIPS projects Salazar for 2.7 WAR, but what do stats know?
The Indians have optioned struggling right-hander Danny Salazar to Class AAA Columbus.
In doing so they have reduced the competition for the fourth and fifth spots in the starting rotation to Zach McAllister, T.J. House and Josh Tomlin. McAllister is out of options so he’s guaranteed a spot on the staff regardless it’s as a starter or reliever. House and Tomlin have options.
The Reds hit Salazar hard Thursday at Goodyear Ballpark in a 13-2 victory. He allowed seven runs, six earned, on six hits in 3 1/3 innings. Two of the hits were home runs.
Salazar struck out six, but after his 83-pitch performance he was not happy with himself.
“I pitched like bleep,” he told reporters.
Salazar said his fastball was up, his change up was in the middle of the plate and that he continually pitched from behind in the count.
“That’s not good,” he said.
Perhaps Salazar knew the consequences of his performance.
This spring Salazar is 1-2 with a 8.18 ERA in four Cactus League starts. He allowed 14 hits and 10 earned runs in 11 innings.
Worst Offseason Move: None. Seriously, the Pale Hose didn’t put a foot wrong this winter. Although, when we spoke a few weeks ago, Hahn getting fired up about a minor league deal for 36-year-old Brad Penny might’ve been a bit much.
I think it would have been fair to place the David Robertson deal here.
The last time Sports Illustrated anointed the Cleveland Indians as favorites to win the World Series was 1987.
With Joe Carter (who would have his own World Series moment years later) and Cory Snyder on the cover, SI declared that “Cleveland is the Best Team in the American League.”
No, this is not the script of the movie “Major League,” as the previous five seasons before 1987 Cleveland finished 5th, 7th, 6th, 7th and 6th in the American League East.
Well, 1987 was no different as the Indians pitching staff, that featured two aging future Hall of Famers, was pummeled to the tune of allowing an absurd 957 runs with a team ERA of 5.28. Cleveland finished with baseball’s worst record at 61-101, 37 games behind division winner Detroit.
The losing would continue for the next seven years, before a breakout season in 1995, when the Indians went to their first World Series since 1954. (The Indians were beaten in six games by the Atlanta Braves).
So what makes this year any different? Could MLB see another “Indian Uprising?”
Cleveland hasn’t won a World Championship since 1948 but boasts loads of talent, with leftfielder Michael Brantley, first baseman/designated hitter Brandon Moss, first baseman Carlos Santana and reigning AL Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber, who went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 269 strikeouts last season.
Al Rosen’s success in baseball didn’t end after he left the diamond for the final time.
A muscular third baseman for the Cleveland Indians who won the 1953 AL MVP and later worked in the front offices of several teams, died Friday. He was 91…In 1953, Rosen batted .336 with 43 homers and 145 RBIs. He nearly won the Triple Crown, but was beaten out in for the batting title by Washington’s Mickey Vernon, who hit .337. Rosen was unanimously picked the AL’s top player.
..Rosen is the only person in baseball history to have earned the honors of MVP as a player and Executive of the Year.
RIP to the Hebrew Hammer. I saw him play at the very tail end of his career. One of the few examples in any professional sport who was very successful as a player and in the front office.
Al Rosen, the American League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1953, died at his home in California on Friday at age 91.
The former third baseman for the Cleveland Indians also was president of the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros and the San Francisco Giants.
He also was proud to be a Jew, and he refused to play on the High Holy Days.
Rosen was born in South Carolina and moved to Miami at a very young age. He was known to be proud of being a Jew and when Ed Sullivan once suggested that Rosen’s habit of drawing a “cross” in the dirt with his bat indicated he might be a Catholic, Rosen said the “cross” was an “x” and demanded that Sullivan retract his comment.
An on-the-field incident almost ended with a fight when a player for an opposing team called him a “Jew bastard.” Rosen immediately challenged him to a fight, and the player backed down.
Hank Greenberg, another Jewish baseball legend, once said that Rosen “want[ed] to go into the stands and murder” fans who hurled anti-Semitic insults at him.
Rosen said in a 2010 documentary on Jews and baseball, Rosen said, “There’s a time that you let it be known that enough is enough. . . . You flatten [them].”
Also, see Paul Hoynes: http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2015/03/cleveland_indians_great_al_ros.html
Former professional baseball player Jim King of Elkins died Monday in Fayetteville.
He was 82.
An outfielder, King played 11 seasons with six major-league teams. He began his major-league career in 1955 with the Chicago Cubs where he played two seasons. His first at-bat came at Wrigley Field, where he had a pinch-hit double against eventual Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.
King went on to play a year for the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants. He didn’t play in the majors in the 1959 and 1960 seasons.
King’s longest professional stint came with Washington where he played six years. He started the 1967 season with the Senators before wrapping up his career later that year playing a combined 42 games with the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians.
I think about Tabler now because of an email sent by Tom Tango referencing a contradiction in my Strat-O-Matic post. On the one hand, I say I don’t like the horseshoes on Strat-O cards that reference a players ability to hit in the clutch (I have been told by several people that these were actually added to regulate a player’s RBI totals so that they somewhat mirror what happened during the season but it’s the same general thing). On the other hand, I say that I did like the fact that Statis Pro gave Matt Alexander a ridiculously awesome card in 1979 when he only had a few plate appearances. “Pick your poison,” Tom writes. “Do you want to reflect that card relative to what we observed? Or do you want to reflect the card after removing the ESTIMATED random variation?”
I told Tango that I fully embrace that I’m being inconsistent … but it’s mainly because I was 11 years old when I loved the Matt Alexander card. I think that card was ridiculous but wonderful at that point in my life.
In any case, Tango brought up Pat Tabler and I thought back to a question: How much of what Pat Tabler did those three years was luck and random variation? When I was a kid, I was pretty confident that NONE OF IT was luck. The guy was Mr. Clutch. It said so right on his card. Something came over him when the bases were loaded. True, the year the card came out he hit .200 with the bases loaded, which I recall was talked about quite a bit. It’s also true that in 1989, he went 1-for-11 with two double play grounders — and it seemed that whenever he came up with the bases loaded that year, the radio announcers talked about how he was Mr. Clutch which just accentuated the disappointment.