Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, April 20, 2014

NY Times: Who Made That Relief Pitcher?

In April 1903, a writer for Sporting Life described what might have been a baseball first: “Manager McGraw has originated a new plan,” the paper said, referring to John McGraw, the successful skipper of the New York Giants. “He will use two pitchers in every game, one being in the points five innings and the other four. No manager but one who has originality and nerve would attempt any such innovation, but McGraw has both.”

The team soon abandoned this idea, wrote Peter Morris, author of “A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball.” But in the years that followed, McGraw did find a way to reorganize his roster. Some pitchers would be called upon to start games; others would specialize in finishing.

bobm Posted: April 20, 2014 at 11:27 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, john mcgraw, relievers

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 20, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4689662)
Even McGraw couldn't successfully implement bullpen by committee. Only when he returned to his designated closer, Doc Crandall, did the sports scribes relentless criticism abate.
   2. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: April 20, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4689673)
Crandall lead the league in games finished 5 years in a row, but never in saves.

Edit: Woah, he also had over 1000 career PA (and 55 starts at second base!) with an OPS+ of 120. Ok, most of that was in the Federal league but he still had 509 PAs in the NL with a 110 OPS+. Very strange career.
   3. Mike Emeigh Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:38 PM (#4689870)
Until the mid-1920s, relief pitchers were almost always pitching in low-leverage situations; the idea of a fireman didn't really come up, even with McGraw. What McGraw did was something similar to what Bobby Cox used to do in Atlanta - he pulled his starters from the game early when they had big leads, and used guys like Crandall and (later) Dave Danforth to finish up. Of Crandall's five saves in 1911, for example, four were in blowouts (and in one of those he made it close by allowing five runs in the ninth). When McGraw needed a true fireman, it was almost always Matty or one of his other starters.

-- MWE

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF


Thanks to
Kiko Sakata
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

(85 - 1:48pm, Oct 09)
Last: Baldrick

NewsblogCal Ripken might be biggest risk for Nats, but he also offers biggest rewards - The Washington Post
(10 - 1:43pm, Oct 09)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogOTP October 2015 II: Religion, Politics, Baseball - America's Favorite Pastimes Come Under the Microscope in Shaking the Tree's Gorgeous PASSION PLAY PART III
(626 - 1:41pm, Oct 09)
Last: Delorians

NewsblogTheo Epstein Erases Losing Traditions as Baseball's Miracle Worker | Bleacher Report
(119 - 1:40pm, Oct 09)
Last: zonk

NewsblogStar-Studded All-Rookie Team Offers Immense Upside -
(7 - 1:38pm, Oct 09)
Last: zonk

NewsblogMLB Division Series set for 4 games in one day |
(4 - 1:37pm, Oct 09)
Last: Bote Man

NewsblogAngell: The Yankees Bow Out of the Playoffs
(49 - 1:31pm, Oct 09)
Last: There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie)

NewsblogOT - October 2015 College Football thread
(44 - 1:30pm, Oct 09)
Last: zonk

NewsblogSteven Matz, Marcus Stroman met in high school |
(7 - 1:24pm, Oct 09)
Last: jacksone (AKA It's OK...)

NewsblogMariners reportedly dismiss Lloyd McClendon |
(2 - 1:04pm, Oct 09)
Last: smileyy

NewsblogJohnny Cueto must reclaim his ace title in Game 2 | The Kansas City Star
(2 - 1:03pm, Oct 09)
Last: smileyy

NewsblogA Short(-ish) Introduction to Using R Packages for Baseball Research – The Hardball Times
(5 - 12:56pm, Oct 09)
Last: depletion

NewsblogCubs will challenge John Lackey in NLDS |
(37 - 12:50pm, Oct 09)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogMLB not enforcing new pace-of-play rules during playoffs
(8 - 12:44pm, Oct 09)
Last: Bote Man

NewsblogThe Curious Case Of The Extra .2 Seconds -
(2 - 12:37pm, Oct 09)
Last: Tim M

Page rendered in 0.1696 seconds
47 querie(s) executed