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
Harry Balsagne
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogWhy Steve Bartman should throw the first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series
(68 - 1:16am, Oct 24)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogOTP 2016 Oct 17: Politics, Sports, and the 'League of Legends' World Championship
(2084 - 12:59am, Oct 24)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

Newsblogred sox - Inside story of David Ortiz's injury: 'He was essentially playing on stumps' - WEEI | Rob Bradford
(34 - 12:55am, Oct 24)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogESPN: Stark: Why super teams don't win the World Series
(18 - 11:22pm, Oct 23)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogOT: NBA 2016-17 Preseason Thread
(234 - 11:06pm, Oct 23)
Last: knowledge is STIGGLES, france is bacon

NewsblogWelcome back, Kyle Schwarber! | 2080 Baseball
(17 - 9:25pm, Oct 23)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: October-November 2016 Soccer Thread
(73 - 9:16pm, Oct 23)
Last: jmurph

Gonfalon CubsNL pennant thread
(35 - 9:13pm, Oct 23)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogNLCS Game 6 Chatter
(675 - 8:55pm, Oct 23)
Last: Howie Menckel

Newsblog2016 Season Prediction OMNICHATTER
(80 - 5:13pm, Oct 23)
Last: Kiko Sakata

NewsblogEpstein on Cubs clinching NLCS |
(6 - 5:04pm, Oct 23)
Last: Kiko Sakata

NewsblogSunday Notes: DH Dilemma, Indians, Gallardo, Glasnow, HoF Managers, more | FanGraphs Baseball
(3 - 5:02pm, Oct 23)
Last: escabeche

NewsblogVerlander deal? Astros all-in? Why MLB hot stove could be trade-heavy | New York Post
(3 - 4:55pm, Oct 23)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogProspect Retrospective: Ricky Vaughn, RHP, Cleveland Indians - Minor League Ball
(13 - 2:07pm, Oct 23)
Last: Man o' Schwar

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2016 Discussion
(6 - 7:17am, Oct 23)
Last: bjhanke

Page rendered in 0.1580 seconds
47 querie(s) executed