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Monday, January 13, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-13-2014

Washington Herald, January 13, 1914:

“Will you tell me how I am going to sign up Germany Schaefer to a contract when he is galloping around the world with the White Sox-Giants tourists”  inquired Manager Griffith last night.

“I want Schaefer with me during the coming season, but unless he gets a contract before February 1 (and I don’t know how I am going to get one to him), he can declare himself a free agent.”
...
“If I could definitely locate Schaefer on the high seas,” said the Nationals’ pilot last night, “I would send him terms by wireless, and demand an immediate acceptance.”

Also, you could make a competitive offer when he gets back and, if your 38-year-old utilityman/comedian who wasn’t all that good when he was good decides to take more money elsewhere, just sort of shrug and move on.

Anyhoo, Schaefer did wind up staying in Washington for one more season, hitting .241/.313/.276 in 33 plate appearances. He jumped to the Federal League in 1915, played poorly there, and was essentially done as an ballplayer.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:12 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: clark griffith, dugout, germany schaefer, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4637592)
Today's Birthday Team has a grand total of two ASG appearances. If you're counting, they have one more All-Star appearance than they have decapitated cats.

C: Ron Brand
1B: Billy Jo Robidoux
2B: Jimmy Jordan
3B: Steve Mesner
SS: Mike Tyson
LF: Kevin Mitchell
CF: Fred Schulte
RF: Bama Rowell

SP: Bob Forsch
SP: Elmer Dessens
SP: Kevin Foster
SP: Steve Comer
SP: Larry Jaster
RP: Akinori Otsuka

.019 Career Isolated Power: Goat Anderson
Almost no-hit the Indians once in a spot start: Odell Jones
Fun names: Cactus Keck and Spades Wood
Really friggin' tall: Andy Sisco
   2. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4637593)
Before I built this roster, I was totally unfamiliar with Brand. I guess that's no surprise because he retired four years before I was born and had a career OPS of .585, but he's an interesting player. Broke into the majors in 1963 as a 23-year-old catcher in the Pirates organization and hit .288/.390/.364 in 46 games. The kid can hit, right? Well, no.

He surfaced again in '65 as the Astros' everyday catcher and didn't hit (65 OPS+), so Brand went to the bench and spent the next three years backing up John Bateman. I know the Astrodome in 1968 was a particularly difficult offensive environment, but still...Brand hit .160/.261/.185 in '68.

Expansion being what it was in the '60s, Brand wound up as the Expos' starting catcher in 1969 (ahead of Bateman, believe it or not) and actually did an adequate job. His BA and OBP were both above league-average. He didn't hit for power (he never did), but if you're a 110-loss expansion team, you've got bigger worries than a slap-hitting catcher who gets on base at a decent clip.

So of course they made him a shortstop (!) in 1970. To be fair, Brand had been a shortstop in the minors...ten years earlier.

He stopped hitting and was out of the big leagues for good by the end of 1971.

Weird career.
   3. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4637599)
Birthday pitcher Elmer Dessens divided 1996 between Mexico City, Calgary, Zebulon, NC, and Pittsburgh. There has to be some kind of mileage record there for someone who didn't leave North America.
   4. Sweatpants Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4637605)
Goat Anderson had one of my favorite weird careers ever. I think someone here was listing guys who had only one season in the bigs but were regulars in that year. Anderson's on that list. He couldn't really hit at all, but he could walk, and he posted a .343 OBP in a .319 environment (his OPS+ is only 77 because a .225 slugging percentage is terrible even in the deadest of deadball eras). I'm pretty sure he still holds the single-season record for runs-to-RBI ratio (73/12).

His lone home run (one of his five extra-base hits) came off Ed Reulbach. It was the only home run Reulbach allowed that year.
   5. BDC Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4637611)
Fun with .500 records: I thought of making this a trivia question but it's by nature both dull and obscure. However, here goes:

The Dallas Cowboys just finished their third straight .500 season. This is an NFL record, but only a tie: the 1983-85 Green Bay Packers also finished .500 three straight years. (They also finished at .500 in 1981, and just a game over .500 in the "replacements" 1982 season.)

No ML team has ever finished .500 three straight years, but Arizona has a chance to do so in 2014. Oddly enough, given how many games there are in baseball seasons, there have been three other "streaks" of consecutive .500 seasons in MLB: the 1972-73 Twins, the 1982-83 Padres, and the 1988-89 Expos.

One thing I learned while finding this out is that there are seven ML franchises that have never had a season exactly at .500. Six of them are "expansion" franchises, though they include the the Rangers, Mets, and Royals, who are now pretty long in the tooth. The Mariners, Rockies, and Rays are also in the group. But there is one extremely venerable franchise that has never finished at .500. And it's not the Yankees, although the last time they finished at .500 they were playing in Manhattan and calling themselves the Highlanders (1911). I guess that's the trivia part, though who cares :)
   6. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4637613)
Birthday pitcher Elmer Dessens divided 1996 between Mexico City, Calgary, Zebulon, NC, and Pittsburgh. There has to be some kind of mileage record there for someone who didn't leave North America.


Back when the Calgary Cannons were the Marlins PCL affiliate, I think you could break the record just by being sent down.
   7. Davo Dozier Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4637617)
I choose to believe that's Greatest-Of-All-Time Anderson coming off the bench.
   8. WahooSam Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4637621)
Never mind, got my players mixed up
   9. Davo Dozier Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4637622)
#1-2: I wrote a bit about Ron Brand in the Lounge a few months ago, in response to the question "Has a catcher ever moved to short stop?"

* * * *

I believe I have the three best answers for you:

1. Jack Rowe (1879-1890). From 1880-1884 he was Buffalo's primary catcher (while also spending time in the outfield). In 1885 he played over half his games at shortstop, the rest at catcher. The Bisons were bought out in 1886, and he was sent to the Detroit Wolverines, who made them their full-time shortstop, where he remained for the rest of his career.

2. Mike McGeary (1871-1882). In 1871 he caught every game for the (National Association) Troy Haymakers. The next year he split half his time between shortstop and catcher for the (other) Philadelphia Athletics, and for the rest of his career he spent time between shortstop and second base (very occasionally filling in at catcher).

3. Ron Brand (1963-1971). The closest modern player to qualify. He started in the minors as a shortstop, but was moved to catcher early on. He made his debut in 1963 for the Pirates, and played 37 games in the field--33 at catcher, 2 each at second and third. The Houston Colt .45s (Astros) acquired him in 1965, and used him almost exclusively as a catcher (he would play a few games each year at second, third, and the outfield, but ~95% of his games were as their backup catcher). The Expos picked him in the expansion draft in 1968, and he was their primary catcher in their debut 1969 season. However...that was the end of his run at catcher. He played in 1970 and 1971 almost exclusively as a utility infielder, seeing the majority of his time at shortstop (19 games in 1970, 22 games in 1971).
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4637632)
If I subscribe to Baseball America, do I get access to their archives? Do their electronically archive their old stuff (old meaning early 90s)
   11. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4637640)
Not that far back, but yeah, there's a treasure trove. Also, the player cards have the bios from all the past player handbooks.
AG#1F - I *guarantee* that it would be worth it to you.
   12. Chris Fluit Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4637679)
Russell Martin almost made it #4, but the plan to have him play shortstop for Canada's World Baseball team didn't pan out.
   13. Davo Dozier Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4637687)
12--Yeah, it's a very odd position change to make!
   14. BDC Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4637697)
Babe Ruth was an amateur catcher, and evidently played his first professional game at shortstop. Doubly weird because of course he threw LH. But he was pretty adept at baseball.
   15. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4637699)
In the expansion era, Brand (C-350, SS-41), Dave Roberts (C-152, SS-40), and Dave Cochrane came close (C-43, SS-39) are the guys with the most time spent at both positions.
   16. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4637715)
I'm pretty sure he still holds the single-season record for runs-to-RBI ratio (73/12).


Ratio, yes, but Luis Castillo's 101/17 season is even more outlandish.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4637717)
Thanks Der.
   18. esseff Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4637782)
Orlando McFarlane at Burlington, Iowa, in 1960: 25 games catching, 78 at third, 14 at shortstop. The second baseman on that team: Ron Brand.

Also, as an unusual hybrid, I figure Orlando McFarlane gets bonus credit for the Hispanic/Scots name.
   19. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4638009)
Bama Rowell! I remember him from my OOTP historical league. He has the most Alabama name of all time. (Nickname: Tide?) And of course he attended college at LSU.

In fact, this birthday team is full of guys that have interesting stories one way or the other.

#5: Phillies? The are the anti-Yankees in a sense.
   20. Wahoo Sam Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:10 PM (#4638201)
Enzo Hernandez had 12 RBI in his first season and he played 143 games at short for the Padres that year. He had more STOLEN BASES than RBI in all but one of his seasons, and he was a regular shortstop. A very odd stat line for him.

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