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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-22-2018

Washington [Pennsylvania] Reporter, February 22, 1918:

The end of the spit-ball spit-ball [sic] is coming. John K. Tener, president of the National League, has issued a warning to young pitchers, advising them not to cultivate the use of the spitball, and indicating that it was only the matter of a short time when it would be abolished.
...
[Tener:] “The spit-ball is a disgusting, unsanitary delivery not likely to endure more than a few more seasons at the most. All the members of the National League Rules Committee, Dreyfuss, Heydler and myself are strongly opposed to it, and favor its abolishment.”

The narrative I’ve always heard is that the spitter was banned as a reaction to Ray Chapman’s death, but obviously there was strong opposition to the pitch long before it was eliminated.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 22, 2018 at 12:57 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history, spitball

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 22, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5628792)
Not a strong Birthday Team. Daniel Nava is second in career WAR among position players. Today's team is recommended if you like Mariners and Pilots pitchers.

C: Bill Baker (1.34 WAR)
1B: Casey Kotchman (7.47 WAR)
2B: Kelly Johnson (17.78 WAR)
3B: Russ Johnson (2.7 WAR)
SS: Johnny Lucadello (1.02 WAR)
LF: Daniel Nava (8.27 WAR)
CF: Eric Yelding (-1.69 WAR)
RF: Joe Lefebvre (3.82 WAR)

SP: Clarence Mitchell (24.81 WAR)
SP: Steve Barber (17.47 WAR)
SP: Jumbo McGinnis (8.74 WAR)
SP: Brian Duensing (7.76 WAR)
SP: John Halama (5.78 WAR)
RP: J.J. Putz (13.49 WAR)
RP: Kazuhiro Sasaki (3.79 WAR)

#####: ##### Tebeau
Fun names: Pat Hilly, Rocky Gale
Fun player: Ryne Duren
Manager: Sparky Anderson
Umpire: Bill Klem
   2. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: February 22, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5629021)
The spitball was banned before the 1920 season, but, those who used it as a primary pitch were allowed to keep using it.

Burleigh Grimes was the last pitcher to legally throw the spitball.

edit: and, it looks like Chapman was killed by a fastball, not a spitter.
   3. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 22, 2018 at 04:19 PM (#5629025)
As much as I appreciate Kazuhiro Sasaki being on the birthday team (he was a huge favorite of mine when he pitched for the Mariners), if the birthday team is WAR-based, how did Sasaki (3.8 WAR) beat out Ryne Duren (5.1 WAR) as RP?
   4. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 22, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5629026)
Inertia, mostly. I put Kaz on the roster a couple years ago before I had my Lahman/WAR database set up and never removed him. You're absolutely right - Duren should be the #2 reliever behind Putz. I could say something about Sasaki's NPB career and try to make myself look clever, but it's an oversight.

And I appreciate the note. I tend to quickly scan the previous year's thread when I post a Birthday Team, so this will serve as a reminder for me on 2/22/19.
   5. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 22, 2018 at 07:01 PM (#5629094)
1B: Casey Kotchman (7.47 WAR)
Are there a lot of players who hit .372 in the minors and turn out to be total duds? I feel like there aren't.
   6. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: February 22, 2018 at 07:18 PM (#5629101)
He definitely underperformed my expectations, but SLC is a pretty good place to hit and we can find a fair number of other guys who hit that well in the minors and didn't do much in the bigs. My go-to is LaVel Freeman, who hit .395/.467/.627 in AA in 1987 at age 24 (in 602 PA, putting him amongst the league leaders in doubles, homers, walks, runs, ribbies, the triple crown rate stats...) ... and parlayed that into a 0-for-3 career in the bigs.
   7. AndrewJ Posted: February 22, 2018 at 07:36 PM (#5629117)
My grandfather was born on this date in 1905. He was a Philadelphia A's/Phillies fan who died in June 1980, four months before the Phillies finally won the World Series. One of his brothers coached the US Naval Academy baseball team in the 1920s with Chief Bender.
   8. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 22, 2018 at 08:42 PM (#5629169)
My go-to is LaVel Freeman, who hit .395/.467/.627 in AA in 1987 at age 24 (in 602 PA, putting him amongst the league leaders in doubles, homers, walks, runs, ribbies, the triple crown rate stats...) ... and parlayed that into a 0-for-3 career in the bigs.
There's actually a pretty good story here. I found this today about Freeman and his .395:
The obvious question is: how on Earth does somebody hit .395 with some walks and power and never even get a sniff at the big club, let alone become a star in the major leagues? In Freeman’s case, it’s two-fold. One I mentioned earlier, his age. He was 24 when he put up his huge numbers, and still in AA. Good position players have made it to the majors by then, and while there are some who don’t get a chance until they’re 25 or 26, they’re the exception. A 24-year old player who hasn’t made it to AAA yet is going to get the side eye from his organization.

More important, though, was offensive context. At the time the Texas League put up big numbers. Parks were small, and at altitude: the city of El Paso is 3800 feet up. Take a look at the batting averages that led the TL for the three years before Freeman’s accomplishment: .340, .332, 342. That’s not .395, but it’s it’s in the suburbs. Further, he played in Denver in the American Association in 1988, which also inflated numbers (an effect that would become much better known starting in 1993 as “the Colorado Rockies Effect”), and while Freeman did hit .300 there he didn’t even approach his 1987 numbers when he would have if he’d actually been anywhere near a .395 hitter.
I wonder what Freeman's doing now.
   9. Sweatpants Posted: February 23, 2018 at 02:33 AM (#5629351)
Sean Burroughs had a .363 season in the minors. Like Kotchman, he had two good seasons as a regular in the majors but not much else to his name. I think that both he and Kotchman were a little too good to be total duds, though. To me a dud is a guy who isn't good enough to ever be a regular, let alone an above-average regular.
   10. Leroy Kincaid Posted: February 23, 2018 at 06:55 AM (#5629367)
As much as I appreciate Kazuhiro Sasaki being on the birthday team (he was a huge favorite of mine when he pitched for the Mariners), if the birthday team is WAR-based, how did Sasaki (3.8 WAR) beat out Ryne Duren (5.1 WAR) as RP?

Far-East coast bias.
   11. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 23, 2018 at 09:42 AM (#5629413)
Oswaldo Oliveras spent four seasons in the Mets organization in the 1970s, moving between pitcher and outfield. The Pirates got him and assigned him to the Carolina League in 1977, and Met development people must have pooped themselves as he put up your basic Tony Gwynn season: .370/.436/.496, with 47 stolen bases. He hit .280 at Shreveport the next year, and then .300 at Portland, but with almost no power. He never got an at-bat in the majors, I've read an interview with him and he just notes that the Pirates were stacked with hitters then.

He moved to the Mexican League in 1980, and stayed there for almost the whole decade. Strange career - he switched teams almost every year, often in midseason, won the batting title in 1985. He also played winter ball for 20 years in his native Venezuela.
   12. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: February 23, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5629521)
As I recall, Freeman had a shot to make the big league roster in '89 and his career absolutely imploded. Like, he hit one-something in spring training, then .238 in AAA, then .214 the next year, then out of baseball.
The power (and, to a lesser extent, patience) were a park effect but he could hit the ball hard. Being a 5-9 left fielder without special tools limited his move up the ladder.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: February 23, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5629531)
At the time the Texas League put up big numbers. Parks were small, and at altitude: the city of El Paso is 3800 feet up. Take a look at the batting averages that led the TL for the three years before Freeman’s accomplishment: .340, .332, 342. That’s not .395, but it’s it’s in the suburbs.
That's a weird way to show evidence of a high-offensive context. People lead the league with .330-.350 batting averages in pitcher-friendly leagues very often.
   14. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: February 23, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5629533)
It seems like the great majority of AAA and even AA hitting leaders are guys who are at least 24 and/or not going to do anything in the majors.

2003 Eastern League leaders:

Age   OPS    Name
26   .972   Brian Myrow
26   .953   Simon Pond
24   .952   Kevin Youkilis
22   .924   Alex Rios
22   .923   Mike Jacobs
28   .920   Garry Maddox Jr
.
23   .903   Gabe Gross
21   .902   Victor Diaz
24   .894   Jeff Deardorff
21   .889   Guillermo Quiroz 


Of course in the 2003 Eastern League there aren't many future stars lower down the list either. Grady Sizemore, Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano, Carlos Ruiz and that's it.

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