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Monday, March 12, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-12-2018

Washington Herald, March 12, 1918:

An unusual and interesting feature of the spring training of the St. Louis Americans is focusing the attention of the fans upon Shreveport, La., for there Jack Powell, fat and middle-aged, is attempting what, if successful, will prove one of the most remarkable come-backs in the history of baseball.

Powell, who twirled for the St. Louis club during the team’s first year in the American League, and who left major league baseball in 1912, is paying his own expenses during the training season, so confident is he of his ability to outdo Father Time.

Powell was 43 years old and hadn’t thrown a pitch in organized baseball since 1914. He was so old that he pitched multiple seasons for the Cleveland Spiders. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t make the 1918 St. Louis Browns and never pitched again.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:22 AM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: comebacks, dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:23 AM (#5636756)
If today's Birthday Team could figure out how to get six outfielders on the field at the same time and avoid using middle infielders, they'd really have something. As it stands, they're already using a five-time Gold Glove winning center fielder at first base. (Murphy played nearly two full seasons as a first baseman in 1978-79.)

I could have put Jimmy Wynn at short - he played 22 games there as a rookie - but from what I can tell, Wynn was a terrible defensive shortstop. Maybe they put him there and get Callison into the lineup if the starting pitcher is a fly ball pitcher.

C: Alex Gaston (-1.39 WAR)
1B: Dale Murphy (46.2 WAR)
2B: Felix Escalona (-0.06 WAR)
3B: Denny Lyons (35.5 WAR)
SS: Billy Hulen (0.16 WAR)
LF: Jim Wynn (55.64 WAR)
CF: Steve Finley (44.04 WAR)
RF: Darryl Strawberry (42 WAR)

SP: Vern Law (32.73 WAR)
SP: Reb Russell (26.94 WAR)
SP: Seattle Bill James (9.03 WAR)
SP: Phil Knell (7.57 WAR)
SP: Bud Tinning (4.59 WAR)
RP: Horacio Pina (4.81 WAR)

Owner: Charles Weeghman
Manager: Larry Rothschild
Umpire: Durwood Merrill
Way too good to be benchwarmers, but stuck there anyway: Johnny Callison (38.36 WAR), Raul Mondesi (29.38 WAR), Ruppert Jones (22.54 WAR)
   2. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:50 AM (#5636765)
Put Dale Murphy behind the dish. One of the 6 OFs ought to be able to handle 1B.
   3. Brian Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5636794)
I've asked this before but haven't seen an answer: is there a market for Bill James abstracts, Stats Scoreboard Books, Elias Baseball Annuals, etc ? The Scoreboard books were the natural follow up to the early BJ Abstracts: Take a perceived wisdom and dissect it to see how true it is. Good stuff. If anyone knows where to go with this kind of thing it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
   4. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5636797)
I don't know what the wider market looks like, but I know I'd potentially be interested in Bill James abstracts. I guess maybe eBay would be a place to sell them, but I have no clue what they'd fetch or what a fair offer would look like.
   5. Tom T Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:58 AM (#5636816)
Put Dale Murphy behind the dish. One of the 6 OFs ought to be able to handle 1B.


Yeah, Ruppert had 5 games (26 innings) at 1B for the Padres. The numbers weren't pretty, but I'd have to believe that given a larger sample size, he'd be cromulent.

Alternately, you could move Lyons to 1B, slot the Toy Cannon in at 3B (looks like he was less awful there than at SS) and get Callison into the lineup, instead. Probably still hoping you have flyball pitcher in there, but the offense would be something special.

Speaking of Denny Lyons, has anyone done a bio on him? I've always been intrigued by his OBP numbers and wondered what (presumably injuries or off-the-field issues?) limited his "prime" (ages 27-32) career playing time.
   6. Batman Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5636818)
Ruppert Jones is the only one of the outfielders other than Murphy who ever played first. With Wynn at short, Jones at first, Murphy at catcher, and Callison in left, it would be a really good offensive lineup. The defense would probably drive Vern Law to drink though.
   7. EddieA Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:25 AM (#5636838)
Funny Murph only had 77 games at catcher, and my clearest memory of him is coming from behind the plate to impede an enraged Dave Parker from attacking the pitcher.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5636845)
Billy Hulen is a lefty! I'll take my chances with Jimmy Wynn at shortstop, thank you very much.
   9. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5636858)
I see Dale Murphy was almost exclusively a catcher in the minors. Then as soon as he got to the majors - no! We need to have Biff Pocoroba there. Or actually, catcher was reserved for fellow top prospect Bruce Benedict.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5636865)
Then as soon as he got to the majors - no! We need to have Biff Pocoroba there. Or actually, catcher was reserved for fellow top prospect Bruce Benedict.
I think it was more like "WTF? You didn't tell us he was that tall?? Get him outta there!"
   11. Batman Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5636881)
This Murphy kid is a catcher who can also handle centerfield. Well, good luck beating out franchise icons Biff Pocoroba and Rowland Office for those jobs, Murph. Here, try on this first baseman's glove.
   12. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5636899)
Murphy wasn't moved out from behind the plate because of Biff Pocoroba. It was because he was a disaster at catcher:

His passage to first base and then the outfield began after a disastrous spring training incident. On an attempt to throw out a Yankee baserunner at second, his throw hit the outfield wall -- on one hop. When he tried to lower his throw during the regular season, the result was even worse, as he hit his own pitchers twice, in the back.


Supposedly, even his throws back to the pitcher started landing in centerfield.
   13. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5636905)
His passage to first base and then the outfield began after a disastrous spring training incident. On an attempt to throw out a Yankee baserunner at second, his throw hit the outfield wall -- on one hop. When he tried to lower his throw during the regular season, the result was even worse, as he hit his own pitchers twice, in the back.


That had me do a spit-take...
   14. BDC Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5636907)
I got my first game ticket, and it's two weeks from tonight! Cincinnati Reds at Texas Rangers, in Arlington, an exhibition game. I am nearly as excited as for most regular-season games – I haven't seen the Reds play in this century, so I've never seen Joey Votto or Billy Hamilton play live. One would imagine that both would see at least the first few innings of a tuneup game like that. Plus I got a great seat cheap and it shouldn't be too hot on March 26th :)
   15. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5636914)
Neil Walker to the Yankees.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5636916)
Neil Walker to the Yankees.

MLBTR has it as 1 year, $5M. At that price, why wouldn't you.

He'll probably platoon at 2B. The Yankees needed another LHB.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5636917)
If today's Birthday Team could figure out how to get six outfielders on the field at the same time and avoid using middle infielders,
I'm sure Manfred would consider it, as long as he could be sure it wouldn't actually speed up the pace of play.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5636918)
On an attempt to throw out a Yankee baserunner at second, his throw hit the outfield wall -- on one hop.
Yeah, $100 says that never actually happened.
   19. The Ghost of Logan Schafer Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5636919)
Jimmy Wynn finished his career on my Brewers. It wasn't pretty.
   20. puck Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:16 PM (#5636930)
Sorry if this is old news: Pitch Framing Measures Added to Baseball Reference.

It's under Fielding: Advanced Stats, in the "Sabermetric Fielding" table in a column "RscZ."

For example, Jonathan Lucroy. He forgot how to pitch frame at both Texas and Colorado last season.

Edit: Gaah, it's not on team pages yet, though.
   21. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:27 PM (#5636943)
Billy Hulen is a lefty! I'll take my chances with Jimmy Wynn at shortstop, thank you very much.


I believe Hulen was the last lefty to play shortstop on a regular basis.
   22. Batman Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5636956)
bb-ref says the last lefty to play any games at short was Nino Escalera in 1954. He played there for one hitter- Stan Musial, it turns out. Musial struck out. The lefty before that was Lou Gehrig, who played there twice in 1934, apparently to keep his consecutive games streak alive. Only one SS "appearance" is listed in his game log, and he didn't actually play in the field in that game. He was listed as the starting shortstop and led off the top of the first with a single. Red Rolfe pinch ran for him.

The last lefty SS to handle a chance was Hal Chase in 1905.

Edit: This blog post says Escalera actually played right-centerfield. He'd replaced the shortstop, who had been removed so the Reds could use a four-man outfield against Musial, so his position was recorded as SS.
   23. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5636981)
In looking for a report on the alleged 1977 Braves-Yankees exhibition game where Dale Murphy hit the outfield wall with a throw to second base, I ran across a photo of Buddy Bell and his four-year-old son David at Spring Training.

So that's neat. Still nothing on the Murphy throw. Still digging.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5636983)
I ran across a photo of Buddy Bell and his four-year-old son David at Spring Training.


Seemingly making one of the very first cell phone calls.
   25. Batman Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5636990)
Buddy was probably calling his agent to get a contract like the Mike Schmidt one in the article to the left. "I probably have one of the top four or five contracts in baseball," Schmidt said of his new six-year deal estimated at close to $1 million.

bb-ref says he made $560,000 a year between 1977 and 1981 and $1.5 million in 1982.
   26. QLE Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5636998)
#12-

Moreover, looking at Dale Murphy's defensive statistics, it is clear that he was struggling at the position- in 1979, he had 11 passed balls in only 27 games in the position, and was second in that in the National League only to Ted Simmons (who had three more in 95 more games).

For that matter, he'd be a dangerous first baseman- he was first and second in errors the two years he played the position, and his Rfield for those years (-4 and -14) suggest that this is not an isolated issue.
   27. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5637008)
I've reached the end of March '77 and nothing yet on Murphy hitting the outfield wall with a throw. I do see, however, that Ole Miss hasn't committed any recruiting violations in its sootball program. Seems like there would be nothing dirtier than college sootball.
   28. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5637017)
So here's where I am on the Murphy throw thing: As far as I can tell, the only time the Braves and Yankees played each other in March 1977 was on March 22. The Rome (Georgia) newspaper, which generally had decent but unspectacular Braves coverage, mentions nothing about an errant throw in the March 23 edition. The AP story on the game doesn't mention it either.

I can't easily find any newspapers with good Braves and/or Yankees coverage in April 1977, so it's entirely possible the throw took place near the end of Spring Training.

While I'm not in a position to definitively say it never happened, I'm pretty sure that story's apochryphal.
   29. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5637032)
Apparently, the stories about Murphy hitting his pitchers on steal attempts is true. This article isn't exactly contemporaneous, but it's only a few years after those incidents, and Murphy himself says it happened. But that article says nothing about hitting the outfield wall.
   30. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5637038)
Batman got off a good one in #6.
   31. Batman Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5637040)
The Yankees beat the Braves 4-3 on March 31, 1977, but the game story I see only mentions that the Yankees had extended Chris Chambliss's contract that day and that the highlights of the game were RBIs by Fred Stanley on a sac fly and a bunt.
   32. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5637046)
The Yankees beat the Braves 4-3 on March 31, 1977, but the game story I see only mentions that the Yankees had extended Chris Chambliss's contract that day and that the highlights of the game were RBIs by Fred Stanley on a sac fly and a bunt.


They paid Reggie all that money to do nothing? What a bum he is...
   33. Batman Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5637047)
Reggie was the straw that stirs the Chicken.
   34. AndrewJ Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:18 PM (#5637126)
That's gotta be the strongest Birthday Team outfield without one Hall of Famer. And had you told me in 1990 that Strawberry and Murphy wouldn't be HOFers in 30 years, I'd have thought you insane.

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