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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-16-2017

Tacoma Times, March 16, 1917:

Baseball…is in a fine fix today. Every major league baseball club the country contains is miles and miles from home—and the railroad men say they’re going to stop running trains.

Thus, thrown right up to them, there is the prospect of no trains home for the axe victims and no trains north for those who stick.

The railroad unions were fighting for an eight-hour work day, which was nominally enacted by the Adamson Act in late 1916. The railroad companies challenged its constitutionality in Wilson v. New and it wound up before the Supreme Court.

Coincidentally (or not), the railroads agreed to the provisions of the Adamson Act on the same day SCOTUS ruled it constitutional. That averted a strike and prevented any major problems for baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 16, 2017 at 10:25 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 16, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5418215)
No real historically significant stars today, but a strong Birthday Team with no weaknesses.

C: Ken O'Dea (8.92 WAR)
1B: Hee-Seop Choi (2.61 WAR)
2B: Don Blasingame (18.42 WAR)
3B: Jerry Denny (20.56 WAR)
SS: Buddy Myer (46.9 WAR)
LF/Manager: Patsy Donovan (18.35 WAR)
CF: Lloyd Waner (24.08 WAR)
RF: Curtis Granderson (42.31 WAR)

SP: Bill Bernhard (14.64 WAR)
SP: Bill Duggleby (13.35 WAR)
SP: Tom Bradley (10.08 WAR)
SP: Vern Olsen (7.72 WAR)
SP: Charles Hudson (6.06 WAR)
RP: Brian Wilson (6.21 WAR)

Fun name: Blondie Purcell, Hobie Landrith, Cory Spangenberg
Where do they build Ralphs?: Ralph Works
   2. Batman Posted: March 16, 2017 at 11:48 AM (#5418256)
Choi was the first Korean-born position player in the major leagues. That's mildly historically-significant.

Tom Bradley and Brian Wilson were also historically significant, but in "Not that one" ways.
   3. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: March 16, 2017 at 12:00 PM (#5418267)
Baseball star Pete Rose is exactly as old as Satchel Paige was the day he died (27,730 days). (Going by Paige's official birth date)

Anyone who wants to can look up these as-old-as stuff for their own lives here.
   4. GGC for Sale Posted: March 16, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5418277)
Is Denny the last guy to go gloveless in the field? That's also mildly historically significant.
   5. KJOK Posted: March 16, 2017 at 12:45 PM (#5418292)
Blackball player Bill Monroe could potentially replace Blasingame in the lineup.
   6. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 16, 2017 at 12:45 PM (#5418293)
Is Denny the last guy to go gloveless in the field? That's also mildly historically significant.


Denny retired after the 1894 season. In his SABR bio, it is said of Bid McPhee that "When he opened the 1896 season with an injured finger, McPhee finally broke down and started to use a fielder's glove...", so presumably McPhee went gloveless through 1895. I don't know if he was the last; I've seen a couple of references to the effect that McPhee was the last infielder to play without a glove, which leaves open the possibility that an outfielder was still playing gloveless when McPhee finally started using one.
   7. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 16, 2017 at 01:04 PM (#5418308)
I found a reference on the net about Joe Yeager, a pitcher for the Tigers, not wearing a glove while pitching in 1902. Yeager also played 13 games in the outfield and 12 games at second base that year (he became a full-time position player the next season), but the article fails to state if he wore a glove in the infield or outfield in 1902.
   8. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 16, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5418357)
I spent more time than was healthy yesterday looking at the shortstop situation of the 1968 Tigers, where outfielder Mickey Stanley was given a 10-day crash course at short in September and then started every game of the World Series there. I'm leaning toward this being the most audacious coaching decision since Joan d'Arc was named captain of the French side in 1429. ESPN had a list of the ten greatest coaching decisions of the 20th century (any sport), and the only one of those I see as ballpark with the Stanley decision was Magic Johnson's move to center for the Lakers in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals.

My question is: does anyone have a good view of what the Tigers longer-range thinking was? Ray Oyler was 29, and came into the season under .200 for his career. Dick Tracewski had hit .280 the year before, but in only about 100 at-bats, he was 32 and had never hit before that. They didn't try to plug the hole during the season - Woodie Held seems like the only plausible shortstop who was traded in-season, and he was old and hadn't hit or played much short recently. In 1969, they started with Stanley, then picked up Tom Tresh from the Yankees in mid-June. Tresh had been a huge Yankee prospect around 1960, came up as a shortstop, moved to the outfield, was a good player for several years. His hitting fell off in 1967, and in 1968: (a) it fell off further; and (b) the Yankees started him at short in 119 games. I wonder if Tresh's move back to the infield influenced the Tigers to think that maybe Stanley could do the job? In 1970, they gave 127 starts to Cesar Gutierrez, acquired from the Giants and he couldn't hit, either. They finally found their heavenly match in Ed Brinkman, who came over in the Denny McLain deal. He got over 2,000 at-bats 1971-74, averaging .222 with a 65 OPS+.

So: did they have a plan that went wrong, or was it all just treading water and hoping something would turn out better than expected? They did have a kid named Tommy Matchick who was in his mid-20's 1968-69 - were they thinking that he would hit and solve their problems?



   9. GGC for Sale Posted: March 16, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5418374)
Was this due to my comment re Euler's number?
   10. Batman Posted: March 16, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5418387)
Is there anything here that's not about Euler's number?
   11. salvomania Posted: March 16, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5418402)
They finally found their heavenly match in Ed Brinkman, who came over in the Denny McLain deal. He got over 2,000 at-bats 1971-74, averaging .222 with a 65 OPS+.

As I recall, Brinkman was considered one of the best, possibly the best defensive SS in the AL at that time (maybe Belanger, if anyone, rated ahead of him)

EDIT: Looks like his defensive peak came in the years just before that, with the Senators, for whom he twice led the AL in defensive WAR. He was Top 10 in the AL in defensive WAR seven times from 1966-74.
   12. esseff Posted: March 16, 2017 at 02:44 PM (#5418405)
Birthday team fun fact: The catcher spent several seasons as the backup to the second baseman's father-in-law.
   13. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 16, 2017 at 02:46 PM (#5418411)
They did have a kid named Tommy Matchick who was in his mid-20's 1968-69 - were they thinking that he would hit and solve their problems?


Matchick did hit .289 as the regular shortstop for Toledo in AAA in 1967 (at age 23), which was good for a shortstop in that era. It may be that they were thinking he'd hit in the majors, which didn't happen.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: March 16, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5418414)
In 1969 Stanley played 100 games in the OF, 60 games at SS, and won the gold glove. That's pretty cool.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: March 16, 2017 at 02:56 PM (#5418426)
I just looked at that ESPN list of great coaching decisions. #9 is Connie Mack starting Howard Ehmke above Lefty Grove or George Earnshaw. Grove was probably the best pitcher in baseball but he only threw 6 innings in relief during the 5 games World Series. Injured? What gives?
   16. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 16, 2017 at 03:01 PM (#5418434)
Connie Mack starting Howard Ehmke above Lefty Grove or George Earnshaw. Grove was probably the best pitcher in baseball but he only threw 6 innings in relief during the 5 games World Series. Injured? What gives?


Tactical move by Connie Mack. The Cubs had only one left-handed regular, so Mack started righty pitchers in every game of the series.
   17. PreservedFish Posted: March 16, 2017 at 03:03 PM (#5418438)
That's pretty bold.
   18. Batman Posted: March 16, 2017 at 03:29 PM (#5418472)
Earnshaw started games two and three of that Series and then Mack started 46-year-old Jack Quinn in game four. It didn't work out as well as Ehmke's first start, although the A's did still win the game. Quinn pitched two more innings in relief in the next year's World Series when he was 47.

Rube Walberg won 18 games that year and, like Grove, only pitched in relief in the Series.
   19. GGC for Sale Posted: March 16, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5418475)
10. Batman Posted: March 16, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5418387)
Is there anything here that's not about Euler's number?


Good point.
   20. salvomania Posted: March 16, 2017 at 03:54 PM (#5418499)
They finally found their heavenly match in Ed Brinkman

As a kid I was completely freaked out by the length of Ed Brinkman's neck.
   21. Richard Posted: March 16, 2017 at 11:55 PM (#5418708)


Tactical move by Connie Mack. The Cubs had only one left-handed regular, so Mack started righty pitchers in every game of the series.


Bill James talks at length about Ehmke's game in his managers book. Essentially:

- Ehmke was effective if he was rested but would break down with regular use
- Ehmke was to be released at the end of the season, but told Mack that he would like the opportunity to pitch in the series if possible
- with both pennant races essentially wrapped up, Mack sent Ehmke to follow the Cubs around for a month, so he got a great look at them and had plenty of time to think about how to pitch to each batter
- Mack ended up with a well rested, intelligent veteran pitcher who had encyclopedic knowledge of the opponent.

As James said, it was not a strategy to get runs, but to win a game, in basically a unique set of circumstances that paid off spectacularly.

James also opined that this shows the difference between Mack and John McGraw. McGraw wouldn't have done it, as he was afraid of losing. Mack wasn't afraid of losing.
   22. PreservedFish Posted: March 17, 2017 at 12:05 AM (#5418714)
Fascinating. Thank you, Richard.
   23. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: March 17, 2017 at 09:45 AM (#5418785)
My question is: does anyone have a good view of what the Tigers longer-range thinking was?


IIRC, the move was made because they had a glut of outfielders heading into the Series. Stanley was having a good year in center, Jim Northrup was fairly raking in right and Willie Horton was having a monster year in left. Al Kaline was coming off an injury and Mayo Smith needed to create space for him. For the Series, he shifted Northrup to Center and put Kaline in right.

Add in the fact that the Tigers were getting zero production from SS -- Ray Oyler had an OPS+ of 20. That's T-W-E-N-T-Y! So I guess ol' Mayo thought he was solving 2 problems at once. Offensively speaking, anyway...

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