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Friday, March 07, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-7-2014

Toledo News-Bee, March 7, 1914:

One of the best yarns the returning world touring baseballers brought home hinged on the fact that Big Jim Thorpe of the Giants, world’s champion athlete, is a redskin.

Thorpe, the tourists said, was a big disappointment to the English because he didn’t wear feathers and scalps.

“What do they call you among the Indians—your sobriquet, I mean?” said one monocled peer to whom Thorpe was introduced in London.

“Bench Warmer,” said Thorpe. And he never cracked a smile.

They call the person who asked the question “Monopoly Guy”.

Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: March 07, 2014 at 08:52 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history, jim thorpe

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   1. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: March 07, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4667629)
An alarming lack of middle infield depth on today's Birthday Team. Keith Miller starts at shortstop; he played two career innings at short and committed one error.

The backup middle infielder is...you guessed it, Joe Carter, who once played two innings at second base because I guess Pat Corrales had gone off his meds or something.

C: Red Wilson
1B: Ed Bouchee
2B: Jeff Kent
3B: Tex Wisterzil
SS: The Other Keith Miller
LF: Joe Carter
CF: Jimmie Hall
RF: Jeff Burroughs

SP: J.R. Richard
SP: Ed Willett
SP: Doc Scanlan
SP: Dave Danforth
SP: Jack Armstrong
RP: Mike Armstrong
   2. BDC Posted: March 07, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4667676)
Seeing Jimmie Hall's name reminds me how much talent the 1965 Twins had. That was one outstanding championship team.

Hall didn't make the majors till he was 25 – he may have been in the military at ages 23 and 24, given that he played very sparingly in the minors during those years, but someone will know more about Twins history than I do and can check that. Nevertheless, he went right into the starting lineup and had your basic star-centerfielder peak at 25-26-27. He was 27 in 1965, and that was his last really strong season. He was a fair platoon player for a couple of seasons thereafter and then faded after age 30.
   3. Guapo Posted: March 07, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4667687)
Other Keith Miller did play 61 games at SS in the minors. Also, per Linkedin, he is currently Chief Financial Officer at Ted's Cafe Escondido Resturants.
   4. vern_fuller_brushback Posted: March 07, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4667736)
That was one outstanding championship team.


The Twins had some outstanding players, but there were too many position players on that team who played in the WS who did not become bonafide big leaguers: just from memory, I am throwing out there Frank Quilici, Joe Nossek, and Sandy Valdespino, who played in the WS. That was the very first WS which I was old enough to watch in its entirety (I had just turned 9).

Shout-out to Bob Wilson, who I wrote to more than a decade ago and asked him a question, as I did with all ex-players I wrote to. I told him that he hit a home run off Art Ditmar of the A's while a member of the Orioles on the day I was born. He graciously responded that he should remember the HR, because he hit only 20 of them in his career, but he didn't.
   5. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 07, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4667774)
FanGraphs, The Baseball Cube, and Wikipedia (via the other two pages, I'd guess) say Jimmie Hall is ten days younger than Baseball-Reference says. The St. Patrick's Day team probably needs his bat more.
   6. The District Attorney Posted: March 07, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4667840)
Joe Carter, who once played two innings at second base because I guess Pat Corrales had gone off his meds or something.
Pat Corrales didn't really believe in backup infielders. In 1985, Tony Bernazard, Brook Jacoby and Julio Franco played 91% of the available innings at 2B/3B/SS. At least they had Mike Fischlin on the roster, though. In 1986, they decided that even one utility infielder was too many; outfielder Cory Snyder was both the backup 3B and the backup SS, and Franco became not only the starting SS but the backup 2B. I seem to remember (although I can't find it at a quick glance) Bill James commenting on how nuts this was.
   7. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: March 07, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4667876)
In Corrales's defense (I can't believe I'm coming to the defense of Pat Corrales), Cory Snyder *was* a SS/3B before the Indians called him up and put him in right field. He had literally never played an inning in the outfield as a professional before his callup.

Snyder had one of the best outfield arms I've ever seen, but I'm at a loss as to why they thought it was preferable to have guys like Tommy Hinzo and Felix Fermin in the lineup instead of a guy like Carmelo Castillo in right and a shortstop who popped 25 homers a year. I'm not saying Castillo was anything special, but he sure as hell was a better ballplayer than Felix Fermin.

edit to add: It sort of bums me out that the Indians botched Snyder's career as badly as they did. He was never going to be a star with that crazy-low OBP, but they could have had themselves a proto-Jose Valentin instead of a proto-Francoeur.
   8. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 07, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4667886)
The Indians built up Fermin's value so they could trade him for Vizquel. It was a very long-term plan.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 07, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4667891)
Luke Hochevar to get TJ surgery. Done for the year. He's a FA, so that probably closes the book on him as a Royal.
   10. BDC Posted: March 07, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4667919)
Pat Corrales didn't really believe in backup infielders

I remember that from the 1982 Phillies, and B-Ref bears me out. Over a stretch of three months, late June through late September, Corrales used the same four infielders in all but one game. And I remember the columnists saying, hey, they might get tired and worn down, and sure enough they did, and lost the division. But he stuck with his guys.

There were, again to be fair, some very successful stable infields in that era, like the famous Dodger quartet. But even in 1977 and '78, a guy named Ted Martinez, who I don't even remember, got a surprising amount of playing time spelling Lopes, Russell, or Cey. The '82 Phillies had Luis Aguayo, certainly no worse a player than Martinez, but he was superglued to the bench.
   11. The District Attorney Posted: March 07, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4667934)
In Corrales's defense (I can't believe I'm coming to the defense of Pat Corrales), Cory Snyder *was* a SS/3B before the Indians called him up and put him in right field. He had literally never played an inning in the outfield as a professional before his callup.
Sure (and I'm also not disputing that maybe they should have made Snyder the permanent SS). But if you do decide Snyder is your starting RF, doesn't it make a whole lot of sense to have a backup infielder?

a) If you want Snyder to learn how to play the OF, he needs to play there.

b) Playing SS puts your young potential star at more risk of injury than playing RF. I'd imagine this is even more true if the guy hasn't been out there much lately.

c) Teams were only carrying 10 pitchers back then. So they had six position players on the bench. Fine, one of them will be a backup catcher who probably only plays catcher. That leaves five spots. You have five 1B/OF who all need to make the team before any infielder?

Luke Hochevar to get TJ surgery. Done for the year. He's a FA, so that probably closes the book on him as a Royal.
Well, that sucks, he seemed to have just found his niche.
   12. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: March 07, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4667950)
You have five outfielders who all need to make the team before any infielder?
Well, yeah, that's asinine. This was the era of the 24-man roster, but your point stands.

The position players on the '86 Indians under Corrales were:
C: Allanson, Bando
IF: Tabler, Bernazard, Jacoby, Franco
OF: Hall, Butler, Snyder, Carter, Castillo, Nixon, Clark
DH: Thornton

That's...unconventional. Joe Carter played 162 games, got more than 700 AB, led the league in RBI, but wasn't the team leader in innings played or games started at any position. Corrales used Carter at 1B about a third of the time, used him in right about a third of the time (when Snyder was playing SS/3B), and gave him a few dozen starts in left.

I guess that's what happens when you carry seven outfielders.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 07, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4667985)
Otis Nixon was a designate pinch runner too. 105 games, just 110 PAs. 36 PR appearances, just 19 starts.
   14. AndrewJ Posted: March 07, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4668166)
Today's my birthday as well. No obvious Hall of Famers on my team, though Kent is a decent candidate. Maybe Carter.

Two pivotal historical events happened on March 7th, though (h/t to "A Game of Inches" by Peter Morris): On 3/7/1857, the progenitor of the National Association of Base Ball Players formally adopted the rule that baseball games would last nine innings (instead of until one team had scored X number of runs), and on 3/7/1893 the National League officially moved the mound back to 60'6".
   15. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 09, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4668638)
Cardinals land Cuban SS(?, lots of folks think he oughta play second in the states) Aledmys Diaz for 4 years - or so goes the rumor.
They have Peralta/Carpenter/Wong (and Mark Ellis) already, so I wonder where they'll use him.

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