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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-6-2014

[Salem, Oregon] Daily Capital Journal, May 6, 1914:

“A war with Mexico would prove a great baseball hardship,” said [Frank] Chance. “...To my mind nothing else could spell ruin for the Federal league so certainly.”
...
“In case of a war a club either will have to win a pennant or at least be in the fight all the way to make any money…[When the Yankees played there,] Countless thousands were collected around every bulletin board in Philadelphia. They preferred to get their baseball that way because they had the additional lure of all the latest bulletins from Mexico…And conditions in Philadelphia simply reflect the mind of the public elsewhere.”

My gut reaction was that Chance was crazy, but I did the math and I can’t say he was wrong.

The United States officially entered World War I in April 1917. Attendance that year was down 16.8% in the AL and down 23.0% in the NL. In 1918, attendance was even lower: Down 26.8% from 1917 levels in the AL, down a further 28.5% in the NL.

In 1919, with the end of the war, American League attendance was up 94.1% over 1918 figures and NL attendance was up 91.0%.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: May 06, 2014 at 08:26 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: attendance, dugout, frank chance, history, mexican revolution, world war i

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: May 06, 2014 at 08:33 AM (#4700971)
Well, the center fielder on today's Birthday Team is pretty good. So there's that. The team leader in career hits (non-Willie Mays division) is...Gerardo Parra.

Eek.

C/Manager: Earle Brucker Sr.
1B: Phil Clark
2B: Jose Altuve
3B: Luke Boone
SS: Dick Cole
LF: Dick Wakefield
CF: Willie Mays
RF: Gerardo Parra

SP: Bill Hands
SP: Ed Karger
SP: Ivy Andrews
SP: Albert Williams
SP: Bill Stemmyer
RP: Larry Andersen

Trainer: Bonesetter Reese
Fun Name: Keefe Cato
Karate Kid: Israel Alcantara
   2. Rob_Wood Posted: May 06, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4700975)

As you probably know, the 1918 season was shortened by the government's Work or Fight Order and was shut down on Labor Day. I think most teams played around 125 games of the originally scheduled 154. Players did not really go into military service (or alternative military industry jobs) until the 1918 season started.
   3. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: May 06, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4700978)
Yeah, I figured the shorter 1918 schedule into my calculations.

Seems like, from the cursory reading I've done, it probably wasn't the lack of players or the early shutdown that caused the drop in attendance. I think people just had other stuff to worry about, and perhaps more importantly, many of the people who had previously been buying tickets to baseball games were now off being trained as soldiers.

That 90% increase in 1919 is pretty wild.
   4. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 06, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4701010)
carlos gomez drew 3 walks in last night's game

the arizona pitchers were not just wild. they were WILD

carlos gomez' strike zone is milwaukee county
   5. dlf Posted: May 06, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4701015)
Birthday team starter Bill Hands has a very important distinction: his faux signature was on the first baseball glove I ever owned. I wish I still had it as I treasured that little thing more than just about anything I possess 40+ years later.
   6. Davo Dozier Posted: May 06, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4701041)
Bill Hands was part of one of the winningest pitching staff in baseball history...Yes, of course, the 1966 Chicago Cubs.

As a team, they lost 103 games, but had the following pitchers on their team (career win totals in parentheses):

Robin Roberts (286)
Fergie Jenkins (284)
Larry Jackson (194)
Curt Simmons (193)
Ken Holtzman (174)
Bob Buhl (166)
Dick Ellsworth (115)
Bill Hands (111)
   7. Rob_Wood Posted: May 06, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4701043)

bill hands's strat-o-matic hitting cards were memorable -- lots and lots of strikeouts and typically one measly single (i remember cards for cal koonce and hank aguirre that were woefully similar)
   8. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: May 06, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4701220)
What is the reaction in New York to Jeter's start? I haven't seen anything here about his .610 OPS. bb-ref and Fangraphs seem split on his defense.

Was this article about MLB firing some people from its investigation unit after Biogenesis posted?
   9. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: May 06, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4701339)
Had the Federal held off for just five years, starting in 1919, and maybe picked up some stars, they might've lasted a a lot longer than they did...
   10. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 06, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4701394)
#6, can you really count Jackson/Buhl AND Fergie Jenkins in that total, as they were traded for each other. Each others?

It's hard to say which Phillies / Cubs trade was worse -- that one or Sandberg/Bowa for DeJesus. At least Jackson gave the Phils 3 good years.
   11. Canker Soriano Posted: May 06, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4701408)
Birthday team starter Bill Hands has a very important distinction: his faux signature was on the first baseball glove I ever owned. I wish I still had it as I treasured that little thing more than just about anything I possess 40+ years later.

Mine was a Ron Cey model, and it's still in playing condition. I break it out every 6 months or so when we play softball. It helps that I was an enormous child, so I played with an adult-sized glove when I was still in Little League.

I oiled the hell out of that thing when I was a kid - it was soft like Italian leather.
   12. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 06, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4701503)
The Game of 5/5/85 was very good in isolation, being an 8-7, 10-inning game. My favorite part of it was a key moment, but would have been my favorite part regardless: in the tenth inning, a second-year pitcher who would go on to an excellent career faced a hitter who was very close to the end of a similarly excellent career. The outcome of that at bat eventually produced a career milestone for each of them. I'm not planning on checking, but it would surprise me if this was not the only time they faced each other.
   13. AndrewJ Posted: May 06, 2014 at 05:57 PM (#4701556)
In 1919, with the end of the war, American League attendance was up 94.1% over 1918 figures and NL attendance was up 91.0%.

And most of those fans were just gamblers.
   14. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: May 06, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4701603)
Yesterday's Game of the Day featured two catchers named Sanchez; that doesn't have much to do with anything except that it made the recap really annoying to write. It also saw one team double switch three times, which I don't think I've seen before, and the other use back-to-back pinch runners for its 3-4 hitters, one of which went badly and the other of which went worse. Finally, it included both teams using a pitcher as a pinch hitter (and it paying off for one of them), and an unconventional pair of hitting heroes: a former NL MVP (unsurprising) and a pitcher who entered the game with a career batting line of 0/1 (... surprising).

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