Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, July 20, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-20-2018

Bridgeport Times, July 20, 1918:

Baseball is a non-productive and non-essential industry. Ball players of draft age are hit by the “work or fight” order; they must shift into essential industries or lose such deferred classifications in the draft as they have received through dependencies and other reasons.

Such was the decision of Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, yesterday, in the appeal of Edward Ainsmith, catcher of the Washington team of the American league.
...
The Secretary of War says: “Obviously, baseball players are persons occupied in a sport, so that the ruling of the local and district boards [to force them to fight or work in a war-oriented occupation] must be sustained as plainly correct.”

Not having players is a bit of a problem. According to a report elsewhere on that page of the Times, the sixteen major league clubs would lose 260 of their 318 players. That’s ~82% of major league ballplayers rendered unavailable.

Yeah, they might want to look into ending the season early.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 10:56 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

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. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5713049)
A good Birthday Team today, but the pitching drops off in a hurry.

Masaru Kageura is almost certainly a better option than Don Black - he put up a 1.19 ERA in 242.1 innings from age 20-22. Oh, by the way, Kageura was also a 3B/OF who put up a career .271/.398/.410 line. Masaru Kageura was one hell of a ballplayer, but his career and life were cut short by World War II. He died fighting in the Philippines in 1945, a few weeks short of his 30th birthday.

Also, Mickey Stanley would admittedly be nowhere near 17.29 WAR as a first baseman, but the only other player with 25+ career appearances at 1B is Gene Hasson. Hasson played in 47 MLB games and put up 0.55 WAR.

C: Charles Johnson (22.61 WAR)
1B: Mickey Stanley (17.29 WAR)
2B: Alexi Casilla (3.94 WAR)
3B: Heinie Mueller (1.97 WAR)
SS: Tyler Saladino (2.96 WAR)
LF: John Hatfield (4.4 WAR)
CF: Heinie Manush (45.8 WAR)
RF: Tony Oliva (43.06 WAR)

SP: Stephen Strasburg (24.2 WAR)
SP: Mike Witt (21.83 WAR)
SP: Sam Weaver (12.92 WAR)
SP: Oscar Graham (-0.74 WAR)
SP: Don Black (-1.96 WAR)
RP: Kevin Siegrist (4.4 WAR)
RP/No relation: Mark Lee (1.35 WAR)

Backup C: Bengie Molina (10.71 WAR)
Broadcaster: Dan Daniels
CHB: Dan Shaughnessy
Fun names: Mutt Wilson, Happy Foreman
Japanese Hall of Fame OF/IF/P: Masaru Kageura
Owners: Mike Ilitch, Nelson Doubleday
Quarterback/Running Back/Receiver/Spare Outfielder: Matt Szczur (-0.59 WAR)
Umpire: Dick Stello
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5713052)
Such was the decision of Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, yesterday, in the appeal of Edward Ainsmith, catcher of the Washington team of the American league.
Seems like maybe the Secretary of War wasn't the most disinterested party to be hearing these appeals.
   3. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5713058)
But they were already going to end the season early! They shortened it to 140 games! Have a heart, Newt.
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:29 AM (#5713076)
Don Black is one of those fairly nondescript players whose career is known for three things:

a) He threw a no-hitter for the Indians against the Athletics in 1947.
b) He was an alcoholic who was jettisoned by Connie Mack because of his drinking problems, but whom Bill Veeck convinced to enter Alcoholics Anonymous. His recovery through AA was well documented in the press at the time.
c) He suffered a career-ending brain hemorrhage while at bat in September 1948, during the Indians' pennant drive. After lapsing into a coma, he recovered, and the Indians donated the proceeds from one of their games to help cover his medical bills. He attempted to make a comeback in 1949. He pitched in spring training, and in one exhibition game in July, but made no league appearances before deciding he was too weak to be effective and he retired.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5713092)
Thanks for filling all that in. It's great to hear the stories behind these guys who would otherwise just be a line of stats.

Black had a great day when he threw his no-hitter: At the plate, he drove in a run with a squeeze bunt, then singled to center twice, ending the game with a 2 0 2 1 boxscore line. I also noticed that, like many pitchers in the late 1940s, he was underwater with his K/W ratio. He finished his career with 400 walks issued, and just 293 strikeouts. Even in his no-hitter, he walked six and struck out five.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5713096)
I also noticed that, like many pitchers in the late 1940s, he was underwater with his K/W ratio. He finished his career with 400 walks issued, and just 293 strikeouts.

In a discussion about Tyler Chatwood earlier this week, I stumbled on Tommy Byrne. He has the record for BB/9 in 100 IP, at 9.4 in 1951. Somehow he put up a 102 ERA+. In 1949 he won 15 games, and had a 109 ERA+ with 8.2 BB/9.

Career 97 ERA+ with a WHIP of almost 1.6. Seems impossible. He also led the league in HBP 5 times.

   7. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5713112)
In a discussion about Tyler Chatwood earlier this week, I stumbled on Tommy Byrne. He has the record for BB/9 in 100 IP, at 9.4 in 1951. Somehow he put up a 102 ERA+. In 1949 he won 15 games, and had a 109 ERA+ with 8.2 BB/9.

Career 97 ERA+ with a WHIP of almost 1.6. Seems impossible. He also led the league in HBP 5 times.


The late 40's were a weird time. I recall the introduction to the 40's chapter in Bill James's Historical Abstract went something like:

In 1949, one team's ace starting pitcher struck out 124 and walked 138, another struck out 129 and walked 179. A third struck out 105 and walked 123. Their ace reliever walked 75 in 135 innings. And that team was the world champion New York Yankees.
   8. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:22 PM (#5713115)
Also, Mickey Stanley would admittedly be nowhere near 17.29 WAR as a first baseman, but the only other player with 25+ career appearances at 1B is Gene Hasson. Hasson played in 47 MLB games and put up 0.55 WAR.


Probably the right move, given the lack of options. Stanley loses about 6 wins in positional adjustment, making him about -8 WAA, unless he makes up ground with better fielding. And that's not good. I'd be tempted to put him in the OF and get rid of the LF who played all but 1 of his career games in the NA.
   9. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5713120)
like many pitchers in the late 1940s, he was underwater with his K/W ratio


"many pitchers" might be understating it. In 1949, there were 10,020 walks in MLB and 8,946 K. That's a league-wide K-to-W ratio of 0.89.
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5713131)
In 1949, one team's ace starting pitcher struck out 124 and walked 138, another struck out 129 and walked 179. A third struck out 105 and walked 123. Their ace reliever walked 75 in 135 innings. And that team was the world champion New York Yankees.


The only AL pitching staff to strike out more than they walked in 1949 was the Tigers, who had 631 Ks and 628 BBs. The league as a whole drew 5622 walks and struck out 4364 times, for a ratio of 0.78 Ks for every walk. In this year's AL, the ratio is 2.67 Ks for every walk.
   11. Batman Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5713135)
441 pitchers made an appearance between 1946 and 1949, and only 112 of them had more strikeouts than walks in that time period. Without restricting by innings pitched, Ralph Winegarner has the top K/BB rate at 4.00. Bill Werle (2.08 in 221 IP) and Larry Jansen (1.98 in 784.2 IP) had the most among regulars.

Since 2014, 1385 pitchers have appeared, and 1148 of them have more strikeouts than walks. Evan Scribner (16.00 in 93 IP), Kenley Jansen (7.75 in 301 IP) or Clayton Kershaw (7.57 in 830 IP) lead.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5713137)
The only AL pitching staff to strike out more than they walked in 1949 was the Tigers, who had 631 Ks and 628 BBs. The league as a whole drew 5622 walks and struck out 4364 times, for a ratio of 0.78 Ks for every walk. In this year's AL, the ratio is 2.67 Ks for every walk.

OK, now I'm curious. I understand the low strikeouts. Pitch to contact so you conserve pitches and can go 9, hitters viewed striking out as shameful, etc.

But why the high BB rate?
   13. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:45 PM (#5713138)
But why the high BB rate?


I'm not an expert on the era or anything, but my understanding is that it was an offensive philosophy. This was the era of the walking Eddies (Yoost, Jost, Stanky, Lake). Roy Cullenbine had a reputation of looking for walks when he batted (I read a quote somewhere of somebody calling Cullenbine "the laziest batter I ever saw" because he seemed to WANT to walk). As to WHY that type of hitter was particularly prominent and/or successful in that time period, I really don't know.

[EDIT: That's "Joost" and "Yost", of course. Damn, those two are hard to keep straight.]
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5713143)
But why the high BB rate?
Couldn't it be just that pitchers had worse control in general? It seems logical that control would have improved over the years as mechanics have gotten more refined, players have gotten more athletic in general, etc. Especially given that many (most?) pitchers of the era either had a lot of unnecessary motion in their mechanics or just kind of slung the ball in. Just about everything in the game has gotten more precise since then, so why not pitchers' control?
   15. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5713147)
Was that also an era of high SB? Might as well walk if you have little power and figure you've got a good chance to get to second with an SB.

Let's see, Roy Cullenbine had 26 career stolen bases. That isn't it. Seemed unlikely.
   16. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5713149)
Couldn't it be just that pitchers had worse control in general? It seems logical that control would have been improved over the years as mechanics have gotten more refined, players have gotten more athletic in general, etc. Just about everything in the game has gotten more precise since then, so why not pitchers' control?


I suspect it's something along these lines where in earlier years, batters weren't as willing to take a walk - it was probably seen as unmanly or some such. I'm not a pitcher or anything, but isn't the key to success with "pitch to contact" making pitches that are close enough to the strike zone to get batters to swing but not be able to get the barrel on the ball - so, ideally, throwing your pitches a couple of inches below the knees or a bit just off the plate on one side or the other. In a world where batters are going up looking to make contact (think Vlad Guerrero or Javy Baez), a good pitcher's best pitches are likely to be out of the strike zone but the batter will swing at them anyway (and, for most batters, make a lot of weak contact). If, all of a sudden, batters stop swinging at those pitches, though, you're likely to see a lot of walks.

Ted Williams was famous for this, of course. Obviously, not everybody can hit pitches in the strike zone with the same authority as Ted Williams, but it's probably easier to at least adopt the "don't swing at balls" part of Ted's philosophy.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5713150)
Couldn't it be just that pitchers had worse control in general?

But the rate wasn't that high before the war. Going back to the 1920's, it was close to 3 BB/9, in the 1930s 3.5. Very similar to today.

BB rates have not really gotten better over the long time horizon. But they got decidedly worse in the immediate post-war era. Though the NL didn't spike nearly as much as the AL.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5713151)
I suspect it's something along these lines where in earlier years, batters weren't as willing to take a walk - it was probably seen as unmanly or some such. I'm not a pitcher or anything, but isn't the key to success with "pitch to contact" making pitches that are close enough to the strike zone to get batters to swing but not be able to get the barrel on the ball - so, ideally, throwing your pitches a couple of inches below the knees or a bit just off the plate on one side or the other. In a world where batters are going up looking to make contact (think Vlad Guerrero or Javy Baez), a good pitcher's best pitches are likely to be out of the strike zone but the batter will swing at them anyway (and, for most batters, make a lot of weak contact). If, all of a sudden, batters stop swinging at those pitches, though, you're likely to see a lot of walks.

That sounds plausible.
   19. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5713154)
Was that also an era of high SB?


No. Between 1945 and 1954 there were only 43 seasons of 20+ SB. Jackie Robinson's 37 in 1949 was the high for the 10 year period. Dom DiMaggio led the AL in 1950 with 15.

edit: fixed typo
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5713177)
1949 was clearly the peak for walks, for whatever reason. The average AL team drew (or issued) 3.4 walks per game in 1945; that figure rose every year until it peaked at 4.6 in 1949. More than one extra walk per game seems like a lot. The figure then dropped every single year until 1954, when the average AL team drew 3.7 walks per game. It seems to have stabilized there.

As to why it happened: Home runs also rose every year from 1945 to 1950. That may have had something to do with it. Pitchers figured they're better off walking guys rather than seeing the ball fly out of the park.

   21. SoSH U at work Posted: July 20, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5713199)
Two Mexican League umpires suspended for remainder of the season for combining on this terrible call.

Hell, the home plate ump ought to get a couple of extra games next year because it was right down the middle anyway.

   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 02:35 PM (#5713206)
Two Mexican League umpires suspended for remainder of the season for combining on this terrible call.

Hell, the home plate ump ought to get a couple of extra games next year because it was right down the middle anyway.
I would say they should have their children taken away, but I don't want to give our POS-in-chief any ideas.
   23. eric Posted: July 20, 2018 at 03:18 PM (#5713229)
In 1949 he won 15 games, and had a 109 ERA+ with 8.2 BB/9.


That year he walked 179 in 196 IP. He also had 129 strikeouts. But that was good for a league-leading 5.9 K/9. He also had a league-leading 5.7 H/9, and a very respectable 0.5 HR/9. All that still translated to a 4.86 FIP (3.72 actual ERA with only 3 UER). For his career he was 4.76 FIP vs 4.11 ERA.

Roy Cullenbine had a reputation of looking for walks when he batted


Cullenbine, not Williams nor Bonds nor Ruth nor Rickey!, holds the MLB record for most consecutive games with a walk: 22 in a row in 1947--which was also his final year in MLB despite 4.3 WAR, 125 OPS+, and 24 HR (4th in the AL). I guess a .224 BA would do that to you back then. Reading his bio, no team wanted him for 1948 until the Phillies picked him up out of desperation. But then he lost out in spring training to a young rookie named Richie Ashburn and was released.
   24. bobm Posted: July 22, 2018 at 12:46 AM (#5713708)
If walk rates are one of the few batting skills that improves with batter's age, could trends towards younger players explain the drop in walk rates now? Interestingly, walk rates seemed to go up in the steroid era, when players' ages on average were higher.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Harry Balsagne
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogSale of Baseball Prospectus
(284 - 2:53pm, Nov 16)
Last: GGC

NewsblogHow Kevin Brown Became Baseball's First $100 Million Man
(4 - 2:52pm, Nov 16)
Last: Jon W

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread (2018-19 season kickoff edition)
(2378 - 2:52pm, Nov 16)
Last: Dandy Little Glove Man

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (November 2018)
(415 - 2:50pm, Nov 16)
Last: BrianBrianson

NewsblogIndians' Trevor Bauer pleads his own Cy Young case using a spreadsheet on Twitter
(16 - 2:36pm, Nov 16)
Last: Zonk qualifies as an invasive species

Hall of MeritMock 2019 Today’s Game Hall of Fame Election Results
(2 - 2:23pm, Nov 16)
Last: Rennie's Tenet

NewsblogPirates acquire three players in trade with Tribe
(25 - 2:11pm, Nov 16)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogAtlanta/Southeast BBTF meet up
(71 - 1:50pm, Nov 16)
Last: dlf

NewsblogYelich, Betts Win MVPs
(51 - 1:41pm, Nov 16)
Last: John DiFool2

NewsblogJoe Mauer Retires After 15 Seasons
(79 - 1:31pm, Nov 16)
Last: Fernigal McGunnigle

Hall of MeritMock 2019 Today’s Game Hall of Fame Ballot
(53 - 1:21pm, Nov 16)
Last: DL from MN

NewsblogFox Sports inks multi-year rights agreement with Major League Baseball
(26 - 12:36pm, Nov 16)
Last: Jay Seaver

NewsblogMarlins get rid of orange, cite South Florida cultures with new look
(23 - 12:13pm, Nov 16)
Last: Der-K: at 10% emotional investment

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-16-2018
(5 - 12:12pm, Nov 16)
Last: vortex of dissipation

NewsblogAL Central Offseason Preview
(15 - 11:13am, Nov 16)
Last: base ball chick

Page rendered in 0.4158 seconds
46 querie(s) executed