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Friday, November 04, 2005

The End of an Era

Recently, the baseball world heard of the passing of one of its greatest
mangers, Al Lopez.
At age 97, he truly lived a long and fruitful life.  Not only was he the
oldest Hall of Famer
prior to his passing, but he was the oldest Hall of Famer ever.  He was the
last man alive
who could say he playing major league baseball in the 1920s.  His passing
gives one a
chance to reflect on just how much changes he saw in baseball and in the
world.  How old
was Al Lopez?  Well .  .. .

He’s old enough to have played against Connie Mack’s teams.  He just
baaarely missed
managing against the old master.  He did manage against Bucky Harris, the
skipper for the
only Senators team to win the World Series, way back during the Coolidge
administration.
He’s so old all but one of the starters on the first team he ever managed is
now dead (Al
Rosen is the last survivor).  You know Johnny Vander Meer, the man with
back-to-back
no hitters during the Depression?  Lopez managed him.  How about Barney
McCoskey,
Tigers’ center fielder whose 200 hits helped guide them to the 1940 pennant?
  Managed
him, too.  When he took control of the Indians, only a handful of teams had
integrated.

As a player, he shared the locker room with Dave Bancroft, Max Carey,  and
legal
spitballer Bill Doak.  He actually played for long deceased Wilbert
Robinson.  That all-star
game where Carl Hubbell struck out five Hall of Famers in a row?  Al Lopez
was there,
though he wasn’t the backstop for that series of batters.  He made it to
Wrigley Field
before the ivy did.  As a teenager, he caught for the still-active Walter
Johnson in spring
training.  Using baseball-reference’s version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,
one finds that
Lopez was just one degree removed from Walter Johnson (Joe Judge the common
teammate), Ty Cobb (Jack Quinn), and Babe Ruth (the immortal Jack
Saltzgaver).

When he was born, Ty Cobb was a kid with one batting title, and around 500
career hits.
Walter Johnson had less than 20 wins.  Cy Young wasn’t an award, but a
pitcher in the
middle of yet another 20-win season.  The youngest player in the NL was
Giants’ first
baseman Fred Merkle, and he had yet to make his mark on the league.  You
remember
deadball great Smokey Joe Wood?  He made his MLB debut four days after Al
Lopez was
born.  He came into the world the same year as “Take Me Out to the Ball
Game.”  The
most storied franchises in baseball history was, as unlikely as it sounds,
the Chicago Cubs,
with 8 pennants, 1 world series title, and a record 116 games won in a year.

 
Al Lopez was
so old he was alive the last time they won the pennant.  The all-time save
leader was still-
active Iron Man Joe McGinnity, who had racked up an enormous 24 careers
saves.  The
American League New York club was not yet known as the Yankees, nor had they
won
any pennants.  Cap Anson would survive until Lopez was 15, and George Wright
kicked
around until Lopez was almost 30.

When he was born it was the golden age of “small ball.”  The average game
had over two
and a half sacrifice hits, and nearly as many stolen bases.  There were over
three times as
many triples as homers.  Pitchers were expected to go the distance.  There
were 15
complete games for every save (not that the closer stat had even been
invented yet.  Heck
the closer hadn’t been created yet).  The entire AL had fewer saves, 46,
than Chad
Cordero had this year (47).  The American League’s all-time home run champ
at the time?
Why it was the immortal Harry Davis.

Those aren’t the only signs of just how old he was.  In his lifetime,
Haley’s comet came.
And went.  And came again.  And made it a little over one-fourth the way
through its next
journey.  The world had well under two billion people when he was born.  The
US had
less than 90 million of them.  His birth town of Tampa held about 15,000 by
the most
recent census.  The entire country had only fifteen towns over a quarter
million in
population.  The entire state had well-under a million people.  Then again,
many of the 46
states in the nation had under a million back then.  Blacks still voted
Republican, as the
nation was still closer in time to Abraham Lincoln than to Martin Luther
King Jr.  Protests
over the recent race riot in Lincoln’s old hometown of Springfield, IL were
about to lead
to the formation of the NAACP.

Al Lopez was older than Nat King Cole, the long dead black singer.  He’s
older than the
Titanic.  Not the movie - the actual ship itself.  He’s older than Bill
Clinton or George W.
Bush. Heck, he’s older than George H. W. Bush.  As a matter of fact, he’s
older than
Reagan, Carter, Ford, and Nixon.  Christ - the man’s older than LBJ and JFK.
  He’s older
than Jesse Owens, star of the 1936 Olympics.  He’s old enough to have come
of legal
drinking age during prohibition.  He’s older than Tennessee Williams, whose
last major
play was over forty years ago.  He’s the same age as Richard Wright, whose
major novels
are almost old enough to qualify for social security.  George Orwell would
have been
about kindergarten age when Lopez came alive.

When he was born Irving Berlin was a struggling songwriter.  “Alexander’s
Ragtime
Band” was still three years away.  Al Capone was a juvenile delinquent in
New York City.
Mao Zedong was a fifteen year student.  Vladimir Lenin was a largely unknown
radical
Russian in exile.  Jack Johnson was in training to become the first black
heavyweight
champ.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt could walk.  Harry Truman ran the family
farm in
Missouri.  Ike had not yet begun attending classes at West Point.  Woodrow
Wilson was
the president of Prinecton.  T. E. Lawerene was “Lawerence of Jesus College,
Oxford,”
and had just completed his freshman year.  T. S. Eliot was an undergrad at
Harvard.
Eugene O’Neill was a hard drinking college dropout.  Ernest Hemmingway was a
nine
year old in Chicago’s suburbs.  Adolf Hitler had just been denied entry into
the Academy
of Arts in Vienna for the second and final time.  Robert Frost was an
impoverished failed
farmer.  Jesse Orosco was a spot starter for the St Louis Browns.  Einstein
still hadn’t yet
thought up the theory of relativity.  Ghandi was still working in South
Africa when he was
born.  Leo Tolstoy and Mark Twain were still alive.  J. P. Morgan and Samuel
Carniege
could still count their money.  The Wild West was not that far removed as
Geronimo still
lived.  Legend has it that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were shot up
in South
America about this time.  Mussolini was a leftist.  Black Jack Pershing was
an obscure
army officer.  Ambrose Bierce was looking to get himself pushed up against a
wall and
shot.  James Joyce was doing a rotten job supporting himself as a school
teacher.  Franz
Kafka was a nondescript civil servant writing stories in private.  Alfred
Dreyfuss had just
retired from the French military.  Ho Chi Minh was looking for a way to get
to France to
receive a western education.  Winston Churchill was a young up and comer
named to the
British cabinet for the first time.  Pablo Picasso had begun experimenting
with cubism just
two years before.

He’s older than the Model T Ford.  He’s older than Crisco, Hellman’s
mayonnaise, the
Oreo, Life Saver candy, or the Kewpie doll.  The Qing dynasty still ran
China when he
was born.  The Hapsburgs still ran Austria.  The Romanovs were still in
Russia.  He
predates the Armenian genocide.  The Ottoman and German empires still
existed.  He
came into the world about the same time the first Zionist colony in
Palestine was
established.  He’s old enough to have remembered the Lusitainia’s sinking
(he may
actually have remembered it, but he’s old enough so that it was possible). 
He’s only 15
days younger than Bulgaria.  Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom. 
Almost no
nations in Africa were independent.  The nation had just finished mourning
the death of
Grover Cleveland.  He was around before a national celebration of Mother’s
Day.  His
was the first generation of children to play with erector sets.

When he was a young lad, there was no TV or even radio, but a lad could take
in a
vaudeville show for 50 cents.  Most movies went for a nickel or dime.  The
daily paper
was one to two pennies in cost.  An older person could buy eight quarts of
whiskey for $5.
An intelligent youngster could pay his tuition, room, and board at Harvard
for $700.  If he
had to stay at New York City along the way, he could get a hotel room for
$1.50.  If he
wanted to drive there, a normal car cost $600.  A Model T went only $360,
but if he really
wanted to impress the ladies he could spend about $3000 on a new cadillac. 
The nation
had yet to have its first self-service grocery store, as Piggly-Wiggly would
not open until
1916.

It was a very different and in many ways worse world.  Within eight days of
his birth,
blacks were lynched in four different incidents in America.  When he only a
few months
old a black man was lynched for insulting a white girl in the eventual
hometown of Bill
Clinton, Hope, AR.  The worst atrocities of imperialism were still going on
as King
Leopold continued to rule the Congo as his own personal holding.  If you
wanted to get
from the Pacific to the Atlantic, you had to go around the Straights of
Magellen. The
average worker made about as much money as Alex Rodriquez makes in 15
minutes -
$750 a year.  Or, if you’d rather, they made as much in eleven years what he
would make
in a half-inning.  The average person died at about the age of 50.  Speaking
out on behalf
of birth control could get you arrested under the Comstock Act.  No woman
east of the
Mississippi River could vote.  It had only been two years since Upton
Sinclair had turned
the nation’s stomach with his tale “The Jungle.”  Blacks were still lynched
routinely in the
Jim Crow South.  Many towns throughout the nation were “sundown towns” that
would
not let blacks stay in there over night.

I think what I’m trying to say is—he was old.

 

Chris Jaffe Posted: November 04, 2005 at 02:58 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Mister High Standards Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:44 PM (#1718756)
Good job Jaffe. Heck of a job actually really fun.
   2. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 04, 2005 at 03:55 PM (#1718771)
Wouldn't be a Chris Jaffe article with a lynching. ;-)

Nice job, Chris.
   3. VG Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:11 PM (#1718803)
You know Johnny Vander Meer, the man with back-to-back no hitters during the Depression? Lopez managed him.

Not only that, but López played on the 1938 Boston Bees (Braves) team that Vander Meer tossed his first no-hitter against, although López didn't play in that game.

Jesse Orosco was a spot starter for the St Louis Browns.

Nice.
   4. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:25 PM (#1718827)
Ghandi was still working in South Africa when he was born.

I now they didn't have child labour laws back then, but this goes a bit too far ; )

Nice job Chris. And a nice homage to a Bill James essay on (I think) Phil Niekro
   5. WillYoung Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:34 PM (#1718843)
That was good stuff, Chris. Excellent read.
   6. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: November 04, 2005 at 04:37 PM (#1718850)
Hey, lay off Harry Davis! How many times have you led the American League in home runs? :)

Seriously, he was a legitimately good player who's been lost in the mist of history. The John Olerud of the 1900s, perhaps.
   7. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: November 04, 2005 at 09:34 PM (#1719374)
As a matter of fact, he's older than Reagan, Carter, Ford, and Nixon. Christ - the man's older than LBJ and JFK.

Actually, only LBJ was older than Reagan. Reagan was born 6 years before JFK despite being President 20 years later.

That made for a great read, Chris. Thanks!
   8. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:01 PM (#1719414)
Thanks for all the compliments.

After I submitted it I realized I blew the ending - I should've saved the Cubs won the series bit for the end. Sure it's a cheap joke, but sure beats the lame ending I got now.

A few other things to add - when he made it to MLB, the Green Monster wasn't yet green.

In his lifetime, there were 1,379,633 runs scored in 313,198 regular season MLB games. There were over 1000 postseason games in his lifetime and 76 allstar games. Altogether (and guesstimating 29 games this postseason - b-ref doesn't have them up last time I checked) there were 315,305 games then.

When he was born, Duke Ellington had just begun professionally playing music. Jim Thorpe had begun competing in athletic events the year before.

(looks over article) - hey, wait - this is the short version. I had another page of this stuff!

More of this stuff:

When he finished his days as a manager in 1968-9, his last 31 games were against teams represtenting towns that weren’t in MLB when he started out.

When he was born baseball averaged less than 6000 spectators per game. He’s older than Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. Or Tiger Stadium and the original Comiskey Park. In his first year as a manager, only ten games lasted three hours or longer, and only two went beyond four hours.

Over 50 men have joined the Supreme Court in his days. Eighteen different men have been presidents in his lifetime. His birth came the same year that General Motors was founded. He predates the first animated cartoons.

Ex-union leader and reputed mob boss Jimmy Hoffa, who was a powerful force in crime, labor, and politics over forty years ago, is younger than Al Lopez. Muddy Waters, who helped make the blues a well-known music forms with his records a half-century ago, is younger than Al Lopez. Robert Johnson, the blues king who inspired Waters, is younger than Lopez. Charles Patton, “the father of the Delta Blues” was a teen when Lopez came into this world. Orson Welles, whose 64-year old “Citizen Kane” is widely considered to be the greatest movie of all time, is younger than Al Lopez.

When he was born, Joshua Chamberlain, hero of the fight on Little Round Top in the Battle of Gettysburg, was still alive. James Longstreet, Robert E. Lee’s “old warhorse” had died just a few years earlier. Admiral Dewey was still in the navy. Walt Disney was a child on a Missouri farm. John Wayne was in diapers when Lopez was born. Walter Brennan, who portrayed toothless, ornery, old coots in movies 60 years ago, would have been in middle school when he was born. Harpo Marx had just made his vaudeville debut - as part of the singing act “The Four Nightingales.” One of the other Nightingales was Groucho. John L. Lewis was just another miner in southern Illinois. George Patton had just flunked out at West Point (he’d get readmitted). Alger Hiss, whose conviction for perjury over a half-century ago helped cause the Red Scare, is four years older than Lopez. I'm pretty sure survivors of the Donner Party and Mountain Meadows Massacre were still alive when he was born.

Franz Kafka was a nondescript civil servant writing stories in private. Peter Lorre was four years old. Marshall Tito was a locksmith’s apprentice at the time. Madame Curie had won one of her two Nobel Prizes. In Italy, Rudolph Valentino was just hitting puberty. Charles DeGaulle still hadn’t settled on the military as his career. Mussolini was a leftist.

The nation had just finished mourning the death of Grover Cleveland when Lopez was born. He was around before a national celebration of Mother’s Day. There was no Time magazine back then. Heck, the founder of Time, was a 10 year old who had never stepped foot on America.

Looking at some advertising in the papers back then (all from the Chicago Tribune the week he was born), a person could take a round-trip from Chicago to Colorado for $30. You could buy a Goodyear’s men’s raincoat for a little over $10. A year’s subscription to the Chicago Tribune cost $6.50. The help wanted section divided the jobs into male and female. A men’s suit cost $12 and children’s past cost 19 cents. A woman’s corset was 25 cents, but a mink coat was a whopping $385. For $9.98 a person could buy a 100 piece set of china. A nice, cushy rocking chair was a little more expensive, $12.95. A new car, the Detroit Electric, was on sale. For less than $15 a person could purchase a new bed and a solid oak dresser.
   9. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:11 PM (#1719421)
Nice job Chris. And a nice homage to a Bill James essay on (I think) Phil Niekro

Actually, it was inspired by me looking up all this random info on how long it had been since a Chicago team last went to and/or won the Series, only to just dump it in the dugout.

Hey, lay off Harry Davis! How many times have you led the American League in home runs? :)

Initially, I put in after that AL HR tidbit - "Admit it - you have to go to baseball-reference just to figure out who he is!" but decided not to.

Also, when he was born, no one read Moby Dick and Melville had largely been forgotten. Thoreau was equally ignored.
   10. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:11 PM (#1719422)
Neat, Chris. THis reminds me of one of my favorite Bill James oieces. THe one on Phil Niekro.
   11. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:18 PM (#1719429)
Nice job Chris. And a nice homage to a Bill James essay on (I think) Phil Niekro

Actually, it was inspired by me looking up all this random info on how long it had been since a Chicago team last went to and/or won the Series, only to just dump it in the dugout.


Well, then you nailed the tone of the James piece. I wish I could find it. I've checked all the abstracts and historical abstracts, but no luck. I think it was Niekro.
   12. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:20 PM (#1719432)
And I am validated.

GGG, where is that piece? I can't find it.
   13. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:22 PM (#1719436)
Have you checked This Time Let's Not Eat the Bones? I think it was there.
   14. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:30 PM (#1719446)
No. I have never read that, so that's not where I saw it. It might be in the 1986 Abstract, as that is the only one I don't have right now.
   15. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:34 PM (#1719455)
Miserlou, just because you haven't read it doesn't mean it ain't in there. The book is largely a "greatest hits" collections of comments and summaries of studies. I've read the Niekro thing, and I think it was in Bones.
   16. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:44 PM (#1719465)
I phrased that badly. Yes, I believe you that it's there. But it's somewhere else as well, as I clearly remember the piece and I have never read "Bones".
   17. Repoz Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:47 PM (#1719467)
Good job Jaffe...lotsa stuff I can use!
   18. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: November 04, 2005 at 10:47 PM (#1719468)
Jesse Orosco was a spot starter for the St Louis Browns.
   19. esseff Posted: November 04, 2005 at 11:07 PM (#1719487)
14. Phil Niekro, New York

Holds the major league record for career wild pitches, with 207. I don't know about you, but personally, I'm awfully glad I'm not the one who has to keept track of that stuff . . .

Did you know that Phil Niekro is five years older than Denny McLain? Phil Niekro is older than Ron Santo. Phil Niekro is older than Joe Torre. Phil Niekro is older than Lou Brock or Carl Yastrzemski. Phil Niekro is older than Joe Pepitone. Phil Niekro is older than Richie Allen.

Jeff Torborg was dismissed in his third season as manager of Cleveland; that was seven years ago. Phil Niekro is older than Jeff Torborg, two and a half years older. Phil Niekro is older than Bobby Cox or Pat Corrales.

Do you remember Zoilo Versalles, who was the American League's MVP 21 years ago? Phil Niekro is older than Zoilo Versalles. Do you remember Jose Azcue, the great Azcue? Phil Niekro is older than Jose Azcue. Phil Niekro is older than Bernie Allen, Gene Alley, Mike Shannon, Dave Nicholson or Roger Repoz. Phil Niekro is older than Tony La Russa, Doug Rader or Ken Harrelson of the White Sox.

We can do this by teams . . . let's do the Cardinals. You probably know all the current Cardinals: Steve Braun is the oldest of them. Mike Torrez, who started with the Cardinals and then pitched for everybody else before dropping out of the game, was older than Steve Braun. Rick Wise, another peripatetic pitcher of similar talent, was older and earlier than Torrez; Steve Carlton is older than Wise, for whom he was once traded. Jose Cardenal, who patrolled the Cardinal outfield behind Carlton, was older than Steve. Tim McCarver, who caught for that team, is older than Jose Cardenal. Ray Sadecki, a teammate of McCarver's in his early days, a twenty-game winner of the 1964 Worlds Champions, was older than McCarver. You may remember Dick Nen, who hit the gigantic home run which buried the Cardinals the year before that, 1963. Nen was older than Sadecki. If you think hard enough, you may remember Julio Gotay, the Cardinal's [sic] shortstop before they traded for Dick Groat. Gotay, who was most famous as the man who dropped his mail in a green-painted trash bin for several weeks before Curt Flood discovered it, was older than Dick Nen. Von McDaniel, the Cardinals' pitching sensation of 1957, was older than Julio Gotay. But Phil Niekro is older than Von McDaniel.

Phil Niekro is older than Claude Osteen, the veteran pitching coach, or Milt Pappas. Phil Niekro is older than Sammy Ellis, one of the Yankee pitching coaches, or Dick Ellsworth. Phil Niekro is older than Tommie Aaron, except that Aaron is dead and you can't get any older than dead. I remember a few years ago at spring training, when Tommie was a coach with the Braves, he was hitting fungoes one day, his claim to alphabetical supremacy stretched across his back. Susie and I were sitting and watching him. A little woman about fifty yelled out from behind us, sounding for all the world like a character in the background of an old movie, "Haank. Oh, Haannk." She had a camera. At length, Tommie turned around, and gave a dutiful, patient half-smile. She took a picture and yelled, "Oh, thank you, Hank." Then he died a year or so later.

You remember Don Kessinger? Phil Niekro is older than Don Kessinger or Beckert. Glenn Beckert got the job as Cubs' second baseman after Ken Hubbs was killed in a plane crash in the spring of 1964. Phil Niekro is three years older than Ken Hubbs would be. Phil Niekro is older than Felix Millan or Sonny Jackson or Rico Carty. Phil Niekro is older than Martin Luther King or either of the Kennedys were at the time of their assassinations. Phil Niekro is older than Boog Powell. Phil Niekro is more than ten years older than I am.

Funny thing, though. He don't look a day over 60.

-- "The Bill James Baseball Abstract," 1986
   20. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 04, 2005 at 11:41 PM (#1719512)
When Lopez was born, William Boening was the head of a lumber company and had never yet seen an airplane. Pope John XXIII, the man who took the Vatican into the 20th century, was a fairly recently ordained priest. Norman Thomas, American socialist leader, was in a seminary. D. H. Lawerence had just become certified to be a teacher. Fatty Arbuckle hadn't yet made his screen debut. Marcus Garvey was a printer in his native country of Jamaica. Avery Brundage was an engineering student at the University of Illinois. A young Charles Lindberg was just starting out in school. Chaing Kaishek was attending a military academy in Japan. Bernard "Monty" Montgomery had just taken his first assignment in the British army. Boris Pasternak was hoping to become a composer. Erwin Rommell was planning on being an engineer. Lizzie Borden had almost 20 years left to live.
   21. KJOK Posted: November 05, 2005 at 02:59 AM (#1719643)
Another amazing fact for someone who lived to be 97 - the average male life expectancy when he was born was around 49 years, so Lopez is almost 50 years above average (not sure how many years above replacement level....)
   22. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 05, 2005 at 03:05 AM (#1719648)
Al Lopez is older than McCarthyism. Hell, he's older than Joe McCarthy.
   23. AndrewJ Posted: November 05, 2005 at 03:22 AM (#1719654)
When Al Lopez was born, Sir W.S. Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan fame was still alive and still writing for the stage. George Bernard Shaw hadn't written "Pygmalion" yet, and Stravinsky hadn't written "The Rite of Spring."
   24. AndrewJ Posted: November 05, 2005 at 03:41 AM (#1719666)
He actually played for long deceased Wilbert Robinson.

Interesting, isn't it, that the American League's best managers of the 1950s, Stengel & Lopez, played under veterans of the 1890s Orioles (McGraw and W. Robinson)?
   25. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 05, 2005 at 04:00 AM (#1719679)
A young Charles Lindberg was just starting out in school.

And John Alcock first became interested in aviation the year after Al Lopez was born...
   26. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 05, 2005 at 04:42 AM (#1719723)
Good poing Andrew, IIRC in James' manager book, he says that almost every manager today (he wrote it in the early 90s) can trace his 'ancestory' back to like 3 managers from the 1890s, I believe two of them were Robinson and Selee, can't remember the 3rd off the top of my head.
   27. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 05, 2005 at 04:43 AM (#1719724)
Also, great column Chris, a lot of fun to read.
   28. Beanpot Posted: November 05, 2005 at 05:28 AM (#1719749)
Just a terrific article, Chris.

And thanks to ess eff for posting that wonderful passage from James.
   29. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 05, 2005 at 05:52 AM (#1719758)
You know Josh Gibson, the legendary Negro League home run hitter who did live to see integrated MLB? He was born a few years after Lopez. AL Lopez was older than Bonnie or Clyde. Baby Face Nelson, a 1930s sociopath bankrobber, is younger than Al Lopez. Satchel Paige got his first exposure in the Negro Leagues just one season before Lopez's first at bat in the white big leagues. Pat Garrett, the man famous for shooting Billy the Kid, died the year Lopez was born. Bat Masterson was still alive. So was Wyatt Earp. Hell, Earp would still be alive when Lopez made his MLB debut. Emmett Dalton, of the Old West's Dalton Gang was still alive when Lopez was born. Despite receiving 23 gunshot wounds in 1892, Emmett lived until Lopez was almost 30. Frank James of the James Gang was still alive when Lopez was born.
   30. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: November 05, 2005 at 06:15 AM (#1719763)
I've reread the manager book too much because I know this off the top of my head. James said 2 things - that there were three main families of managers in baseball history, headed by Ned Hanlon, Connie Mack, and Branch Rickey (although the Mack line had pretty much died out), and that Selee was better than Hanlon but he had failed to produce the managerial successors that Hanlon had.

I mentioned this once before, but a cool addition to b-r.com would be lists of what future managers played for Hanlon, or Selee, or whomever. There was a thread where Sean had generated a few lists like that (I think he also did MVPs and All-Stars.)
   31. Cabbage Posted: November 05, 2005 at 06:20 AM (#1719766)
He's old enough to have remembered the Lusitainia's sinking (he may actually have remembered it, but he's old enough so that it was possible).

A few years ago, my landlord bought an old steamer trunk at a second hand store in Joliet, I'll. He looked behind the paper lining (he claimed it looked too new) and saw a list of trips and ships the trunk had been on. Included on that list was the Lusitania.

Thoreau was equally ignored.

Its a shame he didn't stay ignored.

That all-star game where Carl Hubbell struck out five Hall of Famers in a row?

Don't remember. When was it and who were the batters? Does it really count if one of them was a pitcher?
   32. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 05, 2005 at 06:23 AM (#1719767)
Cabbage - it was 1934. No pitchers - he got Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx (playing third!), Simmons & Cronin. Not bad.
   33. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: November 05, 2005 at 02:22 PM (#1719849)
Recently, I did a "shared teammates" thing that brought Al into the 21st century. Let's try it backwards:

Al Lopez played for the 1928 Brooklyn Robins, along with
Bill Doak, who played for the 1912 Cincinnati Reds, along with
Larry McLean (no relation), who played for the 1901 Boston Americans, along with
Frank Foreman, who played for the 1884 Chicago/Pittsburgh Unions (!!), along with
Joe Battin, who played for the 1871 Cleveland Forest Citys.

Lopez made his MLB debut on September 27, 1928, a few months before my father was born.
   34. Cabbage Posted: November 06, 2005 at 04:05 PM (#1720594)
gotcha, thanks.
   35. Mister High Standards Posted: November 06, 2005 at 04:17 PM (#1720599)
Thoreau was equally ignored.


The good old days.
   36. CFiJ Posted: November 06, 2005 at 04:25 PM (#1720605)
Al Lopez was so old he was alive the last time [the Cubs] won the pennant.

Not so impressive. I know of lots of folks who were alive the last time the Cubs won the pennant.
   37. jmac66 Posted: November 06, 2005 at 07:49 PM (#1720793)
if one cheats and counts both Lopez' playing and managing years, then he is one of the best "bridges", i.e. he was a teammate of Max Carey, whose career began in 1910, and he managed Tommy John, whose career ended in 1989
   38. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: November 06, 2005 at 11:44 PM (#1720998)
When Al Lopez was born, several European governments were within about ten years of being overthrown.
   39. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: November 07, 2005 at 02:56 PM (#1721440)
When Lopez was born, the following current European countries did not exist:

Ireland
Poland
Lithuania
Latvia
Estonia
Finland
Belarus
Ukraine
Moldova
Hungary
Czech Republic
Slovenia
Slovakia
Croatia
Bosnia
Macedonia
Turkey (in a manner of speaking)
Numerous Caucasus republics, depending on whether you consider that Europe or Asia

I probably missed a couple
   40. sunnyday2 Posted: November 07, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1721464)
Please, no more "end of an era" headlines. Jeez. An era or other ends approximately every day.
   41. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: November 08, 2005 at 02:56 AM (#1722732)
if one cheats and counts both Lopez' playing and managing years, then he is one of the best "bridges", i.e. he was a teammate of Max Carey, whose career began in 1910, and he managed Tommy John, whose career ended in 1989

We can get even better than that. Al Lopez used to manage Bill Melton, who is still active in White Sox baseball coverage and is with the team a lot. He was also in the dugout with Wilbert Robinson, who broke into MLB in the American Association. Dang

One of Wilby's teammates was former National Assocation "great" Bobby Mathews. So you can go Bobby Mathews-Wilbert Robinson-Al Rosen-Bill Melton-Bobby Jenks. Neat.
   42. Gerry Posted: November 09, 2005 at 03:02 AM (#1724579)
(out of order) wrote, in re: Al Lopez,

"In his lifetime, there were 1,379,633 runs scored in 313,198 regular season MLB games."

There has just been a discussion on sabr-l of the total number of
MLB games played since 1871 or 1876 or whatever, and it comes to
a bit under 200,000. Did you just add up all the games played by
individual teams? in which case, you're off by a factor of 2?

It seems unlikely that there are only 4 runs scored in an average game.
   43. Gerry Posted: November 09, 2005 at 03:03 AM (#1724580)
You know, the linebreaks I see in the "live preview"
aren't the linebreaks I get in the actual post.

Grr.

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