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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nap Lajoie

Eligible in 1922.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 22, 2007 at 01:36 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 22, 2007 at 01:47 PM (#2301636)
Baseball's most famous Napoleon was analyzed in these threads:

1922 Ballot Discussion

Second Basemen Positional Thread

If you know of any others, please let me know.
   2. Paul Wendt Posted: February 25, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2303079)
Quoting myself from "Rogers Hornsby" where much discussion concerns the all-time great second basemen.
Lajoie should have been called "The Big Napoleon".
He was a slugger and, I've learned from 1900 reading, a superstar. A gate attraction.
It's easy to guess that Delahanty was jealous, and to empathize.

But Lajoie couldn't stay in the lineup. He suffered major downtime in '99, '00, '02 (his mid-twenties when he was considered maybe the best player in baseball), '05, and '11 (the batting race with Cobb concluding at age 37). In 1900, the cause was injury fighting Elmer Flick.

Yesterday I read the SABR biography "Napoleon Lajoie" by J.M. Murphy, which is The National Pastime 8 (1988), a dedicated issue.

Lajoie was down with pleurisy in winter 1903 and therefore missed the "All-American" team (AL stars) barnstorming tour. Murphy concludes (page 25, emphasis mine):
> Lajoie's recovery was no doubt helped by his own abundant good health.
> He was strong, a physical specimen who received many offers to exhibit his physique
> in dime museums throughout the country.
He always refused. "I'm not a freak," he stated.
   3. Paul Wendt Posted: February 25, 2007 at 04:09 PM (#2303107)
down time, according to the biography by J.M. Murphy.

Jul 14 - collision with baserunner Harry Steinfeldt at second base. "Steinfeldt lay unconscious for almost five minutes" but played next day. Lajoie made five pinch-hitting appearances beginning Sep 15.

May 31 - clubhouse fistfight with teammate Elmer Flick. Lajoie broke his left thumb. Flick missed three game, Lajoie returned only Jul 5.

Apr 23 (opening day in Baltimore) - removed for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, upon delivery of a telegram to manager Mack reporting the temporary injunction issued in Philadelphia. Lajoie returned as newly minted captain of Cleveland team, Jun 4.

winter - pleurisy - Lajoie missed the All-American tour (mainly California) but opened the season.

Jul 1 - spiked at second base but remained in the game. Soon hospitalized with blood poisoning from the blue dye in his uniform stockings. His doctor reportedly thought that amputation might be necessary but he was soon attending home games in a wheelchair. Lajoie returned Aug 28 (a win), playing first base, where he remained for four games with Philadelphia in the next three days. Four defeats dropped Cleveland from 4-1/2 to 8-1/2 games behind and Lajoie sat out the rest of the season.

Jul 10 (1) - spiked at second base but remained in the game, washed and bandaged, and also played the second game. Lajoie returned Aug 5.

May 7 - ruptured a leg muscle. Appeared 15 days later, not again until pinch-hitting twelve times Jul 1-28. Returned fulltime at first base on bad legs.

Jul 11 - in Washington received notice of his mother's death. Lajoie and his wife traveled to Woonsocket after the game and he did not play again until Jul 27.
(Recent Cleveland high school phenom played shortstop and convinced the Naps that he was not worth keeping.)
   4. Paul Wendt Posted: February 25, 2007 at 04:20 PM (#2303114)
In two stints as a regular pinch-hitter, 1899-09 and 1911-07
17 pa, 6 h, 4 bb => on-base .586

This is not a full-length biography but the once-standard number of a SABR journal: 84 pages inclusive, 8.5x11 inches.
   5. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 25, 2007 at 04:22 PM (#2303115)
BP gives Lajoie more WARP1 in 1910 than Wagner had in 1908. Huh?

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