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Dugout Newsbeat

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-27-2020

Bridgeport Times, February 27, 1920:

Zimmerman And Hal Chase Are Dropped

Report That No Club In Either League Will Claim Them—Has This Any Connection With Crusade Against Gambling By Players?

The biggest sensation in modern baseball is due to break within the next few days. It is understood that Hal Chase, first baseman, and Heine Zimmerman, third baseman, of the Giants, have played their last big league game, and their retirement at a time when both are valuable assets to the Giants, will cause nationwide surprise.
...
[Earlier this week a] newspaperman spoke to Magee about this matter. His reply was: “Well, Bill, if they are going to [release and blacklist] me I guarantee you that I won’t be the goat alone; at least one other player will go along with me.” He did not specify who the other player was.

Everyone sort of knew, though; this wasn’t the first time organized baseball looked into Hal Chase and gambling.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 27, 2020 at 09:53 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, game-fixing, history

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-26-2020

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, February 26, 1920:

Whitted Signs Pirate Contract; Lines Up a “Babe Ruth” for Bucs

George Whitted, a star member of the Pittsburgh Nationals, [yesterday] won a race with many major and minor league officials through the signing of Leo Mangum, a Durham [North Carolina] amateur who has attracted widespread comment in the baseball world. Whitted sent Mangum’s contract also with his own to the Pittsburgh management.

During the past few weeks Mangum has received contract offers from 10 major and minor league clubs. His phenomenal pitching last summer in amateur circles was probably responsible. Besides being a pitcher, the youngster can play infield or outfield and is a natural hitter. Whitted predicts that he will have no trouble sticking with the Pittsburgh club this season.

Leo Mangum made his major league debut in 1924, when he put up a 7.09 ERA in 13 games (seven starts) for the White Sox. He allowed 95 baserunners in 47 innings that year and walked more than twice as many batters as he struck out.

Unfortunately, Leo Mangum wasn’t a Babe Ruth. He wasn’t even a Brooks Kieschnick or Michael Lorenzen - Mangum never appeared as a position player in his seven-season MLB career and wound up with a career ERA+ of 68 and a career OPS+ of 30.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 26, 2020 at 10:09 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, enthusiasm, history, optimism

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-25-2020

New York Tribune, February 25, 1920:

Ball players may storm and raise ructions on the ball field and they may disobey their managers at times; but in their own home they are like any other married citizen. Heinie Groh, it has been reported, is a hold-out. As a matter of fact, Heinie’s wife is the hold-out. As a matter of fact, Heinie’s wife is the hold-out and Heinie is only acting as the spokesman or middleman.

Groh recently returned his contract to President Garry Herrmann, of the Champion Cincinnati Reds, demanding more money. Herrmann figures that he can pay no more than the amount stipulated in little Heinie’s contract. Enter Mrs. Groh, manager of the Groh household.

A dispatch from Cincinnati last night had it that the directress has forbidden Heinie to sign the contract until Mr. Herrmann comes across with more money. And as yet Heinie hasn’t dared to sign.

I don’t love the image of the domineering wife they’re trying to paint here, but it’s an interesting snapshot of negotiations at the time.

Groh was a heck of a player - at this point, he had three consecutive seasons with an OPS+ over 140, had led the league in doubles and OBP twice in three years, and had been the best player on a World Series champion the previous year. I’m not saying you give the guy a blank check, but it sure seems like if his demands weren’t crazy, Herrmann should have just paid the man. I assume that’s what happened; Groh played 145 games in 1920.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 25, 2020 at 10:18 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 24, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-24-2020

Pittsburgh Press, February 24, 1920:

Out of New York the other day came a story to the effect that two well-known players had been dropped from the rolls for gambling on championship baseball games. It is said that the magnates have decided not to tell the names of these men, and to deny emphatically that any “blacklist” has been established against them. Nevertheless, it is reported that these men will never again be given employment in the big show, having simply been informed that their “services are no longer required.”
...
[Quoting Sid Mercer in the New York Globe:] “What are presumed to be the facts behind the reported unconditional release of Lee Magee by the Chicago Cubs have not been published, not will they be unless Magee is unceremoniously dropped by the major leagues and makes his own complaint. Some ugly rumors were circulated at the Chicago meeting. Magee said he had heard them, but would not discuss them unless he was convinced there was discrimination against him.”

The other player was presumably Hal Chase, who played his final MLB game in 1919 and was later implicated by Magee in an investigation into fixed games.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 24, 2020 at 09:49 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, February 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-21-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 21, 1920:

The Boston Braves are preparing for a strenuous season. They have signed up a slugger named John L. Sullivan to play in the outfield. John L. doesn’t slug with his fists—he uses a baseball bat, which is more effective.

He was actually a pretty good player. Better than Mike Tyson or Joe Frazier, but less important to baseball history than Forman.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 21, 2020 at 10:54 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-19-2020

Pendleton East Oregonian, February 19, 1920:
Ray Schalk
It would seem that Ray Schalk’s company smelted it, then he dealt it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 19, 2020 at 09:43 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-18-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 18, 1920:

Benjamin Kauff, star fielder of the New York Giants, was out on bail today after his arrest yesterday on a charge of grand larceny in connection with the alleged theft of an automobile.

Kauff, who until recently was engaged with his half brother in the automobile accessory business, is alleged to have sold a car last December 15, which had been stolen [in New York] a week before. Kauff maintained that he bought the car in question last October 27.

Kauff was acquitted of the criminal charges, but Commissioner Landis eventually banned him for life over this matter.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:44 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 17, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-17-2020

Pittsburgh Press, February 17, 1920:

Babe Ruth, “life and limb,” is to be insured by the Yankees for $150,000, it has been announced by Col. T.L. Huston, part owner of the club. It is the first time an individual member of a New York club has been insured for any great amount.

The difference in New York’s approach to Ruth and Boston’s approach to Ruth couldn’t possibly be more extreme. Frazee saw the Babe as an inconvenience, Huston and Ruppert saw him as the most valuable commodity in the sport.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:52 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, February 14, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-14-2020

Fairmont West Virginian, February 14, 1920:

If the opinion of Jim Scott, former White Sox twirler and now an oil merchant in Seattle, is worth anything Walter Mails has more stuff than the eccentric Rube Waddell.
...
Scott turns the spy glass on Walter with these remarks:

“Mails showed more pitching ability in the Coast League last season than any southpaw I have seen since Rube Waddell. I’ll go further than that, I am not sure that Waddell had more stuff than the Sacramento pitcher. It is too bad that Walter has that peculiar temperament which keeps him back when he should be up in the majors and starring along with Walter Johnson.

I don’t know about you, but I think this Mails fella is the sort of player who could really make an impact in the big leagues in 1920 if someone gives him a shot.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 14, 2020 at 10:32 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-13-2020

Pittsburgh Press, February 13, 1920:

Behold the poor ump, now in his new job. Shades of the old days—he’s to be the prohibition enforcer of baseball.

In addition to calling balls and strikes, stopping bottles with his tender head and hearing his family history traced from the diamond and the stand, the poor old ump must stop the issue of wet goods on the diamond.

Baseball has joined the van and gone dry. High balls still will be permissible, but in keeping with the times they cannot be wet.

Not sure if that’s a clever play on “highball” as an alcoholic beverage or if there was actually some discussion about punishing pitchers who missed the strike zone above the letters.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 10:25 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-12-2020

Arizona Republican, February 12, 1920:

Peace was declared in the American league early this morning. A reconciliation program was adopted by the club owners after a session which lasted several hours. The plan provided:

Dismissal of all litigation instituted by the New York club.
Reinstatement of Carl Mays, a member of the New York club.
Recommendation to the national commission to award third place in the American league race to New York, and third prize money to the players of the New York club.
Appointment of a committee on arbitration for two years.

There had been lawsuits and hard feelings flying back and forth between the Yankees and AL President Ban Johnson for the better part of a year. Mays walked away from the Red Sox in 1919 while he was still under contract, the Sox sold him to New York, Johnson tried to suspend Mays, the Yankees got an injunction allowing him to play, and a civil war was on. This defused that fight.

Also in the news 100 years ago, the Washington Herald reports five names submitted by the two major leagues for the job of National Commission chairman: K.M. Landis of Chicago, Harvey T. Woodruff of Chicago, Bill Edwards of New York, Joseph A. Walker [sic] of New York, and J. Conley Toole [sic] of New York.

I’m fairly sure that “Joseph A. Walker” is actually Jimmy Walker, the eventual New York Mayor. He’s the only person named Walker to serve in the New York Senate in the 1920s, he was known to be a baseball fan, and other newspaper reports say that the Walker in question is a senator from New York.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 12, 2020 at 10:18 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-11-2020

Arizona Republican, February 11, 1920:

Numerous rules in the baseball code were thrashed out today at the annual meetings of the rules committee of the National and American leagues. Chief among the rules was those relating to the home run, the intentional pass, the balk, the “dead ball” and legislation regarding the freak deliveries of pitchers.

In all, 19 rules were amended and one added.

The addition to the rules deals with the intentional pass, which declares it to be illegal for the catcher to step from his box to aid the pitcher in pitching wide to the batsman.

I like that a lot, actually: Walk the batter if you want, but the catcher has to be in position. Not that it matters anymore.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 11, 2020 at 10:36 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 10, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-10-2020

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, February 10, 1920:

The elimination of all forms of freak pitching, including the spitball, the shiner, the emery ball, the licorice ball and other types of unfair slab work, was unanimously agreed upon by the rules committee of the two major leagues in joint session here this afternoon. With the single exception of the spitball, the new order of things takes effect at once.

That there will be a short respite for the spitball was the consensus of opinion among the moguls following the meeting, although final action on the wet fling will not be taken until the two leagues have their meeting tomorrow. American League men tonight stated that the saliva offering probably will get one year’s grace in their league, but its fate in the National is not yet known.

I love phrases like the “wet fling” and the “saliva offering.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 10, 2020 at 10:10 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, February 07, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-7-2020

New Britain Herald, February 7, 1920:

Adrian C. Anson as a candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant (maybe) chairmanship of the National Commission is the newest variation of that vexatious baseball question. Anson has made known his candidacy to big league club owners.

Anson, as all old-timers know, was a commanding figure of baseball of thirty years ago. He helped establish the national game. He helped establish its reputation for integrity.

My first thought was that it would have been a horrible idea because he was such a virulent racist, but the integration ship had already sailed away by 1920 and Anson only lived another two years anyway.

As it turns out, I guess Landis was as acceptable a pick as anyone if they were married to the (awful, disgusting) idea of choosing players based on skin color.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 07, 2020 at 10:14 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-6-2020

The Sun and New York Herald, February 6, 1920:

SECOND BABE RUTH FOR THE YANKEES

Cravath Says Bobby Mensel [sic] Can “Hit Them a Mile.”
...
[Phillies manager Gavvy Cravath on Irish Meusel:] “Meusel should have a great season. His arm has improved, but believe me, his brother Bobby, who has been signed by the Yankees, is one of the greatest prospects that I have ever seen. He hits the ball as hard as Babe Ruth. I know that is a big statement to make, but it’s the truth. He hits them a mile.”

Okay, so maybe “second Babe Ruth” was a bit of an overstatement, but Meusel was a hell of a player for a while. He won the 1925 home run crown while leading the league in RBI, and this was a league that featured Ruth, Gehrig, Goslin, Ken Williams, and Al Simmons. Bob Meusel wasn’t great for long enough to earn a ticket to Cooperstown, but that peak has him solidly in the Hall of Very Good.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 06, 2020 at 10:23 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-5-2020

Indiana Daily Times, February 5, 1920:

The latest tip is out that Rogers Hornsby will be sold to the Giants at the big baseball meeting in Chicago next week. It is said the Cards will take probably four players and some cash in exchange.
...
[Branch] Rickey contended that Hornsby belonged with the Cards—that they would be foolish to let such a man go. But other baseball men do not agree with Rickey. Some of the best heads in the game declare they would let Hornsby go if they could get several good players in exchange for him.

I mean, I guess, if the good players were guys like Heilmann and Frisch instead of a stack of dudes like Baby Doll Jacobson.

The Cardinals did eventually trade Hornsby to the Giants, after the 1926 season, for a guy like Frisch. In fact, they traded him for exactly Frankie Frisch (and also Jimmy Ring). Hornsby was the better player and St. Louis did lose that trade IMO, but it’s hardly catastrophic when you lose a trade and still walk away with an obvious Hall of Famer in his prime.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 05, 2020 at 10:02 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-4-2020

Pittsburgh Press, February 4, 1920:

Baltimore is still dreaming of becoming a major league baseball city. One rumor is that the owners of the Baltimore club in the old Federal League are willing to pass up that verdict for damages they secured against Organized Baseball, provided they can get a franchise in one of the major leagues.

But there is no chance for Oysterville. None of the franchises in the National or American league is on the market. Transferring a big league club from one of the present cities to Baltimore would be a silly step—financially fatal to the men who took it.

Keep shaking that tree, Baltimore. You’ll get there eventually.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 04, 2020 at 10:00 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 03, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-3-2020

Pittsburgh Press, February 3, 1920:

Total assets of the estate of Thomas H. Yawkey [sic], one of the owners of the Detroit American league baseball club, who died in Augusta, Ga., on March 5, 1919, were appraised at $9,427,460. His widow, Mrs. Margaret A. Yawkey, is the principal beneficiary. His holdings in the Detroit club were valued at $128,138.

It was actually William Yawkey who died. He left a large part of his estate to his nephew Tom, with a clause that forbade the boy from touching the money until he turned 30.

Tom Yawkey bought the Red Sox when he was 30 years, 4 days old.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 03, 2020 at 10:15 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-29-2020

Perth Amboy Evening News, January 29, 1920:

Babe Ruth, home-run laurel wearer, who will ship with the New York Yankees this season, is knocking “homers” on the golf links of Los Angeles this winter, but he found time to state that he believes his pitching days are over.

“Will I pitch this year? Not if I can help it. I think my pitching days are over. I would rather go after them in the outfield.

“The outfield is where I belong. It is too hard on the arm to play every day and then take your turn in the box. I found that I was never effective that way.

“I’m going to choke up a little more this year and try for more hits and less distance.”

Ruth’s effort to choke up and hit for less distance in 1920 resulted in disappointing stats like 54 home runs, a slugging percentage of .847, more than a run scored per game, and nearly an RBI per game.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 29, 2020 at 09:40 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 27, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-27-2020

Pittsburgh Press, January 27, 1920:

“Peerless Hal” Chase has probably played his last game of baseball. Recognizing the near approach of the inevitable end of a long and sensational career, he is planning to retire from the national pastime before the opening of another season and may announced his voluntary passing at any time now.

There is no question of failure to negotiate a satisfactory contract with the Giants involved in Chase’s determination to quit the diamond. He simply realized that he is rapidly nearing the end of his baseball rope and is anxious to become established in some other profession while he is still a comparatively young man.

...also, he probably realized that it was best if he walked away before the Black Sox thing blew up and people started looking into match fixing in baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 27, 2020 at 09:58 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, January 24, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-24-2020

Chicago Eagle, January 24, 1920:

Serbian and Roumanian convalescents were introduced to baseball by the American Y.M.C.A. representatives during the recent war. After considering the game from all angles, these persons gave it their heart-felt approval, but voted for larger bats, and balls that did not travel so swiftly.

So…softball, then.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 24, 2020 at 10:02 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-23-2020

Miller Huggins on his plans for Babe Ruth, quoted in the Chattanooga News, January 23, 1920:

He will be played in the outfield and I think right field is the place for him. We could play Ruth in left field, but I do not favor the sun field for Ruth, as playing there might affect his batting eye.
...
There has been much talk about the probability of Ruth’s being asked to choke his bat next season in order to get more hits rather than distance. To this I can say frankly that Ruth is one player who will be permitted to take his swing. When a player can average long hits as often as Ruth he is entitled to take his cut at the ball at all times.

Miller Huggins was no dummy.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 23, 2020 at 10:04 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-22-2020

Indiana Daily Times, January 22, 1920:

Students at Northwestern university have not given up hopes of having a baseball team. Spurred by the taunts which have been made against a school that will permit a whist team, but not allow the students to play baseball, J.M. King, prominent university athlete, yesterday started a petition to the faculty among the students, men and women, urging that the great American game be once more allowed on the campus. Baseball was abandoned shortly before the war. Efforts to have it re-established have been rebuffed by the faculty.

The good news is that the Northwestern University baseball program resumed play in 1921. The bad news is that since the resumption of NU baseball, the Wildcats have won exactly two conference championships (and one was a tie for first).

They’ve produced a handful of useful MLB players (Joe Girardi, Mark Loretta, and J.A. Happ), but as is tradition at Northwestern, they’re much better at putting up impressive LSAT and GMAT scores than impressive sports scores.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 22, 2020 at 10:17 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-21-2020

Rock Island Argus, January 21, 1920:

Ice baseball, ice boxing. These sports are forcing hockey to take a back seat [in Cleveland.]

Ice baseball was launched several weeks ago and already has a large following. A league has been formed comprising six industrial teams.

It remained for ice boxing to prove the real thriller. The second of two initial contests, staged at Rockefeller park, with the contestants heavily dressed in sweaters, resulted in a knockout in the second round. Aside from having to dodge the blows, contestants experienced much trouble in keeping their feet when they missed a swing.

If you ever hit an inside-the-park bunt home run in RBI Baseball, the idea of ice baseball may seem vaguely familiar. Ice boxing is pretty much just 1970s hockey.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 21, 2020 at 09:55 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 20, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-20-2020

Bridgeport Times, January 20, 1920:

Youth will arrive with a rush in professional baseball during the next two years. As the old stars sputter out, the new ones burst into being to carry on the spirit of the game.

Frank Frisch, of the Giants, and Waite Hoyt, of the Red Sox, both local fledglings, blaze the way for the incoming host of youthful headliners.
...
Not since Rogers Hornsby bloomed amid the Texas cactus and mellowed into stardom with the Cardinals has the National League welcomed such an exceptional young player as Frank Frisch…His advent at the Polo Grounds—he didn’t report till college closed—was the brightest feature of a disappointing campaign for the Giants. Frisch’s record is a story that needs no retelling now. It was the shining chapter of Gotham’s season.

For Hoyt we also predict a brilliant future. One of the greatest mysteries baseball knows today is how this young pitcher—a final five star complete edition of a star—ever escaped John McGraw, who dug him out of a Flatbush mine four years ago.

At this point Hoyt was 20 years old and had (count ‘em!) four career wins. Frisch was a career .226/.242/.295 hitter. As you know, both of them ended up in the Hall of Fame.

That’s an impressive bit of foresight from this writer.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:15 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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