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Friday, September 25, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-25-2020

New York Evening World, September 25, 1920:

Interest in the Grand Jury investigation of alleged crookedness in baseball centres to-day in the identity of the man whose name has been given by witnesses as the person who fixed the 1919 World’s Series for Cincinnati to win. H.H. Brigham, foreman of the jury, says that he has the name.

While reticent as to the matter, Mr. Brigham said that evidence thus far introduced had brought about a decision to call as witnesses Arnold Rothstein of New York, millionaire turfman and controlling owner of the Havre de Grace race track; William Burns, former Chicago (American) and Cincinnati (National League) pitcher; Abe Attell, former featherweight boxing champion, and several other well known sportsmen.

“I can’t tell you who was involved. In completely unrelated news, we want to talk to Attell, Burns, and Rothstein for…reasons.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 25, 2020 at 10:09 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Thursday, September 24, 2020

WaPo: If baseball keeps these grotesque expanded playoffs, it will have lost its soul

I suppose it’s a sin to submit one’s own piece to the site, but what’s done is done.

With the three gradual expansions of the playoffs over the past half century, postseason outcomes have become more unpredictable due to the unique nature of the game: Your most critical players (starting pitchers) are only available once in a short series, or may be off their game, or maybe the opposing team is using an elaborate series of buzzers and trash cans to steal their signs. In fact, if history is any guide, the Dodgers will probably lose the NL wild-card series when Clayton Kershaw is abducted by aliens during the seventh-inning stretch of Game 3, because it always happens the way you expect it to.

That’s why the regular season, the 162-game grind, has always been so important: It separates the truly great teams (and, in this wild-card era, the scrappy upstarts and comeback kids, like last year’s Nationals squad), from the mediocrities and pretenders. But not this year! This year, you can bumble your way into the postseason, with the same puncher’s chance as any other team, by playing ball either at or barely above the .500 waterline.

The 16-team format not only threatens to make the meaning of a championship meaningless given the randomness of small-series outcomes, it also destroys the entire rationale of the regular season, which is so long precisely because it was designed to create significant separation, over time, between the best of the league and the rest, ensuring that even the weakest teams that made it to October still had a record of genuine accomplishment.

Esoteric Posted: September 24, 2020 at 05:29 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: aliens abduct clayton kershaw, business, history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-24-2020

Pittsburgh Press, September 24, 1920:

Rube Benton Says Pittsburg Betting Syndicate “Fixed” American Leaguers—Gleason’s Men Threatened

Ban Johnson, president of the American league, will be recalled today, it is expected, to tell the grand jury what he knows about an alleged plot to “blackmail” the Chicago Whitesox into losing the American league pennant this year. George M. Cohan, noted actor, and Mont Tennes, a well-known Chicago gambler, probably will be subpoenaed for questioning regarding reports that between them they lost $110,000 betting on the Whitesox in the 1919 world’s series.
The statement by [Ban] Johnson declares that he has been informed that the “Whitesox will not dare to win the pennant in 1920,” and alleges that the gambling syndicate which is said to have “fixed” certain Sox players in the 1919 series is threatening the players with exposure if they should win the flag this year.

I don’t think I knew about this angle. Certainly casts at least a bit of a shadow on Cleveland’s 1920 World Series title, but if the Reds can celebrate 1919, I’m keeping 1920.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 10:00 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-22-2020

Seattle Star, September 22, 1920:

The chastity of baseball went on trial [in Chicago] today when the Cook county grand jury opened an active investigation of charges of “fixed games.”
Rube Benton, New York Giant pitcher, said to have been offered $750 by a Chicago player to throw a game; Heinie Zimmerman, Lee Magee and Hal Chase, former players, were also expected to be quizzed.
[Charles] Comiskey was expected to explain why bonus checks of eight White Sox players were held up last season and what his investigation of the world’s series scandal in 1919 produced.

Concerned Puppet dot JPEG.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 10:19 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, September 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-21-2020

Pittsburgh Press, September 21, 1920:

John A. Heydler and Ban B. Johnson, presidents of the National and American baseball leagues, are expected [in Chicago] tomorrow to testify before the county grand jury inquiring into alleged baseball gambling. Subpoenas for Rube Benton, New York Giants’ pitcher; Charles A. Comiskey, owner of the Chicago Whitesox; William Gleason, manager of the Sox; William L. Veek [sic], president of the Chicago Cubs, and Chicago baseball writers also were issued. Efforts to have Hal Chase, Heinie Zimmerman and Lee Magee, former players, testify will be made, it was said.

The world’s series of 1919 between the Whitesox and Cincinnati Nationals and the alleged “fixed” game of Aug. 31 between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia will be investigated.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:07 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Friday, September 18, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-18-2020

Pittsburgh Press, September 18, 1920:

Sammy Bohne, recent purchaser [sic] of the Reds, has a lot of nerve. He has tried to steal home seven times this season and made the play on six occasions.

I was unsurprised to learn that Sam Bohne led the National League in caught stealing in 1921.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 18, 2020 at 10:22 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: crazy clown town, dugout, history, steals home

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-17-2020

Montpelier [Idaho] Examiner, September 17, 1920:


Wingo was on first and Brazill at bat. The strike and steal was called for and Wingo went down with the pitch. Brazill failed to strike at the pitch, but after the ball had landed in the catcher’s hands and he had let loose of it on a throw to second, Brazill decided to swing. His bat hit the ball and it rolled foul.

Interference with the catcher’s throw, you say? Well, Umpire Bill Brennan ruled it an accident, according to the story, held that Wingo had stolen second and no penalty on Brazill.

If I were managing the team that was in the field, I would have absolutely lost my mind screaming at the umpire. I’d have been emphatically tossed.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 17, 2020 at 10:16 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: bad calls, dugout, history

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-16-2020

Washburn [Wisconsin] Times, September 16, 1920:

In a recent St. Paul-Toledo game Duke Duncan apparently made a pick-up off Kelly’s bat, after a great sliding dive. Umpire Murray ruled it a fair catch, a double play resulted and Duncan was a hero.

Later in the game Duncan came to bat and claimed he had been hit on the foot by a pitched ball. “That ball hit me,” he howled. “No, it didn’t,” answered Murray.

“How do you know,” shouted Duncan. “You miss ‘em all. You said I caught that fly in the fourth inning; I didn’t; I picked it up off the ground.”

Got eem.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 16, 2020 at 10:12 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-15-2020

New York Sun, September 15, 1920:

Word painter touring the West with the Yankees refers to Detroit as the “picturesque city of straits.” To others the only thing picturesque disclosed by repeated visits to Detroit is the sight of pedestrians, seemingly with little or no rights dodging automobiles as they risk life and a few limbs in timorous attempts to cross the street.
Bancroft, the best shortstop in the game, made an unusual catch. He backed out for McHenry’s tall fly, slipped and sat down while waiting for it, arose and brushed himself off and when the ball arrived from its celestial travels caught it.

Must have been one heck of a pop fly.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 15, 2020 at 10:23 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, September 14, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-14-2020

Memphis News Scimitar, September 14, 1920:

To all pitchers desiring to keep Babe Ruth from leaning on their offerings the following is submitted as sound and safe:

1—Get a job pitching for the Yankees.
2—Failing in this throw the ball over the grand stand.
3—Induce Ruth to join the army or the navy.
4—Get him to go into the movies and quit baseball.
5—Quit baseball yourself.
6—Get you a job driving a garbage wagon.
7—Stay out of baseball entirely.
8—Or get a job in some league where Ruth doesn’t play.

These suggestions seem like they’d be mostly effective.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 14, 2020 at 10:06 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, September 11, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-11-2020

Bolivar County [Mississippi] Democrat, September 11, 1920:

Ketchikan, Alaska makes its business hours conform to the baseball games and the baseball games are made to conform with the tides. This is a peculiar way to run a town, but it is made necessary because the townspeople are rabid fans and the only place suitable for a ball park is on the beach, which is several feet under water at high tide. The town has a 30-foot tide and at high water, which comes twice a day, the entire playing field is submerged…Instead of watching the calendar for the sunset hour the umpire studies the tide table.

Ketchikan? More like catch as catch can, amirite?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 10:36 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-10-2020

Rock Island Argus, September 10, 1920:

All members of the Chicago club of the National league, together with the club officials, have been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury next week as witnesses in the investigation of alleged baseball gambling, it was learned today.

Chief Justice McDonald of the criminal court announced that the first testimony of the witnesses probably would be taken on Monday [September 13]. William L. Veeck, president of the club, is included in the list of officials for whom subpoenas have been issued.

Judge McDonald issues an open invitation to all persons who have any “inside” information about baseball pools to appear before the grand jury and submit their evidence.

It’s happening.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 10, 2020 at 10:17 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-8-2020

Washington Evening Star, September 8, 1920:

Babe Ruth Gets $5,000 For Talk to Phonograph

...yesterday a talking machine concern got hold of [Babe Ruth], coaxed him down town, got him to make a base ball talk to one of their records and for that little favor wrote him out a check for $5,000.

You can hear that record here. There’s some disagreement as to whether it’s actually Ruth speaking. The person who posted the video on YouTube says it’s Russell Hunting speaking, while this person insists it’s Ruth. I don’t have an opinion on the matter.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 08, 2020 at 10:15 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Friday, September 04, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-4-2020

Rock Island Argus, September 4, 1920:

Betting Scandal on Cubs

President William Veeck of the Chicago National League baseball team, began investigation of charges made [in Chicago] today that the Cubs had deliberately lost last Tuesday’s game, which Philadelphia won, 3 to 0, and that professional gamblers “cleaned up” in a batting coup as a result. Mr. Veeck said he had no evidence to either prove or disprove the charges, but would make every effort to sift the matter.
The basis of the charged made in connection with Tuesday’s game is that Detroit, Boston, Cincinnati and Chicago gamblers are said to have placed $50,000 on Philadelphia, forcing the odds on Tuesday’s game from 2 to 1 on the Cubs to 6 to 5 on the Phillies. A few minutes before the game was called, Manager Fred Mitchell ordered Alexander to pitch, although it was not his ordinary turn. Mitchell is quoted as explaining that he sent in his star twirler “because I wanted to win that game badly.”

Yikes. That’s certainly suspicious. Thankfully, Chicago fans still have the White Sox if they want to watch a baseball club that’s unsullied by corruption.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 04, 2020 at 10:17 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, gambling, history

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-3-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, September 3, 1920:

The best weather the English cricketers have experienced since their arrival here greeted the famed Incogniti eleven when they met the Philadelphia Cricket Club team at St. Martin’s, today.
[After taking in a baseball game at Shibe Park] they had a go at handling a big league willow and feeling what it’s like to bust the old apple in more or less American style.
Ed Rommel and Hastings, acting on the invitation of Tom Shibe, served up some baseballs for the cricketers to swing at, and maybe they didn’t swing. Every once in a while they connected to the delighted cries of “well shot, sir,” from their compatriots.
[One of the cricket players on facing Rommel’s pitching:] “The first few were absolutely trifles, you know, but when he began swinging and dipping them I wasted a frightful lot of energy, don’t you know.

I’ve enjoyed watching Manny Ramirez and Francisco Lindor attempt to hit cricket balls. After a quick YouTube search, it looks like there are a few videos of cricketers hitting baseballs, so I guess I know what I’m doing with the next hour or so.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 03, 2020 at 10:33 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cricket, dugout, history

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-2-2020

Grantland Rice via the New York Tribune, September 2, 1920:

A combination football and baseball fan desires to know the name of the greatest football-baseball combination in the major leagues. Jim Thorpe was the leading football star from the majos, but hardly the leading ball player. Christy Mathewson was a star at both games, but his record as a football player was far below his diamond renown. Frank Frisch, of Fordham and the Giants, makes a strong bid for this honor, but it would be hard to go beyond Dave Fultz, a brilliant halfback with Brown and one of the best major league outfielders of his day and time. Fultz came as close to starring in both combinations as any one athlete on the list. He may have had his superior, but we can’t recall it now.

Bo knows the answer. (Tim Tebow does not.)

Immediately below that, Rice says Eddie Cicotte hasn’t been hurt by the shine ball ban, and that the only way to stop him is by amputating his right wrist. Wait a few weeks, Grantland. There’s another way.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 02, 2020 at 10:31 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-1-2020

Seattle Star, September 1, 1920:

Dr. Orlando E. Miller, psychologist, says it isn’t physical skill but the subconscious self which makes Ruth believe that he can slay the horseskin every time he comes to bat.

This wasn’t a great observation, but it was better than whatever advice Dr. Babe Ruth, psychologist, gave Orlando Miller about hitting.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 01, 2020 at 10:22 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, August 31, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-31-2020

Washington Times, August 31, 1920:

Frank Smith, a baseball player, died in a hospital at Uniontown [Pennsylvania] yesterday as a result of an injury received during a riot at a miners’ picnic at Shady Grove, near [Brownsville].

In the ninth inning of the game, which stood 1 to 1, the umpire called a strike on a batter which did not meet with the crowd’s view. A riot followed, in which, it was said, bricks, stones, and baseball bats were used freely by a mob of 200 excited spectators.

Smith, it was said, was hit on the head with a baseball bat. One man is under arrest, charged with striking Smith.

Jeez. Everyone relax. It’s just a game. This is supposed to be fun.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 31, 2020 at 10:10 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, August 28, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-28-2020

Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, August 28, 1920:

Confession of a plot to shoot Charles A. Comiskey, baseball magnate, and the office force and police guard at the White Sox baseball park box office September 16, was made to the police [yesterday] by three boy bandits who were arrested [two days ago] in an attempted robbery of a $40,000 payroll of Wilson & Co., stock yards packers.

According to the police, the three said that they intended to rob the gate receipts of the White Sox-Yankee game September 16 when they figured Babe Ruth would draw a record-breaking attendance. They said they also planned to “shoot the witnesses.” They said they knew that Comiskey was not permitted by his physicians to watch the games and that he was in the box office every afternoon.

Yikes. Sounds like one way or another, September 1920 was always going to be a catastrophe for Charlie Comiskey.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 28, 2020 at 10:15 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: charlie comiskey, dugout, history

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-27-2020

New York Tribune, August 27, 1920:

White Sox Fairly Slaughter Our Boys in ‘Croocial’ Series

Ineffective Pitching Makes Hugmen Resemble Load of Junk; Mogridge Allows Four Tallies in Opening Inning; Collins and McGraw Also Pounded

“Babe” Ruth drove out his forty-fourth home run at the Polo Grounds yesterday, but the rest of the Yanks were crowned with wreaths of wild raspberries. They dropped the first game of the much heralded “croocial” series to the White Sox by the very sour score of 16 to 4, and the few lingering pennant dreams of the Yankee fans fell into the Harlem River with a splash. They now rest in the clam and crab beds beneath the ooze.

This seems a bit hyperbolic, even if it is a wonderful bit of writing. The Yankees were now a half-game behind the second place Indians and four games back of the White Sox.

Ruth had 44 home runs at this point in August 1920. Only four MLB teams hit more than 44 homers the entire season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 27, 2020 at 10:14 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-26-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, August 26, 1920:

Carl Mays soon will be barred from the American League if organized effort on the part of the players of the Johnson circuit continues to grow.

Three clubs, St. Louis, Washington and Cleveland, already have gone on record as refusing to play in any game against the New York pitcher, whose “bean” ball caused the death of Ray Chapman.

Mays pitched against the Browns on August 29 and September 1, 1920. He threw a combined 12.2 scoreless innings in the two games, which I guess you might expect with a talented pitcher facing batters who are afraid and don’t want to be there.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 26, 2020 at 10:24 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-25-2020

Seattle Star, August 25, 1920:


Petite young Mrs. Marie Cunningham, the wife that was, of Left Fielder “Bill” Cunningham, of the Seattle ball club, resumed her maiden name of Thornton today and went home to live with her mother.

Yesterday, in Judge John S. Jurey’s divorce court, she explained that she married Cunningham three years ago under the misapprehension that he was a single man.

She added that while visiting recently in California a friend informed her Cunningham already had one wife and a child besides, living in Colusa, Cal.

You don’t see a lot of Jurey trials in divorce court. Anyway, Cunningham spent four years in the majors as a decent bench outfielder. His most similar player is Al Martin.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 25, 2020 at 10:50 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, August 24, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-24-2020

New York Tribune, August 24, 1920:

Just a week after he threw the ball that resulted in the death of Ray Chapman, Carl Mays came back yesterday and shut out the Detroit Tigers by a score of 10 to 0. When [Mays] started to warm up the crowd gave him a noisy greeting. Again when he first stepped into the pitchers box the applause broke out again [sic].
Before the game started…he declared that his reputation as a “bean ball” pitcher was not deserved. Of the Boston and Detroit clubs Mays said: “Both of those teams have pitchers who have hit more players this season than I have. Bush, of Boston, has hit ten men and Ehmke, of the Tigers, has hit about the same number, while I have hit six.”

Mays almost certainly wasn’t trying to kill or seriously injure Chapman, but it’s a bit disingenuous for him to suggest he didn’t hit a ton of batters. He finished in the top two in the AL for hit batsmen in 1917, 1918, and 1919.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 24, 2020 at 10:07 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, August 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-21-2020

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, August 21, 1920:

No official action against Carl Mays, by whom the ball was thrown that killed Ray Chapman, will be taken by B.B. Johnson of the American league. The case is ended as far as Johnson is concerned.
“It is my honest belief that Mr. Mays never will pitch again…Then I also know the feeling against him to be so bitter among members of other teams that it would be unadvisable for him to attempt to pitch this year at any rate.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 21, 1920:

While Ray Chapman…was being buried [yesterday] in Cleveland, [Carl] Mays was lying in his home [in New York] suffering from a nervous breakdown. This became known [yesterday] morning when an official of the Yankees appeared in traffic court and pleaded guilty for Mays to a charge of speeding last month

Pittsburgh Press, August 21, 1920:

Carl Mays today declared he would pitch today’s game for the Yankees against the Detroit Tigers…He said his illness was nothing worse than a headache, and that he was “feeling fine.”

Judging from the newspapers of August 21, 1920, Carl Mays was simultaneously so distraught he’d never pitch again, confined to his home after suffering from a nervous breakdown, and ready to pitch.

Mays next pitched on August 23, 1920 and threw a complete game shutout.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 21, 2020 at 10:34 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-20-2020

Washington Evening Star, August 20, 1920:

John J. McGraw, manager of the New York Giants, who has been the central figure of two investigations [in New York] within the last two weeks, has gone to Chicago to take charge of his team.

This announcement was made today by his attorney, who said he had informed the district attorney’s office that McGraw would return in forty-eight hours if he was wanted at any time in connection with inquiry as to how John C. Slavin, actor, received a fracture of the skull in front of the McGraw home after a fracas at the Lambs’ club. McGraw also has been questioned by federal prohibition enforcement agents concerning his alleged admission that he purchased liquor at the club.

This kind of got lost for me during the Ray Chapman saga, but it was a really big deal. Slavin nearly died of the injuries he suffered, and while McGraw was never prosecuted for the attack, Slavin said publicly the Giants’ manager attacked him. If John Slavin had died, McGraw may well be remembered as a murderer and not as one the great managers of all time.

Andrew Martin wrote an excellent two-part piece about the McGraw-Slavin incident at Seamheads. Definitely worth a read.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 20, 2020 at 10:41 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, john mcgraw

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