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Friday, January 17, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-17-2020

Chattanooga News, January 17, 1920:

Baseball players in the American association will be permitted next season to argue in a “gentlemanly” manner with umpires when they believe close decisions have been given against them, but the use of profanity will be stamped out, the club owners decided at their adjourned meeting today.

President Hickey said players would be let off with warnings at their first offense, but if they persisted in using objectionable language, heavy fines would be assessed.

“We have decided all ‘rough’ work and profane talk must be stopped,” he said.

“Pardon me, sir, but it is my sincere belief that the most recent pitch crossed the plate below my knees. With all due respect, I would suggest that you have made a mistake and the pitch should have been ruled a ball. Thank you for your time and attention.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 17, 2020 at 10:34 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-16-2020

Toledo News-Bee, January 16, 1920:

RUTH COSTS MORE THAN BREWERS

A baseball franchise in Milwaukee, a city larger than Cincinnati, should be pretty valuable.

But one big league star is worth more than the Milwaukee franchise and players, according to recent developments.

The Yankees paid over $100,000 for Babe Ruth. Clarence Rowland and his partners Monday sold the Milwaukee club of the American Association to a syndicate of Milwaukee men for $100,000.

I wonder what would cost more to buy in 2020: an average AAA team - say, Lehigh Valley or Reno - or Mike Trout.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 16, 2020 at 10:08 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-14-2020

New York Tribune, January 14, 1920:

Where, Prithee, Will Huggins Play ‘The Babe’?

Left Field Is Too Sunny and Right Too Dangerous at Polo Grounds

For two reasons it is scarcely likely that Huggins would care to plant the Babe in left field with New York. Left field [at the Polo Grounds] is a terrific sun field…Besides which, Duffy Lewis, a left fielder extraordinary and sundodger par excellence, is expected back with the Yankee caravan.

Take it from those familiar with the idiosyncracies of the young Mr. Ruth, Huggins will be inviting nothing short of absolute disaster if he places this piece of rare bric-a-brac in right field…New York fans will remember the Sunday last summer when he butted the left field paling so hard as to knock himself unconscious, though he clung to the ball for an out that saved a game.

It is argued that if Ruth plays right, unless the fences are moved back out of home-run range, he is likely soon to exercise the ambulance. In center field Ruth would have all the leeway necessary, but the big fellow is scarcely fleet enough on foot for this most important assignment.

This is a problem that everyone other than the Red Sox would have been happy to deal with in 1920. Also, I’d pay top dollar to go back to 1920 in a time machine and watch the Babe chase a ball to that crazy wall in dead center at the Polo Grounds.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 14, 2020 at 10:56 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 13, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-13-2020

New York Sun, January 13, 1920:

Samuel Breadom [sic], an automobile dealer of [St. Louis], in all probability will be the next president of the St. Louis National League Baseball Club. Branch Rickey announced [yesterday] that he would resign as president [today] when he signs as manager for the coming season. He will recommend that Breadom be chosen president.

Six pennants and four World Series titles say the Rickey-Breadon partnership worked out pretty well, although Rickey got bounced to the front office before things really began to click.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 13, 2020 at 09:59 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, January 10, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-10-2020

Babe Ruth, quoted in the Pittsburgh Press, January 10, 1920:

[Red Sox owner Harry] Frazee is through in Boston and he knows it…Frazee cares nothing for the Boston baseball public and his actions show it.

I have always given the best I had. Frazee tries to alibi by saying that as a star I would be an obstacle to the club winning pennants. I have been with the Redsox six years, and in that time we won three pennants…I have always played for the interests of the [ballclub and Frazee] knows it. Take the Ruth day in Boston for instance, the Knights of Columbus, of which order I am a member turned out in a body to honor me and what did he do? He raised the price of the grandstand seats and held them up. After the game he called me into the office and gave me a nickel cigar for drawing 32,000 people into the park. I even paid for my wife to get in. He talks about shooting square. I guess he did by raising the prices on that day. He is lucky to have anybody in the park at all next year if he owns the ball club.
...
I am refused the privilege of playing in my favorite city all because the man who owns the club is money mad.

Somebody call the cops. Babe Ruth has just murdered Harry Frazee with words.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 10, 2020 at 10:16 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history, terrible owners

Thursday, January 09, 2020

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

Pittsburgh Press, January 9, 1920:

Swede Risberg, star shortstop of the Chicago Whitesox, announced his retirement from the game yesterday. He has gone into the restaurant business [in San Francisco]. Risberg was one of the mainstays of the Sox in the last world’s series.

Risberg wasn’t quite done - he did play in 126 games for the 1920 White Sox - but it was a good idea for him to have a backup plan ready in case his baseball career was about to end abruptly for some reason.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 09, 2020 at 09:58 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-8-2020

Washington Times, January 8, 1920:

Sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees was another strike in the political battle against Ban Johnson, president of the league, according to rumors here.

Harry Frazee’s hold on the Red Sox was being threatened by large notes which were coming due and which, so the story runs, the Johnson faction was trying to secure to force the Hub team into other hands.

The immense sum of money which was involved in the Ruth deal will give Frazee a firm hold on the club stock and foil the efforts of the “faithful five,” his friends say.

You sure showed them, Harry. Brilliant move.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 08, 2020 at 09:46 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-7-2020

Pittsburgh Press, January 7, 1920:

Word that Babe Ruth would don a Yankee uniform next season has been received at the club headquarters from Miller Huggins, who has visited the king slugger in California.

The Yanks, it is understood, will hold Babe to the letter of a $10,000 contract he had with the Boston management and which he had declared a “scrap of paper.” Ruth’s demands for more money were satisfied by bonus arrangement, it is said.

The Yankees were no dummies. Ruth may have played the 1920 season for $10,000 and a bonus, but he was making $52,000 a year by 1922.

That’s not cheap, but it’s Babe F. Ruth. If you want to win, you pay what it costs to keep the man happy.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 07, 2020 at 09:54 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 06, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-6-2020

Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, January 6, 1920:

BABE RUTH IS BOUGHT BY YANKEES FOR $125,000

Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox, baseball’s super-slugger, was purchased by the Yankees [yesterday] for the largest cash sum ever paid for a player. The New York club paid Harry Frazee of Boston $125,000 for the sensational batsman who last season caused such a furor in the national game by batting out 29 home runs in 140 games, a new record in long distance clouting.

Miller Huggins, manager of the New York Americans, [yesterday] announced he had signed Babe Ruth, champion home run hitter, to play with the Yankees next season…He refused to state what salary Ruth was to receive.

President Harry H. Frazee of the Boston Americans said [yesterday] that he had sold Babe Ruth to the New York Americans because he thought it was an “injustice” to keep him with the Red Sox, who “were fast becoming a one-man team.”

Mr. Frazee said that he would use the money obtained from the New York club for the purchase of other players and would try to develop the Red Sox into a winning team.

As you probably know, Frazee did no such thing. The rest of the Sox transactions before the end of the 1920 season: Traded Bill Lamar and (reportedly a small amount of) cash for Tim Hendryx, claimed Jigger Statz on waivers, purchased waiverbait outfielder Gene Bailey from the Braves, claimed Elmer Myers on waivers.

This was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad trade.


Friday, January 03, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-3-2020

New York Sun, January 3, 1920:

If a recommendation of the scoring rules committee of the Baseball Writers Association is adopted by the joint rules committee of the major leagues when it meets in Chicago next month, a batsman will receive credit for a home run whenever he hits the ball out of the lot, no matter whether the clout comes in the first inning or the ninth.

As the rules now stand, if a player hits a ball out of the lot in the ninth inning and the hit sends in enough runs to win the game the batsman receives credit for only as many bases as he can get before the legal ending of the game. For instance, if a man hits the ball over the fence in the ninth inning, the score tied and three runners on the bases, the batsman would be credited with only a single.

I guess I knew the current rule hasn’t always been in place, but it’s wild to me that a walk-off home run was frequently scored as a single as late as 1919.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 03, 2020 at 10:04 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-2-2020

A hot take on Babe Ruth’s holdout in the Memphis News Scimitar, January 2, 1920:

Last season the Red Sox owners not only slipped the star a $5,000 bonus for his brilliant work, but they staged a Ruth day in connection with the Knights of Columbus. Several thousand dollars went to Ruth, bringing his earnings for the year to something like $18,000—or more.
...
Remember this: baseball can do without Ruth, but Ruth can never do without baseball.

Maybe, but Ruth is still the biggest star in the history of baseball - perhaps the biggest star in the history of North American professional sports. If baseball has ever needed anyone, it was Babe Ruth.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 02, 2020 at 09:54 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history, hot sports takes, hot takes

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-31-2019

Perth Amboy Evening News, December 31, 1919:

A number of big baseball trades are expected to follow on the heels of the first one of the year, between the Washington Senators and the Boston Red Sox.

They hadn’t seen anything yet.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 31, 2019 at 09:50 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, December 30, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-30-2019

New York Tribune, December 30, 1919:

Boston Gets Outfielder and Pitcher Ready in Case Babe Ruth Deserts Club

The Red Sox gave Bobby Roth, an outfielder, and Maurice Shannon, second baseman [to Washington], and received in exchange Harry Harper, a pitcher; Eddie Foster, second baseman, and Mike Menosky, an outfielder.
...
Harry Frazee is evidently taking precautionary measures not to be left flat in case Babe Ruth carries out his threat to quit the Red Sox unless the club meets his demands of $20,000 for the season of 1920.
...
The Yankees made an effort to gain title to [Ruth], but were turned down when Miller Huggins proposed a deal to [Ed] Barrow.

I don’t really understand why the Ruth trade was still secret at this point, but it had already been a done deal for four days.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 30, 2019 at 10:03 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history, slow motion trainwrecks

Friday, December 27, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-27-2019

Bridgeport Times, December 27, 1919:

Harry Frazee, the Red Sox president, doesn’t seem to be much perturbed about Babe Ruth’s holdout. Ruth is under control for 1920 and 1921 at a salary of $12,000 a year, but his manager recently has announced on the Coast that Ruth would not report to Boston unless he got a new contract for $20,000 next season.

“Ruth still is under contract to the Red Sox,” said Frazee at his New York office yesterday, “I have not heard a word from Ruth that he is dissatisfied with the contract he signed last spring, and I imagine if Ruth is sorely dissatisfied he would tell me first.”

“But I do not intend to get into a discussion with Ruth. His winter manager is trying to get him as much publicity as he can, and I don’t intend to help him.”

I’ve always known Frazee was a doofus - he wouldn’t have sold Ruth otherwise - but I had no idea he was such a dishonest doofus. The Ruth trade was already a done deal at this point.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 27, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, history, lying liars

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-26-2019

Washington Evening Star, December 26, 1919:

A long-distance telephone conversation with Owner H.H. Frazee of the Red Sox early today brought forth a strong denial that Babe Ruth had been traded to the New York Yankees or that there was a deal on with the New York club for him.
...
[Frazee:] “For Ruth, I would expect at least five star players. I think Babe is worth that many, because he is a great drawing card as well as the champion home-run hitter of the game. However, it now looks as though Babe would remain in Boston, because there are no clubs in the American League that could give me the men I want for him.”

Unless…Let me hit you with this idea, Harry. What if - hear me out on this - what if you trade him for a bunch of money and no star players?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 26, 2019 at 09:59 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, bad ideas, dugout, history, lying liars

Monday, December 23, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-23-2019

Pittsburgh Press, December 23, 1919:

RUTH MAY BE WITH YANKEES

Babe Ruth, “home run king,” aspiring movie actor, and ambitious heavyweight, may run around the pastures in the Polo Grounds next season. A deal is rumored which will bring him to the Yankee fold. Harry Frazee, owner of the Redsox, who is contemplating an argument with the dissatisfied fielder did not deny the possibility. “I’ll sell anything I have for the right price,” he was quoted as saying.

Harry. Stop. Don’t do this. This is a bad idea, Harry. You know the thing people say to Nanette? That.


Friday, December 20, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-20-2019

Pittsburgh Press, December 20, 1919:

“The Redsox players signed for more than one year will have to live up to their contracts,” declares Manager Ed Barrow.
...
“If the club submitted to Ruth every time he balked the morale of the players would be endangered and eventually result in the Sox being a one-man team…I don’t believe that Owner Frazee will have any trouble with the players. Neither Frazee nor I have heard from Ruth regarding the 1920 season, and the stories about him being a holdout may not be true…I would not be surprised, however, if Ruth did ask for more money.”
...
“If Ruth is a man of his word, he will have to play for the figures on his contract, which I think are perfectly fair.”

...to which Frazee replied “Hold my sheet music and watch this.”

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, the Yankees’ lawyer produces a letter allegedly written by Ban Johnson in which the AL President says the “New York club must be driven out of baseball.” The lawyer claimed Johnson was trying to conspire with the Giants to kick the Yankees out of the Polo Grounds and render them homeless.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 20, 2019 at 10:04 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-19-2019

Harrisburg Telegraph, December 19, 1919:

Jim Scott and Jack Fournier are serious in their intention to quit their baseball careers at San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively and engage in the lubricating oil business in Seattle.

They have purchased the rights for the distribution of the product of the Peerless Oil and Refining Company, a Pennsylvania concern, in Washington and Alaska, and have an option on another State, which, if they make the success of their enterprise that they anticipate, will necessitate taking in a partner. That partner, it has been settled on, will be George “Buck” Weaver, third baseman of the Chicago White Sox.
...
These baseball stars may quit the diamond for good, unless arrangements can be made for them to play with the Seattle ball club for the home games of the Rainiers. At any rate, neither will play with the clubs which now has title to their baseball services.

Neither of them made it to Seattle for 1920. Fournier was back in the big leagues doing Jack Fournier things, this time with the Cardinals: He hit .306, on-based .370, put up 50 extra-base hits, and played horrible defense. Despite his threats, Death Valley Jim stayed in San Francisco, throwing 354.1 excellent innings for the Seals.

It’s a shame the oil thing didn’t happen. Buck Weaver was about to need a job.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 19, 2019 at 09:34 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-18-2019

Hugh Fullerton in the New York Evening World, December 18, 1919:

Demands for an entire cleaning up of baseball and a thorough investigation of the scandalous charges made in connection with the recent World’s Series are pouring in.
...
These charges were not made by me; I never said or insinuated that the seven ball players accused by common report are guilty. The thing I have said is that the powers of baseball MUST investigate and either throw out the men or exonerate them completely.
...
All I demand is that these men be either convicted or acquitted. If every man named in these charges is guilty only one in twenty major league players is even suspected—and unless they are cleared or convicted the others will be in the same position as they are, and a great part of the public will believe them all crooked.

A tip of the cap to Hugh Fullerton, one of the few heroes of this story.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 18, 2019 at 09:52 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-17-2019

Hugh Fullerton, published in the New York Evening World, December 17, 1919:

Charles A. Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox and one of the greatest characters baseball ever has produced, a man of undoubted honesty and of the highest type of sportsmanship, has stated in Chicago that, after two months of work by detectives and others, he has been unable to find evidence that there was dishonesty among the players of his team during the recent World’s Series.
...
The fans are entitled to know whether baseball is on the square or not.
...
If organized baseball desires a full, complete and unbiased verdict in the case, let them set aside a sum to pay the expenses of such a hearing, request Judge Landis to hear all witnesses and to return a verdict in the case to the fans of the United States—who will abide by his decision.

The players cannot refuse to appear without practically confessing. The gamblers concerned will appear at his request.
...
Then let Judge Landis ask the following persons to appear before him and tell him their stories:
KARL ZORK, a shirt waist manufacturer and sporting man of St. Louis.
BEN and LOU LEVY of Des Moines, Ia.
A gambler named, or called, Eddie of Boston.
A gambler named Tim, said to be well known in Des Moines.
ABE ATTELL, former lightweight champion boxer.
BILL BURNS, a former left-handed pitcher, who was with the Chicago White Sox and with the Cincinnati Reds.
JOE PESCH, a gambler of St. Louis.
A theatrical man named REDMOND of East St. Louis.

The second half of the column is here. Fullerton goes on to mention Arnold Rothstein as someone who will have knowledge of what happened, and Eddie Collins and Ray Schalk as two players that had absolutely nothing to do with the fix. It sure looks like Fullerton pretty much had the story nailed down at this point, he just didn’t want to start making specific allegations.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 17, 2019 at 09:58 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Friday, December 13, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-13-2019

Memphis News Scimitar, December 13, 1919:

Charles Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox, expressed the belief [two days ago] that unless there was a change in the presidency of the American league and of the chairmanship of the national commission the league might not be in existence beyond next July 4.

“Conditions in the American league are awful, terrible,” was the way he put it. He insisted his faction had done everything possible at the New York meeting to settle the controversy amicably but that President Johnson and his supporters “refused absolutely to come to an understanding.”

This meltdown was over the Carl Mays sale from Boston to New York. Mays had walked away from the Red Sox and refused to play, Johnson suspended him indefinitely, and Boston sold Mays to the Yankees. Johnson said they could sell Mays because he was suspended, the Yankees sued and got an injunction allowing Mays to play, and basically the American League owners and Ban Johnson spent the next few months looking like that meme with a woman yelling at a cat.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 13, 2019 at 09:44 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-12-2019

Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 1919:

Because of the claim of officials of the New York National league club that the New York American league club management flooded the Polo Grounds with passes last year in an effort to give the impression that the Yanks were playing to as many people as the Giants, there is grave doubt whether the Highlanders will find the Polo Grounds available for their use after 1920.

That seems like an extremely petty thing to get mad about, but *shrug*.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 12, 2019 at 09:26 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-11-2019

Pittsburgh Press, December 11, 1919:

Joe McCarthy, veteran second baseman of the Louisville American association baseball club, has been signed to manage the Colonels next year, according to a telegram from Business Manager William Neale, who is in New York. McCarthy is ranked as one of the best players in the association and has been with Louisville five years.

Ho-hum. Just another case of a guy getting a manager job because he’s a good player. There’s no chance McCarthy ever amounts to anything as a manager.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 11, 2019 at 09:39 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-10-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, December 10, 1919:

Honus Wagner last night admitted that he had received an offer to manager the new Akron (O.) club in the International League.

“I do not know whether to accept,” he added.
...
Further than to admit that he had been offered the place as chief chauffeur of the Tire City band, and had not made up his mind, Honus was uncommunicative.

Honus was a wealthy guy who had a comfortable life in his hometown and had a newborn daughter. He wasn’t going to Akron. He was never going to Akron. He didn’t go to Akron.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 10, 2019 at 11:07 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, December 09, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-9-2019

Washington Times, December 9, 1919:

Everett Scott is no longer desirous of being traded by the Red Sox. Some time ago the clever shortstop of the Boston American League club announced that he would not again wear the spangles of the Hub outfit and would demand that he be traded or sold to another club. Lately he underwent a change of mind, the reason for which lay in his purchase of a car.

Last year Scott resided during the summer at Winthrop, which is on the Massachusetts coast and the tiresome trips by rail back and forth between his home and Fenway Park really impelled him to seek a berth elsewhere.

Now, however, he says all objections to playing in Boston have been removed, as he can live at the seashore next summer and travel to and from the ball park in his car.

This is a nice reminder of how different things were in 1919. Winthrop is about eight miles from Fenway and it borders Logan Airport, so it isn’t a long trip by our standards. I commute 14 miles to work and it’s no big deal. Heck, for a while, I was commuting from suburban Cincinnati (Mason) to Columbus every day.

As far as I know, Chargers QB Philip Rivers still commutes from San Diego to Los Angeles every day. But I guess Rivers and I have cars, so maybe Scott was on to something.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 09, 2019 at 10:42 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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