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Monday, November 18, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-18-2019

Washington Times, November 18, 1919:

Here’s a story of an incident during the home training season of the St. Louis Cardinals last spring. It seems that Branch Rickey became enraged one day at a player who perpetrated a bone play and proceeded to express himself as vigorously as ever he does, for Branch never resorts to profanity.

“Jumping Jehosaphat!” he cried in his vexation. “That sort of stuff isn’t baseball and by Judas Priest I won’t have it on my ball club!”

In the grandstand sat an old-time fan, a leather necked, hard headed old guy who had ideas of his own concerning the manner in which blundering ball players should be addressed.

“‘Jumping Jehosaphat!’ ‘By Judas Priest!’” he muttered, mimicking the Cardinal leader. Then his feelings got the better of him and he blurted out so that all the world might hear: “Ain’t that a helluva way for a big league manager to cuss?”

Branch Rickey never seemed to have much of a problem with being himself.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:11 AM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: branch rickey, dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:16 AM (#5901937)
A good Birthday Team today, apart from that middle infield defense. Sheffield could maybe, possibly, battle shortstop to something vaguely resembling a draw. Hemond played quite a bit of second base and played it reasonably well, but was the second-best C/2B of the 1990s.

If you wanted to, you could move Sheff to right, bench Henderson, and play Mauch at shortstop. At the very least, this would happen frequently as a mid-game defensive improvement.

C: Deacon McGuire (24.7 WAR)
1B: David Ortiz (55.3 WAR)
2B: Scott Hemond (1.3 WAR)
3B: Bill Shipke (2.0 WAR)
SS: Gary Sheffield (60.5 WAR)
LF: Roy Sievers (25.6 WAR)
CF: Les Mann (13.7 WAR)
RF: Steve Henderson (11.5 WAR)

SP: Jamie Moyer (49.8 WAR)
SP: Jack Coombs (27.4 WAR)
SP: C.J. Wilson (17.3 WAR)
SP: Dutch Ulrich (8.1 WAR)
SP: Jameson Taillon (7.9 WAR)
RP: Tom Gordon (34.9 WAR)

Manager: Gene Mauch
Umpire: Mark Johnson
Fun names: Charlie Fuchs, Kermit Wahl, Rip Vowinkel, Sterling Slaughter, Ray Shook
Can be sung instead of "Hey, Macarena": Hey, Spike Merena
Not as good a player as his son: Clay Bellinger
   2. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:23 AM (#5901940)
Finally finished with the 1930s in the starting pitcher rankings, so it's trivia-esque question time.

Pitchers who spent time at #1 in the '30s, ranked by days at #1 (from day before Opening Day to last day of the World Series):

788.
436.
223.
125.
89.
68.
38.
6.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:31 AM (#5901944)
The first one has got to be Lefty Grove.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5901946)
How far has Dante Bichette's stock fallen when he can't even get a shoutout in the "Also Receiving Votes" section of his Birthday Team?
   5. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:35 AM (#5901950)
Yeah, maybe should have included Bichette. I can't believe how low his career WAR total is - he's the fifth-best (by WAR) OF available if you include Sheffield. He's not all that far ahead of Mike Felder in sixth place.

Bad defense + park effects + Sillyball era, I guess.
   6. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5901952)
788. Lefty Grove
436.
223.
125.
89.
68.
38.
6.

Grove has the longest streak at #1 that I've recorded so far, taking the top spot on 7/25/30 and holding it until 7/2/33. He also reached #1 at some point in nine different seasons, seven of which came in the '30s. And that's with his weirdly disastrous 1934 dragging him down for a couple of years.
   7. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5901954)
Hubbell is probably #2
   8. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5901956)
Bad defense + park effects + Sillyball era, I guess.

He also didn't walk much at all - 34 per 162 games in his career. He had more doubles in his career than walks drawn - which would actually be kind of an interesting list of players in general, I expect.
   9. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5901957)
Bob Feller? Did he make it to the summit by the end of 1939?
   10. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5901958)
Mel Harder?
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:43 AM (#5901960)
788. Lefty Grove
436. Carl Hubbell
223.
125.
89.
68.
38.
6.

Hubbell is the guy who finally dropped Grove out of the top spot after almost three years; on 7/2/33, he threw an 18-inning, 6-hit, 0-BB, 12-K shutout at the Cardinals to finally take the top spot.
   12. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5901961)
He had more doubles in his career than walks drawn - which would actually be kind of an interesting list of players in general, I expect.

a partial list (min 300 lifetime doubles) includes Hal Chase, Alex Gonzales, George Burns, AJ Pierzynski, Ducky Medwick, Garrett Andersen

I don't see a trend in there
   13. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5901962)
788. Lefty Grove
436. Carl Hubbell
223.
125.
89.
68.
38. Bob Feller
6.

Feller did indeed make it by the end of '39, and I don't feel like I'm spoiling too much by saying that he will also be a factor in the next decade of this list.

Harder got SO CLOSE in early 1936 - he opened the season at #2, and the #1 pitcher at the time got shelled on Opening Day, but Harder didn't do quite enough with his first start to close the gap. (Someone else did it a few days later, and that person is the only non-Hall of Famer on the list.)
   14. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5901964)
Lefty Gomez
Red Ruffing
   15. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:46 AM (#5901965)
Wes Ferrell
Dizzy Dean
   16. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:47 AM (#5901968)
Bucky Walters

Those 1939 Reds under Bill McKechnie sure were good.
   17. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5901972)
788. Lefty Grove
436. Carl Hubbell
223. Dizzy Dean
125. Lefty Gomez
89. Red Ruffing
68.
38. Bob Feller
6.

I feel like this more or less captures why Dizzy Dean is in the Hall of Fame, despite his short career - he was legitimately the best (or very close to the best) pitcher in baseball for a few years. (His first day at #1 was the day he threw a shutout in Game 7 of the 1934 World Series, which is kind of great.)

Gomez reached #1 in five different seasons, but in the first three ('34, '35, '37), he spent a total of only 15 days in the top spot. He finally got an extended stretch at the top in '38 and '39.

Ferrell had a very good run, but peaked at #3.
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5901973)
Bucky Walters

Those 1939 Reds under Bill McKechnie sure were good.


Walters peaked at #2 in the '30s; his starting position in '39 was a little too low for him to grab the top spot.
   19. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5901975)
Paul Derringer then? Probably not - but may as well guess it.
   20. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5901977)
Paul Derringer then? Probably not - but may as well guess it.

Peaked at #4 for the decade, which he reached in both '38 and '39.

The remaining pitchers are: a thematic counterpart to Feller, in that he also belongs primarily to another decade (the '20s, in this case), and someone who's pretty similar to the most obscure pitcher who reached #1 in the '20s, in that he was a good pitcher for an under-discussed two-time pennant winner. (Even if you remember the pennant-winning team in question, he's probably not the first pitcher who comes to mind for them.)
   21. Qufini Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:03 AM (#5901979)
Charlie Root or Freddie Fitzsimmons
   22. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5901980)
Root peaked at #3, Fitzsimmons at #4.
   23. Qufini Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5901981)
Tommy Bridges?
   24. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5901982)
Only 3 guys from the November 15 team would make it onto this team, Trevor Story, Gus Bell and Pat Ragan. What a difference a weekend makes.
   25. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5901983)
Tommy Bridges?

Right team, more obscure pitcher who happened to have better timing. Bridges peaked at #3, but spent parts of five different seasons in the top 5, and in fact leads the decade in days spent in the top 10 among pitchers who never reached #1.
   26. salvomania Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5901985)
Is Dazzy Vance in there at all, or was he more of a 1920s guy?
   27. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5901989)
788. Lefty Grove
436. Carl Hubbell
223. Dizzy Dean
125. Lefty Gomez
89. Red Ruffing
68. Dazzy Vance
38. Bob Feller
6.

Vance was definitely more of a '20s guy, but started the 1930 season at #1 and was the pitcher who Grove passed to begin his not-quite-three year run at the top. (It wasn't just held-over performance from the '20s, either; he was still #2 at the end of 1930, and #4 at the end of '31.)
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:25 AM (#5901992)
Eldon Auker?
   29. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:31 AM (#5901995)
Eldon Auker?

Good pull from the '30s Tigers, but Auker peaked at #7.
   30. mathesond Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5901997)
Johnny Van der Meer? For at least 1 week?
   31. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5902000)
Johnny Van der Meer? For at least 1 week?

Heh. Not a bad thought, but the rankings take a slightly longer-term view generally. Vander Meer peaked at #24 for the decade.
   32. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5902002)
General Crowder
   33. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:45 AM (#5902004)
General Crowder

Reached #3 in three separate seasons but never went higher; like quite a few of the other pitchers who've been guessed, he got stuck behind Grove and Hubbell during his peak.
   34. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5902008)
Schoolboy Rowe?
   35. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5902009)
To expand on Vander Meer a bit more, '38 was the first season in which he had a regular position in the rotation, and he started the year unranked; it is very hard to get close to the top in one year. After his start on 5/24, he was ranked #84. He then went on a run of six starts in which he went 6-0, completed all of the games (including one 10-inning game), allowed 17 hits and 4 runs in 55 innings, and, of course, threw back-to-back no-hitters. That run ended on 6/19, at which point he had climbed from #84 to #37 in less than a month.
   36. salvomania Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5902012)
Tommy Bridges?
Right team, more obscure pitcher


I just cheated and looked at a mid-1930s roster, and it's definitely a name fans know but may not come to mind immediately (if it's the guy I think it is).
   37. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5902016)
788. Lefty Grove
436. Carl Hubbell
223. Dizzy Dean
125. Lefty Gomez
89. Red Ruffing
68. Dazzy Vance
38. Bob Feller
6. Schoolboy Rowe

Rowe was terrific in '34 and '35, winning a combined 43 games over the two seasons and leading the AL in K/BB ratio in both years. He also pitched well in two World Series starts in '35, and entered the 1936 season at #4, trailing Dean, Harder, and Grove. Dean had a respectable 17-point lead entering the year... and gave up almost all of it on Opening Day, allowing 14 hits, 9 runs, and 4 homers in 6 innings, for a park-adjusted Game Score 2 of 0.7. Rowe, pitching the same day, threw a 4-hit shutout and moved up to #3, just behind Harder and Dean. Five days later, on 4/19, he threw a 5-hit shutout to grab the top spot, which he held until Grove passed him on 4/25. Rowe then (a) didn't start again until May 2, and (b) gave up six runs while getting chased early in each of his next two starts, at which point he had dropped to #7. He never had 30 starts or 200 innings again after '36, but he still pitched all right between injuries.
   38. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5902018)
I think Schoolboy Rowe is less obscure than Tommy Bridges. He has a more memorable name, for one.
   39. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 18, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5902034)
That's why I guessed Eldon Auker first. Schoolboy Rowe isn't very obscure to me.

Eric doesn't include this in his rankings, but Rowe was a really good hitter, too. Over the course of 1934 and 1935, when he was ascending the pitching charts, he also hit .307/.360/.454, good for a 111 OPS+.
   40. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 18, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5902093)
“‘Jumping Jehosaphat!’ ‘By Judas Priest!’”


One of their best non-LP b-sides, although the original single can be hard to find these days.
   41. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 18, 2019 at 05:13 PM (#5902141)
When Sheffield made his Triple Crown run in 1992, I recall he mostly played third base. It would probably be his best defensive "home" on this Birthday Team.
   42. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: November 18, 2019 at 05:49 PM (#5902161)
What are these starting pitcher rankings based on?
   43. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 18, 2019 at 06:01 PM (#5902162)
What are these starting pitcher rankings based on?

I've written about them a bit in the past but it's been a while. They're loosely based on Bill James's pitcher rankings, in that they have the same concept, but I've tweaked quite a few things about them (for starters, they use Tom Tango's modification of Game Score rather than the original version, and the environmental adjustments are changed to be... not terrible). But the base concept of a rolling weighted average of Game Score is still the same.
   44. KJOK Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:58 PM (#5902216)
Max Manning, Red Moore and Verdell Mathis were 3 pretty good Negro League players born on this day.

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