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Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-2-2021

Pittsburgh Press, November 2, 1921:

Amos Rusie, the old star pitcher, now connected with the Giants, says it was not a lively ball that caused the heavy hitting in the major leagues last season. He intimated it was poor pitching.

Ah yes, the two eras of baseball: The good pitching era and the bad pitching era.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 02, 2021 at 08:12 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 02, 2021 at 08:13 AM (#6050663)
A solid Birthday Team today. Not much behind the plate, but otherwise there's talent everywhere.

C: Frank Graves (-2.3 WAR)
1B: Orlando Merced (16.2 WAR)
2B: Orlando Cabrera (21.3 WAR)
3B: Travis Jackson (44.0 WAR)
SS: Yunel Escobar (26.8 WAR)
LF: Willie McGee (34.2 WAR)
CF: Dutch Zwilling (8.5 WAR)
RF: Tom Paciorek (7.5 WAR)

SP: Johnny Vander Meer (25.7 WAR)
SP: Ron Reed (24.9 WAR)
SP: Jesse Flores (14.4 WAR)
SP: Sidney Ponson (11.1 WAR)
SP/Not that one: George Bell (7.5 WAR)
RP: Greg A. Harris (19.9 WAR)

Father of Australian baseball: Norrie Claxton
Fun player: Sam Horn
Fun name: Charlie Sweasy
General Manager: Al Campanis
Manager: Dick Sisler
Not that one: Jose Fernandez
Occasional Primate: Bob Tufts
Pioneer: Melissa Mayeux
   2. The Mighty Quintana Posted: November 02, 2021 at 11:52 AM (#6050696)
Also born today - Burt Lancaster...who played Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams and Jim Thorpe in a titular biopic. Also was an outspoken supporter of Civil Rights, so we can make him a VP of something and have Al Campanis report to him.
   3. salvomania Posted: November 02, 2021 at 11:54 AM (#6050697)
SP: Sidney Ponson (11.1 WAR)

Ponson holds at least one MLB record:

Most career wins (91) for a pitcher with a career ERA above 5.00.

He got a World Series ring (I assume; he was released in July) with the 2006 Cardinals, for whom he pitched unexpectedly well through the first couple months of the season (4-0 in 8 starts, with an unsustainably low 2.93 ERA) before imploding over his final month with the team (0-4 in 25.2 ip, 9.12 era, 2.02 WHIP).

Who's to say how much better/worse he would have been than a different fifth starter over those three months; the Cardinals won the Central with just one more win than the runner-up Astros, and five fewer than the Wild Card Dodgers.
   4. Itchy Row Posted: November 02, 2021 at 12:13 PM (#6050704)
Willie McGee is 63, five years younger than he looked as a rookie.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: November 03, 2021 at 06:17 PM (#6051080)
Reports say Buster Posey will announce his retirement tomorrow. Damn fine final season if true.
   6. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 03, 2021 at 10:03 PM (#6051150)
I had never heard of Jesse Flores. What a fascinating life!

Flores (real first name Jesus) was the first Mexican-born pitcher in MLB history. Born in Jalisco in 1914, Flores was brought to California at age 9 and the whole family worked as migrant fruit pickers.

In 1938, still picking fruit, the 23-year-old Flores attended a Cubs' tryout camp in Wrigley Field of L.A. and was signed to Class D. The next year, he was in the PCL. He appears major league ready by 1941, but the Cubs never gave him a fair chance [one wonders what the still-extant color line had to do with it] and sold him to the A's after the 1942 season.

Flores, pitching through the war, worked over 900 innings for elderly Connie Mack's inept A's teams with a 111 ERA+ but a hard-luck 41-55 record from 1943-47. He returned to the PCL in 1948, perhaps wanting to pitch closer to home; he was still clearly above MLB replacement level.

The 1950 Cleveland Indians gave him a chance and he was effective as a swingman, but opportunities were limited - these were the Feller/Lemon/Wynn/Garcia years - and he went back to the minors for good. After his playing career, Flores worked briefly as a mailman and then "became a scouting legend in Southern California, signing many players for the Twins."

When he died in 1991, Bert Blyleven, his most famous signee, delivered one of the eulogies.

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