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Friday, November 08, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-8-2019

Memphis News Scimitar, November 8, 1919:

It’s all set for the Pirates to win the pennant next season. Those who say so have it all doped out this way: When George “Possum” Whitted was traded from St. Louis to Boston the Braves promptly proceeded to bag a pennant. When “Possum” next was shifted to Philadelphia the Phillies likewise grabbed the gonfalon. Now that he has been presented to Pittsburgh the Pirates are expected to go out and win the championship. How can they help it with the swastika of baseball in their lineup?

Oh. Oh no.

(Yes, I know, the swastika was a symbol of luck that was co-opted by some of the worst human beings who have ever lived. It’s just weird to read an article that describes someone, in a positive way, as the “swastika of baseball”.)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 08, 2019 at 09:51 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 08, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5899659)
Not much in the way of starting pitching on today's Birthday Team. Nick Kingham's 9 wins, 19 starts, and 6.08 career ERA put him solidly in the rotation.

C: Yasmani Grandal (16.1 WAR)
1B: Jose Offerman (17.0 WAR)
2B: Tony Cuccinello (35.3 WAR)
3B: Edgardo Alfonzo (28.8 WAR)
SS: Jeff Blauser (20.9 WAR)
LF: Shane Halter (6.4 WAR)
CF: Wally Westlake (14.8 WAR)
RF: Giancarlo Stanton (39.9 WAR)

SP: John Denny (32.2 WAR)
SP: Bill Hoffer (19.4 WAR)
SP: Gary Lucas (5.0 WAR)
SP: Dave Black (-0.1 WAR)
SP: Nick Kingham (-1.5 WAR)
RP: Bryan Shaw (5.8 WAR)

Manager/backup infielder: Bucky Harris (15.2 WAR)
Broadcaster/backup infielder: Jerry Remy (14.6 WAR)
Defensive replacement: Darwin Barney (9.5 WAR)
Utilityguy: Nick Punto (15.4 WAR)
Fun name: Beauty McGowan
   2. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 08, 2019 at 09:58 AM (#5899661)
Not gonna lie, "Scimitar" is a pretty badass name for a paper.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 08, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5899668)
I wonder if anyone was ever referred to as "the swastika of swat."
   4. Rennie's Tenet Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5899728)
Bucky Harris also died on November 8.
   5. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: November 08, 2019 at 01:23 PM (#5899748)
How can they help it with the swastika of baseball in their lineup?

Rabbit Maranville is not a Nazi

edit: I was mostly looking for a good photo of Maranville wearing the swasti-cap, but, that is an excellent article.
   6. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 08, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5899754)
With the dearth of starting pitching on today's birthday team, I'm pretty sure that an active Japanese pitcher, Chihiro Kaneko, could make the team. Kaneko has a 128-85, 2.97 ERA record in 14 seasons in NPB, all for Orix until he signed for the Fighters as a free agent before this most recent season. He's only made two All-Star teams, but was Pacific League MVP and Sawamura Award winner in 2014 when he went 16-5, 1.98. He's had injury problems since then, having surgery on his elbow after his MVP season, and hasn't put up those kind of numbers since, breaking into double figures in wins only once the last five seasons. He's written a book about off-speed pitches, “Henkyaku Bible (Breaking Ball Bible)” .
   7. Itchy Row Posted: November 08, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5899761)
It's also Henry Rodriguez's birthday. Normally a guy with five straight 20-HR seasons (two of them over 30) would be a birthday team star, but Oh Henry! only ended up with 2.4 WAR. Steve Balboni is the only player with 150+ HR and a lower WAR total than Rodriguez's.
   8. Moeball Posted: November 08, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5899826)
The Maranville swastika article concluded that the photo was from the beginning of the 1914 Miracle Braves season. That year Boston had 3 distinctly different seasons. They started the year 4-18 and immediately dropped into last place, which is just abysmal. Then they suddenly became a .500 team, going 22-22 over the next stretch bringing their overall record to 26-40 as mentioned in the article. They were still in last place and something like 13 games back of the first place Giants. Then, as Paul Harvey would say, came the rest of the story. They suddenly became this monster team that went 68-19 the rest of the season. Didn't even reach .500 until August, I think, and then went on to easily win the pennant by a double digit margin and complete the fairy tale by sweeping the heavily favored defending champion A's in the WS. Hmm...heavily favored team with Eddie Collins getting embarrassed in the Series...coincidence? Did the A's tank? I doubt it, but Connie Mack immediately gutted the team afterwards, which I'm sure raised some eyebrows at the time.

Now - I have been able to confirm that the 4-18 start that season by the Braves was by far the worst ever for a team that wound up winning the championship. Teams that start that badly almost always fail to even make it to the postseason, much less win the title. They probably don't even finish .500.

Here's the thing, though - images of the Miracle Braves were conjured up this year by Washington, which somehow went from a 19-31 team to one that went 74-38 the rest of the season and then managed to continue rolling in the playoffs all the way to the title. Although the Nats didn't start the season nearly as badly as the Miracle Braves, in truth, even Boston had more than 19 wins by the time they reached their 31st loss.

So it begs the question - was Washington's 19-31 record the worst ever through 50 games for a team that went on to become the champs?
   9. Itchy Row Posted: November 08, 2019 at 05:52 PM (#5899849)
So it begs the question - was Washington's 19-31 record the worst ever through 50 games for a team that went on to become the champs?
Looks like it was the worst for a World Series champ and almost the worst for any playoff team. The only playoff teams since 1908 with worse records are the 2005 Astros (lost the World Series) and the 1974 Pirates (lost in the NLCS), who both started 18-32.

Here are the worst first 50 games for WS winners. The 2003 Marlins tied the 1914 Braves with 29 losses in their first 50.

The Marlins and Nats (and the Astros) were all wild card teams, so the Braves still have the record for worst first 50 to finish first and win the Series.

EDIT: The 1914 Braves' first 50 games included a tie, so it messes up the links above. They were 20-29-1 or 20-30 in their first 50 games.
   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 08, 2019 at 06:21 PM (#5899855)
Not gonna lie, "Scimitar" is a pretty badass name for a paper.

"Flags, rags, ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars"

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