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Monday, December 21, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-21-2020

Bridgeport Times, December 21, 1920:

From St. Louis comes word that the Cardinals have put Rogers Hornsby on the market after two or more years of turning down fabulous offers for the player. Hornsby, it is said, can be had today for $150,000 or the equivalent in playing talent.

Time was when the New York Giants would have jumped at the offer. Manager McGraw is said to have offered nearly a quarter of a million dollars for Hornsby at one time last summer.

Hornsby spent another six seasons with the Cardinals, so I imagine he wasn’t on the trading block at this point. The Cardinals were smart to keep him around; Hornsby led the league in batting average, OBP, and slugging every year between 1920-1925, not to mention hitting .400 three times during that span, leading the majors in home runs twice, leading the league in hits four times, leading the majors in hits twice, leading the league in doubles four times, averaging 14 triples per season, and leading the majors in WAR four times.

tl;dr: Rogers Hornsby was good at baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 21, 2020 at 11:28 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 21, 2020 at 11:30 AM (#5995319)
A bunch of power on today's Birthday Team. Between Kong, Khrush, and Josh Gibson, the fans will get plenty of souvenirs.

C: Josh Gibson (0 WAR)
1B: Dave Kingman (17.2 WAR)
2B: Freddy Sanchez (15.9 WAR)
3B: Elliott Maddox (14.9 WAR)
SS: D'Angelo Jimenez (8.1 WAR)
LF: Khris Davis (11.1 WAR)
CF: Andy Van Slyke (41.3 WAR)
RF: Cy Williams (37.2 WAR)

SP: Bob Rush (36.0 WAR)
SP: LaTroy Hawkins (17.8 WAR)
SP: Danny Duffy (17.6 WAR)
SP: Joaquin Andujar (16.1 WAR)
SP: Mike Clevinger (13.2 WAR)
RP: Tom Henke (22.9 WAR)
RP: Dustin Hermanson (11.3 WAR)
RP: Roger McDowell (10.1 WAR)

Fun names: Nino Bongiovanni, Heinie Heltzel, Royce Ring, Asher Wojciechowski
Not that one: Joe Harrington
Not that one: Jack Daniels
Worst pitcher to throw a perfect game?: Philip Humber
   2. salvomania Posted: December 21, 2020 at 12:40 PM (#5995327)
Ed Easley---a catcher who had all of 7 PA in the majors---was born this day.

Here's a link to a pretty funny "video game" featuring him: http://www.savethecloser.com/Easley/
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 21, 2020 at 12:51 PM (#5995329)
That's a heck of a team. No real weaknesses.

Need another "Not that one": John Mayberry. The original would have fit the power theme nicely.
   4. salvomania Posted: December 21, 2020 at 02:14 PM (#5995344)
credit for the "video game" at the link above goes to @RedbirdMenace
   5. EddieA Posted: December 21, 2020 at 03:01 PM (#5995353)
Cy Williams was a home run king as well.

Elliott Maddox finished 8th in MVP voting in 1974, with a 5.4 WAR year.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 21, 2020 at 04:09 PM (#5995366)
Cy Williams was a home run king as well.

Both a dead-ball king and a live-ball one too. Led the NL with 12 in '16, 15 in '20, 41 in '23, and 30 in '27.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: December 21, 2020 at 04:11 PM (#5995367)
And pretty impressive (or maybe "impressive") when you can move Hawkins to the rotation because you've got a crazy deep bullpen already. But really it should be Hermanson in the rotation -- 180 career starts vs LaTroy's 98, Hermanson was a full-time starter for 5 straight seasons with a 108 ERA+ and 10.5 WAR. Looks like he got hurt at age 29 and pitched mostly in relief after that although he had pretty much the same peripherals. But that's nitpicking in the grand scheme of birthday teams. (For completeness, Hawkins spent 2.5 seasons as a full-time starter with a 82 ERA+.)

EDIT: And the "not that one" Mayberry is the "son of that one" which seems not quite right for "not that one" but worth a shout out. Given Jr made it to 1500 PA and positive WAR gives them a reasonably high spot on all-time father-son lists.
   8. AndrewJ Posted: December 21, 2020 at 04:53 PM (#5995380)
That's a heck of a team. No real weaknesses.

An unusually strong pitching staff.

Look up December 20th's Birthday Team, though -- player for player, it might be the most solid one of them all.
   9. salvomania Posted: December 21, 2020 at 05:23 PM (#5995389)
Look up December 20th's Birthday Team, though -- player for player, it might be the most solid one of them all.

I know there are at least a couple with 10-WAR careers at every position, including the pitchers.

The Dec. 20 team has, I guess, Augie Ojeda (career 3.3 WAR) at SS.

The rotation is OK at the top, with James Shields (30.7) and Jose DeLeon (17.5), but its 4th-best starting pitcher is Bill Laskey (5.2), who had one good season with the '80s Giants.

And no reliever born in the 20th century has even as many as 5 career saves, unless you count Paul Moskau, who was primarily a starter (in fact he'd be this team's fifth starter) and who had 5 career saves. The most saves for a primary reliever is 4, by Marc Valdez (-1.0 WAR in 122 relief appearances).

The best thing about the Dec. 20 team is it has a strong 1B (Cecil Cooper), 3B (David Wright), and RF (Oscar Gamble), thereby denying Aubrey Huff a starting position.

Seven of the eight offensive positions do have players with at least 22 WAR, so yes, that does have to be pretty rare.
   10. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 21, 2020 at 08:49 PM (#5995426)
SP: Bob Rush (36.0 WAR)

Bob Rush is arguably the most anonymous pitcher who has made it to #1 in the starting pitcher rankings that I post about intermittently. He had his best years (including reaching #1) with the Cubs, and I had never heard of him before doing the rankings despite being a lifelong Cubs fan and having read multiple books on Cubs history. (The '50s were fairly short on great starting pitchers, but Rush was also genuinely good and was just hidden behind a lousy team.)
   11. salvomania Posted: December 21, 2020 at 08:57 PM (#5995428)
Bob Rush is arguably the most anonymous pitcher who has made it to #1 in the starting pitcher rankings that I post about intermittently.

I'm amazed Rush ever made it to No. 1. He had a few good years, but never more than two in a row. When did he reach No. 1, and how long was he there?
   12. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 21, 2020 at 09:26 PM (#5995429)
I'm amazed Rush ever made it to No. 1. He had a few good years, but never more than two in a row. When did he reach No. 1, and how long was he there?

Nine days in 1955, from 6/26 to 6/30 and again from 9/21 to 9/24. 1955 has the lowest score for a year-end #1 pitcher to date; the spot went to Billy Pierce, who had an excellent year by rate but was also coming off of a comparatively lackluster '54 season and only made 26 starts.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: December 21, 2020 at 09:54 PM (#5995431)
Ahhh, the 1950s when the reigning pitching philosophy seemed to be that the way to deal with low K-rates and increasing power was to walk more guys.

I sorta vaguely recall Rush still being mentioned occasionally in Cub land in the early 70s. Maybe he or another old-timer stopped by the booth or Boudreau or Brickhouse were reminiscing. Doubt I could have told you then anything other than he'd been a Cub. Checking the SABR bio, I see he went to Mesa when he retired so maybe he was just a regular at Cubs spring. Looking at his stats now, his 1950 musta really been something. Just a 113 ERA+ but a league-leading 0.4 HR/9 (in Wrigley), 4.3 WAR, made the AS team ... and went 13-20. I bet he was thrilled.

   14. salvomania Posted: December 21, 2020 at 10:38 PM (#5995436)
I sorta vaguely recall Rush still being mentioned occasionally in Cub land in the early 70s.

Maybe you're conflating Bob Rush with 1970 White Sox radio announcers Bob Elson and Red Rush...
   15. Moeball Posted: December 22, 2020 at 01:49 AM (#5995448)
Hornsby's level of dominance in the 1920s was even more complete than Ruth's. From 1920-1929 he led the NL in runs, hits, doubles, triples, homers, RBIs, walks, total bases, batting average, on base % and slugging. Can't think of another player who led his league in so many different major categories for an entire decade. That's dominance.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 22, 2020 at 09:57 AM (#5995468)
Hornsby's level of dominance in the 1920s was even more complete than Ruth's. From 1920-1929 he led the NL in runs, hits, doubles, triples, homers, RBIs, walks, total bases, batting average, on base % and slugging. Can't think of another player who led his league in so many different major categories for an entire decade. That's dominance.

Yes and no. Hornsby led more separate categories, but Ruth was far more dominant where he led. Hornsby led in HR a couple of times, Ruth out-homered every team in the league a couple of times.
   17. AndrewJ Posted: December 22, 2020 at 10:02 AM (#5995471)
How much of Hornsby's National League dominance was due to his greatness, and how much of it was due to most of the top MLB stars of the 1920s being in the American League?
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 22, 2020 at 10:09 AM (#5995477)
How much of Hornsby's National League dominance was due to his greatness, and how much of it was due to most of the top MLB stars of the 1920s being in the American League?

Good point. The top-10 AL WAA leaderboard is Ruth, Heilmann, Speaker, Gehrig, Cobb, Collins, Ken Williams, Goslin, Sewell, Simmons. NL is Hornsby, Frisch, Bancroft, Waner, Fournier, Cuyler, Wilson, Bottomley, Wheat. The 9th place AL guy would be 3rd in the NL.

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