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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-30-2020

New York Tribune, December 30, 1920:

Samuel Breadon, president of the St. Louis National League Club, gave New York its prize laugh of the season yesterday afternoon…To an offer of $200,000 and four players for Rogers Hornsby, the heavy hitting infielder of the Cardinals, Breadon flashed [the Giants front office] this laconic wire in reply.

“If you will throw in Frisch for good measure I shall be pleased to call Manager Branch Rickey’s attention to your offer.”

Rogers Hornsby was really, really, really good. Unless you’re dealing with Harry Frazee, you just don’t get players like that without giving up a ton.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 11:07 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 11:09 AM (#5996594)
You know that season (1972) when Steve Carlton led the league in wins on a 59-win Phillies team? That's the best-case scenario for Sandy Koufax and the rest of today's Birthday Team.

C: A.J. Pierzynski (23.8 WAR)
1B: Frank Torre (3.9 WAR)
2B: Milt Graff (0.3 WAR)
3B: Jim Viox (9.6 WAR)
SS: Ed Caskin (4.2 WAR)
LF: Jose Morales (0.1 WAR)
CF: Santiago Perez (-0.5 WAR)
RF: Dick Porter (7.6 WAR)

SP: Sandy Koufax (48.9 WAR)
SP: Tom Murphy (8.5 WAR)
SP: Tyler Anderson (6.4 WAR)
SP: Ray Prim (4.0 WAR)
SP: Clarence Currie (0.8 WAR)
RP: Grant Balfour (9.2 WAR)

Umpires: Tim Timmons, Chad Fairchild
Quad-A OBP Machine: Ralph Milliard (0.0 WAR)
   2. Gch Posted: December 30, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5996628)
“If you will throw in Frisch for good measure I shall be pleased to call Manager Branch Rickey’s attention to your offer.”


I like the idea that six years later, somebody at the Giants wanted to trade for Hornsby. They went down to the Polo Grounds archives and found a copy of this telegram filed under 'H' in the Polo Grounds archives and went "By Jove, that's how we can trade for Hornsby!" Also I know this is said frequently, but my goodness Hornsby's trade record is something to look at. Puts up a 10 win season and wins the MVP in St Louis, gets traded to New York after the next season. Puts up a 10 win season in New York, immediately gets traded to Boston. Has a 9 win season in Boston, immediately gets traded that offseason to Chicago. Has a ten win season in Chicago, and the shock of a team actually wanting him to stick around was so great that he never again was an effective regular.

Don't have a place for this, but something astounding I noticed on baseball-reference this morning: they added a stat called championship win probability added for the regular season and playoffs. I was looking at Babe Ruth's numbers and

1) He contributed more cWPA in the World Series as a pitcher in 3 starts/2 World Series (49.4%) than he did as a batter in 167 PA/10 World Series (43.3%)
and
2) Subsequently, he contributed more cWPA as a member of the Red Sox (49.1%) than as a Yankee (43.6%)

I was aware of Ruth's great WS pitching performances, but I still wouldn't have expected that.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 30, 2020 at 01:48 PM (#5996635)
RF: Dick Porter (7.6 WAR)
Worst job on the adult film set?
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: December 30, 2020 at 02:05 PM (#5996637)
If you will throw in Frisch for good measure I shall be pleased to call Manager Branch Rickey’s attention to your offer.”

I like the idea that six years later, somebody at the Giants wanted to trade for Hornsby. They went down to the Polo Grounds archives and found a copy of this telegram filed under 'H' in the Polo Grounds archives and went "By Jove, that's how we can trade for Hornsby!"
Ha! That's awesome.

But the Cardinals' retort is a little confusing for me. At first I thought it was implying that Frisch was valuable. But after 1920, was he really that highly thought of? He'd started a season's worth of games for the Giants, but probably wasn't yet a star. Or was the joke that he was mediocre and the Cardinals are saying "Maybe if you offer 5 scrubs instead of just 4 scrubs, we will send you our superstar." ?
   5. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 30, 2020 at 02:35 PM (#5996647)
But the Cardinals' retort is a little confusing for me. At first I thought it was implying that Frisch was valuable. But after 1920, was he really that highly thought of? He'd started a season's worth of games for the Giants, but probably wasn't yet a star. Or was the joke that he was mediocre and the Cardinals are saying "Maybe if you offer 5 scrubs instead of just 4 scrubs, we will send you our superstar." ?


Frisch was a big star in college (and an All-American football player) and went directly to the majors when signed, skipping the minors. I don't know for certain, but I'd think that even if he wasn't yet a star at the end of the 1920 season, it was generally thought he'd be a future star.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: December 30, 2020 at 02:55 PM (#5996653)
Thanks. It makes sense, now. And the very next year, he was certainly a star, and started every single game batting 3rd for the World Series champs.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 30, 2020 at 03:06 PM (#5996656)
Plus, he must have been a great clubhouse mentor - like 80 percent of his teammates turned into Hall of Famers!
   8. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 04:57 PM (#5996694)
Huh ... in his first season in StL, Frisch is credited with 9.3 WAR ... thanks to +37 Rfield. Apparently a 1-man infield. :-)

Anyway, after the trade that finally happened, Frisch put up 33 WAR, 17 WAA, all for the Cards. Hornsby had 4 big seasons left (over the next 5) and put up 35 WAR, 27 WAA then hung on for many years as a PH. If they'd made the trade after 1920, it would have been 68 WAR, 40 WAA for Frisch vs. 90/70 for Hornsby so those other 4 players (and $200 K) better be worth something.

Do we have any idea who those 4 players might have been? The Giants did have some other good (but not Frisch-level) young players at the time -- High Pockets, 25 (22/10 before decline); Ross Youngs, 24, coming off a 6-WAR year and 17/9 before kidney disease got to him; Earl Smith, 25-yo C who must be one of the greatest backup Cs in history (11 WAR, 5.5 WAA, never more than 370 PA in a season); Curt Walker, 24 OF, took a few years to get going but added 22 WAR, 4 WAA.

A package of Youngs and Frisch would have looked very tempting in the 1920-21 offseason, especially if you've already decided Hornsby is a pain in the butt. I doubt Youngs was even one of the 4 offered (without Frisch) but a package of him, Kelly and a couple of other promising young guys (and $200,000) wouldn't have looked like the worst deal in history in real time. (Trout for Acuna and Swanson? Jimenez and Robert? Soto and Turner?)
   9. The Honorable Ardo Posted: December 30, 2020 at 10:32 PM (#5996827)
Wow, this is a bad team. Only six players with more than 1,000 PA? Tyler Anderson as the #2 starter?
   10. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: January 01, 2021 at 05:12 PM (#5997017)
my goodness Hornsby's trade record is something to look at


There's a reason why Hornsby's autobiography was titled, "My War With Baseball".

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