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Monday, January 20, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-20-2020

Bridgeport Times, January 20, 1920:

Youth will arrive with a rush in professional baseball during the next two years. As the old stars sputter out, the new ones burst into being to carry on the spirit of the game.

Frank Frisch, of the Giants, and Waite Hoyt, of the Red Sox, both local fledglings, blaze the way for the incoming host of youthful headliners.
...
Not since Rogers Hornsby bloomed amid the Texas cactus and mellowed into stardom with the Cardinals has the National League welcomed such an exceptional young player as Frank Frisch…His advent at the Polo Grounds—he didn’t report till college closed—was the brightest feature of a disappointing campaign for the Giants. Frisch’s record is a story that needs no retelling now. It was the shining chapter of Gotham’s season.

For Hoyt we also predict a brilliant future. One of the greatest mysteries baseball knows today is how this young pitcher—a final five star complete edition of a star—ever escaped John McGraw, who dug him out of a Flatbush mine four years ago.

At this point Hoyt was 20 years old and had (count ‘em!) four career wins. Frisch was a career .226/.242/.295 hitter. As you know, both of them ended up in the Hall of Fame.

That’s an impressive bit of foresight from this writer.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:15 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:17 AM (#5917519)
If you like scrappy middle infielders who put up 20.9 career WAR, you'll love today's Birthday Team.

C: Geovany Soto (12.2 WAR)
1B: Everett Mills (4.4 WAR)
2B: David Eckstein (20.9 WAR)
3B: Ernie Courtney (5.3 WAR)
SS/Manager: Ozzie Guillen (20.9 WAR)
LF: Gene Stephens (4.5 WAR)
CF: Marvin Benard (8.6 WAR)
RF: Brian Giles (51.1 WAR)

SP: Camilo Pascual (40.8 WAR)
SP: Joe Dobson (26.1 WAR)
SP: Dave Boswell (12.6 WAR)
SP: Big Bill James (4.9 WAR)
SP: Al Gould (1.9 WAR)
RP: Matt Albers (2.5 WAR)

Commissioner: William Eckert
Team President: Bill Veeck Sr.
Team executive in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame: Akihiro Ikuhara
Fun name: Jimmy Outlaw
One-year wonder: Kevin Maas
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:30 AM (#5917523)
SP: Camilo Pascual (40.8 WAR)

still the best curveball I ever saw--a perfect 12-to-6. When the CF cameras started to be used in the early 60s, his pitch looked like it was rolling along a table and then fell off the edge
   3. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:38 AM (#5917528)
Anagram of the day: Geovany Soto -> Snoot Voyage
   4. SandyRiver Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:43 AM (#5917531)
still the best curveball I ever saw--a perfect 12-to-6. When the CF cameras started to be used in the early 60s, his pitch looked like it was rolling along a table and then fell off the edge

I've never seen one better. He also surrendered what was certainly the shortest of Roger Maris' 61, a humpbacked liner that hit the pole in RF, just a couple feet above the low wall. 2nd MLB game I ever attended.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:45 AM (#5917532)
Anagram of the day: Geovany Soto -> Snoot Voyage
Joe Dobson - Doob Jones
   6. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 20, 2020 at 11:52 AM (#5917554)
Been working through the '40s in my starting pitcher rankings (currently on '48, hoping to have the decade finished by next week), and the obvious topic when considering that decade is the war. Two specific inquiries have come to mind in particular.

First, we know that a lot of the MLB players who went into the military spent the war playing for military baseball teams. Does anyone know if any records were kept of these teams - either statistical or anecdotal?

Second, the war obviously had a giant impact on the MLB careers of every player during that period - either they went into the military and missed time, or they didn't go into the military and benefited from significantly weakened competition. People tend to focus on how that affects the careers of the superstars - how many homers Ted Williams lost, etc. But I'm wondering how many (if any) pitchers are likely to have missed out on the Hall of Fame due to the war. (Guys like Feller and Lyons and Ruffing were obviously affected, but they're all in the Hall anyway.) Tommy Bridges comes to mind; he almost certainly gets to 200 wins if he has full seasons in '44 and '45, and maybe extends his career longer on top of that. Outside of that, there aren't a ton of options - but maybe Johnny Sain? His actual career numbers aren't great (29.3 WAR), but he was really, really good in the first three years after the war ended, and if he had a couple more seasons like that he could be a reasonable analog to Dizzy Dean, albeit a less notorious version.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:04 PM (#5917556)
His advent at the Polo Grounds—he didn’t report till college closed—was the brightest feature of a disappointing campaign for the Giants.
I’ll say. He turned all his teammates into Hall of Famers.
   8. eric Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:09 PM (#5917559)
One-year wonder: Kevin Maas


Today, in "things that make you feel old": Kevin Maas is 55. His big year was...30 years ago.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: January 20, 2020 at 02:59 PM (#5917594)
#6: No idea. Spahn debuted just before leaving but that's just another guy who would have added to a HoF career. I often half-joke that going to war saved Feller's arm -- over 1200 innings from ages 19-22, he might well have been on the way to a career-ending injury. As is, he didn't top 250 innings after age 29.

Feller had over 1400 innings through 22, 200 more than any other 20th c pitcher, 400 more than the "modern" leader Blyleven. He'd have been around 2500 by 25, 500 more than W Johnson and Mathewson and Blyleven. Of course he might have lasted as long as those guys too but he was really off the charts on usage at such a young age.

I have noticed over the years that WW2 is a clear break for catchers, which makes lots of sense. There were 17 players with at least 200 games caught between 1940 and 1942. Four didn't play after the war, 7 had fewer than 500 PAs.(Ferrell, Dickey, Lopez and Lombardi in this group.) Clyde McCullough went to war at 26, came back at 29 and lasted until he was 39. Birdie Tebbetts went off at 29, came back at 33, lasted until 39, even making a couple of AS teams. Bob Swift is the third guy over 1000 PAs and he didn't go to war. Of course we could probably take any 3-year period and look at where they were 4 years after that and find 1/3 of the Cs not in the game and another bunch were essentially done. It also happened to mark a shift in catcher usage/durability such that good post-war Cs last about 300-500 more games than the pre-war guys.
   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 20, 2020 at 05:02 PM (#5917645)
WW2 also saw the ultimate in catcher durability - Frankie Hayes, who went two consecutive seasons not missing a game as a catcher. He caught all 155 of the Athletics games in 1944, and then caught 151 games in 1945. He was traded in mid-season to the Indians in 1945, which is why he "only" caught 151 games, but he played in all the games for which he was eligible. He caught 312 consecutive games between October 2, 1943, and April 21, 1946. He played his final MLB game on May 17, 1947 at age 32, a year and a month after the streak ended. Hayes had gone to the Athletics at age 18, and never played a game in the minors.
   11. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: January 20, 2020 at 05:58 PM (#5917657)
Felix Hernandez to ATL on a minor league deal.
—-
I was also impressed by the foresight shown in the lead-in.
   12. crict Posted: January 20, 2020 at 08:12 PM (#5917688)
I followed the link of the day, and there was also a story about Ed Walsh managing Bridgeport of the Eastern League. Walsh pitched in a few games that year, his last as a pro, and that was his only serious attempt at managing. On that team were twins Roy (SS) and Ray Grimes (1B), who both made the majors. Their brother Kenneth (OF), who did not reach the majors, played with them in Bridgeport. Ray hit .364 that year, and Roy .374, while poor Kenneth only hit for .253.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: January 20, 2020 at 10:46 PM (#5917701)
That’s an impressive bit of foresight from this writer.

Reminds me of my belief about the young Jamie Moyer ... and 8-10 years later I was right! :-)

No need to revisit anything I might have said about Ray Fontenot.

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