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Monday, January 04, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-4-2021

Pittsburgh Press, January 4, 1921:

[Babe] Ruth took on some weight during his trip to Cuba. He accumulated quite a girth, in fact, and he wants to remove it though he says he is not worried about the weight he has picked up.

“I don’t believe in being at my lowest weight when the season starts,” said Ruth. “A few extra pounds gives a fellow a reserve that guards against staleness later on in the season.”

You don’t see a lot of “worst shape of his life” stories as Spring Training approaches.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 04, 2021 at 11:31 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 04, 2021 at 11:32 AM (#5997329)
Today's Birthday Team is sneaky-good. Ted Lilly is the team's career leader in WAR with 27.1, but January 4 has six good position players and a bunch of decent pitching. Barring injury, you'd think Kris Bryant will pass Lilly in the next year or so.

C: Herman Franks (-0.2 WAR)
1B: Joe Mack (-0.3 WAR)
2B: Tommy Corcoran (20.4 WAR)
3B: Ossie Vitt (15.3 WAR)
SS: Al Bridwell (19.2 WAR)
LF: Kris Bryant (24.3 WAR)
CF: Kevin Pillar (16.3 WAR)
RF: George Selkirk (23.3 WAR)

SP: Ted Lilly (27.1 WAR)
SP: Raisel Iglesias (8.5 WAR)
SP/PH: Michael Lorenzen (5.9 WAR)
SP: 1950s Tom Gorman (5.1 WAR)
SP: Jay Tibbs (4.8 WAR)
RP: Don McMahon (22.5 WAR)

Manager: Charlie Manuel
Owner: Charles Gelatt
Researcher: Ernest Lanigan
Broadcaster, Monsieur Baseball: Rodger Brulotte
Sad story: Kevin Wickander
Fun names: Blondy Ryan, Corky Valentine, Izzy Leon, Klondike Smith
   2. salvomania Posted: January 04, 2021 at 12:50 PM (#5997345)
Herman Franks managed for 7 seasons in the big leagues; here are his managerial wins by year:
1965: 95
1966: 93
1967: 91
1968: 88
1977: 81
1978: 79
1979: 78

To be fair, he managed only 155 games in '79; from his biography at

The ’78 Cubs managed only 79 wins and when the ’79 Cubs, falling out of contention after the All-Star break, were shut out by the Pirates on September 23, Fan Appreciation Day, Franks resigned. Quitting during the season rarely goes well, but Franks’ resignation was particularly ignominious. He apparently told a reporter he was fed up, said some of his players were crazy, and showed the reporter a check he had written for $24,000 to join a Salt Lake City Country Club for 1980. “You don’t think for a moment that I would shell out $24,000 and then come back here and manage. Next year, I’ll be at the country club every day, that’s where I’ll be.” After it was reported, Franks tried to take it all back, then he resigned the same day.
   3. salvomania Posted: January 04, 2021 at 12:55 PM (#5997347)
Another SP on today's birthday team could be Walter Silva, who pitched briefly for the Padres in 2009 but who is still active in the Mexican League, where he has 158 wins.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: January 04, 2021 at 02:46 PM (#5997370)
You don’t see a lot of “worst shape of his life” stories as Spring Training approaches.

Here's hoping Kris Bryant arrives in such bad shape this year.
   5. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 04, 2021 at 03:17 PM (#5997378)
Franks had accumulated quite a fortune as a businessman while he was managing and there was sometimes the feeling that he really didn't "need" baseball and was losing interest in it
   6. Moeball Posted: January 04, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#5997417)
Working on cleaning out garage. Found a lot of old stuff that was my dad's BITD. Old Sporting News Baseball Guides and Baseball Registers. Once upon a time they were THE source for baseball stats in the pre-computer age. Now? I have no idea if anyone collects these antiques or if I should just toss them. Anyone have any idea if there are collectors of such items?
   7. salvomania Posted: January 04, 2021 at 06:38 PM (#5997420)
Now? I have no idea if anyone collects these antiques or if I should just toss them.

I have a similar situation. I have many old Sporting News baseball registers, yearbooks, record books, etc.

I also have a ton of "curated" Sport Illustrateds from when I had subscription (late '80s through early 2000s) as well as random issues from earlier years; I kept anything with a cover (or inside content) relating to something I deemed "historic" as well as pre-season previews of the major sports, and things I followed, like the Cardinals or Illini basketball or the Bears (that's what being from St. Louis but spending later years in Illinois will do to you). So a lot of great Jordan covers, etc.

I imagine all those things are near worthless, which is fine with me, as I kept them all because I like them, not for what they might be worth someday. Same thing goes for all the bits of ephemera I've saved, from 45-year-old sports sections to almost every ballpark scorecard I filled in (including one with penciling around a Tom Seaver autograph splayed across the Cardinals' side after I got to the park as soon as it opened one day, spent my last quarter on the scorecard and then noticed Seaver, in a practically empty ballpark, chatting with someone at the box seat railing).

I always hoped I'd have a son (or a daughter) some day who might be into that stuff, and I was blessed later than most with a son, who's now three, so we'll see.
   8. AndrewJ Posted: January 04, 2021 at 07:43 PM (#5997424)
2021 gets off to a sad start... Vin Scully's wife, Sandra, has died of ALS.
   9. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: January 04, 2021 at 08:27 PM (#5997436)
If they were worried about Babe Ruth being in the worst shape of his life in 1921, well, just hold on to your hat for a while.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: January 04, 2021 at 11:55 PM (#5997468)
Andy's a bookseller and sells lots of baseball stuff. I haven't noticed Andy around here lately though, I hope things are fine. But sure there's a "market" for used guides and registers. Whether something that's been sitting in the garage for a few decades is worth anything might be a slightly different question though. A quick peek at ebay suggests a decent condition 1979 SN guide sells for $5-10. Older usually better, probably affected by who's on the cover, etc. Doesn't seem worth the hassle to me to sell on your own, see if you can find a trustworthy local dealer and have them make you an offer.

   11. base ball chick Posted: January 05, 2021 at 12:50 AM (#5997475)
you can find andy on the off site primer politics place
   12. Ron J Posted: January 05, 2021 at 01:22 AM (#5997482)
Andy's also at least lurking in the Covid thread and in the Schilling threads. He makes occasional appearances.
   13. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: January 05, 2021 at 09:05 AM (#5997495)
I pinged him in Discord land. With luck, he will show soon and answer all your questions.
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 05, 2021 at 10:00 AM (#5997505)
Okay, I just saw this thread, and here's what I can tell you about the value of old guides. I haven't sold any myself since I closed my shop at the end of 2006, but since I've got a complete run of 20th and 21st century guides I've tried to keep up with the market.

1. Without covers they're worthless, until you get back to the early 1900's. So everything below refers only to copies with both covers intact.

2. On ebay you should be able to get Spink (Sporting News) guides for $5 - $15 back through the early 60's, and for about $10 - $30 from 1943 to about 1962. The 1942 guide is the most expensive, and doesn't show up all that much. I used to get $75 - $100 for it, but now you can probably get it for more like $40 - $60 if you can find it. It was the first year that TSN published the guide, and it had a relatively small print run.

3. Spalding (1876 - 1939), Reach (1883 - 1939), and the combined Spalding/Reach (1940-41) guides get more valuable as they get older, particularly before 1922. Nice copies of those earlier years can reach 3 figures, and nice copies of 19th century guides are sometimes worth up to $300 or more, depending on the date. From the 30's they go for maybe $20 - $40.

But again, without both covers, their value goes way, way down.

4. The most valuable 20th century guide I know of is the "Spanish-American" variant of the Spalding guide that was issued from about 1908 to 1912, though I'm not sure of the exact date range. I've got the 1908 edition, and what makes it a collector's item beyond the normal Spalding guide is the great number of photos is has of Cuban and other Latin American teams, which unlike OB in the States, had lots of Black players. It also had writeups of the MLB teams' barnstorming tours in the Caribbean that the standard issue guides ignored.
   15. AndrewJ Posted: January 05, 2021 at 06:38 PM (#5997611)
The day before I left for college in 1986, I remember going to a garage sale and buying eight Sporting News Guides (from 1946-54, covers on maybe four of them) for a quarter apiece. They're long gone now.
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 05, 2021 at 09:34 PM (#5997624)
The guides are great as time capsules of a single year, with all the minor league averages included. But the best thing by far about the early Reach and Spalding guides is that they can contain up to many hundreds of team photos that you can't find anywhere else, including teams from the minors, industrial leagues, town teams, college teams, African American teams, and even one from a Washington State insane asylum.

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