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Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-4-2021

Toledo News-Bee, May 4, 1921:

Tommy Conway, juvenile catcher of the Reds, has eaten his way out of the National League. He drew his unconditional release on Friday, and Astyanax Douglas, a college catcher with a smaller appetite, succeeds him.

Conway, a few days ago, ate a meal costing $7.70 while the Reds were on a tour and the club had to pay. Exit Mr. Conway.

The Cincinnati Enquirer implied a few weeks earlier that Douglass was going to replace Conway, so I guess if your career is at its end, you might as well get a big meal out of it.

For what it’s worth, I can’t find Tom Conway on BB-Ref, although I confess I haven’t done a ton of digging through the list of minor leaguers named Conway.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 04, 2021 at 01:24 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 04, 2021 at 01:26 PM (#6016862)
Today's Birthday Team has a horrible pitching staff that will be made worse by second baseman Piano Legs Hickman, a hilariously awful defensive player who once committed 86 errors in a season as a third baseman. They might be better off with Matt Tolbert at second full-time, but either way it's a bad team with a bad second baseman.

C: Eddie Perez (1.8 WAR)
1B: Vic Saier (15.2 WAR)
2B/SP: Charlie Hickman (24.7 WAR)
SS: Miguel Cairo (7.7 WAR)
3B: Ken Oberkfell (22.4 WAR)
LF: Ben Grieve (8.4 WAR)
CF: Jason Michaels (5.6 WAR)
RF: Jack Tobin (20.5 WAR)

SP: Kevin Slowey (4.4 WAR)
SP: Sam LeCure (2.6 WAR)
SP: John Tsitouris (1.1 WAR)
SP: Howie Koplitz (0.7 WAR)
RP: Joe Borowski (3.6 WAR)

Manager: Rene Lachemann
Umpires: Tim Tschida, John Tumpane, Fred Spenn
2B when Hickman pitches: Matt Tolbert (0.8 WAR)
Quarterback/Bench outfielder: Rick Leach (3.0 WAR)
Fun names: John Malarkey, Harl Maggert, Flip Lafferty, Zip Collins, Ox Miller, Robinson Cancel
Not that one: Ted Turner
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2021 at 01:35 PM (#6016863)
Conway, a few days ago, ate a meal costing $7.70 while the Reds were on a tour and the club had to pay.
That’s $115.23 in today’s less worthy dollars, which does exceed the daily MLB meal money, which peaked at $100.50 a few years back before it was reduced in exchange for the teams assuming the cost of clubhouse food.
   3. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 04, 2021 at 01:42 PM (#6016865)
Conway could possibly be this guy?
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 04, 2021 at 01:54 PM (#6016869)
That $7.70 in 1921 would be worth about $114 today. Detectives suspect alcohol was involved.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 04, 2021 at 01:55 PM (#6016870)
   6. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: May 04, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6016872)
minor league opening day - very exciting for a handful of us.

this has been covered elsewhere but the pandemic was exceptionally ill-timed for some in minor league baseball who were in the middle of a heated dispute with mlb over the future of their enterprise. after a year of no games/revenue (but not no costs) and with the loss of some political clout for the minor league franchises as their local politicians had other fish to fry, we now see:
- the administrative offices of the minors are effectively no more, having been folded into the majors
- short season (nyp/nwl) and rookie league baseball (appy/pio) is no more, with the same number (essentially) of teams as before in full season and complex ball (glc/azl).
- lots of teams moved classifications and levels, with low-a and full-a essentially swapping places. swaths of teams from the defunct level the ny-penn and northwest leagues were in are now high-A ball, in exchange for some cities that lost affiliations.
- most of the now defunct teams live on, in new or existing independent leagues, or in leagues that will play amateur players (think like the cape cod or northwoods leagues). mlb wants a chunk of that somewhat lucrative (unpaid you say? we're listening...) market too.
- the league names for full season ball are (temporarily?) gone, replaced by anodyne creations like aaa-east, low-a west, and so on. presumably, this is in advance of new corporate sponsored names (like how the nba's minor league is named after gatorade.) vestiges of the old names are still strewn about, though, which is mid-update (and is still missing things like functional transactions pages).
- expect more formal experimentation in these leagues - like bigger bases, different pickoff rules, robo umps, and so on.
   7. salvomania Posted: May 04, 2021 at 02:10 PM (#6016877)
3B: Ken Oberkfell (22.4 WAR)

I still remember when this guy broke in for the Cardinals, as a September callup in 1977, and his name was abbreviated as "Obkfll" in the box scores (my family had moved to Chicago by then, so I didn't have access to the "local" papers that would have explained who this was).

A neighbor kid baseball/Cubs fan and I joked about the new Cardinals player whose name we pronounced "Obkufull," but by 1978 we knew who he was---a second baaeman who couldn't hit, going just .120/.170/.140 as a spare infielder after sticking on the roster for good in July.

Over the next five years, though, Oberkfell would prove to be a remarkably steady presence, at second as well as at third, while never hitting for any power but doing everything else pretty well. From 1979-83 he averaged 3.2 bWAR per year---never below 2.9, never more than 3.5---while hitting .296---never below .289, never more than .305---with a cumulative .368 OBP.

He was the starting 3B on a World Series Champion team (1982 Cardinals) but his career high in homers was 5, with the Braves.

He got off to a great start in 1984, hitting .309/.379/.395 through 50 games when he was traded to the Braves for lefty reliever Ken Dayley, who would be a mainstay of the Cardinals bullpen for the '85 and '87 pennant winners.

He bounced around towards the end of his 16-year career, playing for four teams over his final five years, but was a nice complementary piece on the pennant-winning Giants of 1989, batting .319/.367/.431 in 183 plate appearances, including .360/.407/.480 over 56 pinch-hitting appearances. In the World Series that year, he reached base 5 times in 9 plate appearances as the Giants were swept by the A's.

He walked more than struck out every season except for that 1977 cup of coffee (3 Ks, 0 walks) and in 1990 with the Astros (17/15).

He never made an All Star team, never got an MVP vote, but he ended up doing pretty well for a guy named Obkfll.
   8. Rennie's Tenet Posted: May 04, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6016882)
it's a bad team with a bad second baseman

Charlie eventually went into politics, did three terms as mayor of Morgantown, WV.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6016883)
-expect more formal experimentation in these leagues
It doesn’t seem to be included in the ‘experiment’ discussions, but the Minor Leagues are playing 6-game series this season, presumably to save some money on travel costs and marginally reduce the resulting contacts during what may be the last phase of the Covid crisis. Might be interesting if a beanball brouhaha breaks out in Game 1. Plenty of time for it to grow & fester.
   10. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: May 04, 2021 at 02:50 PM (#6016896)
meant to mention that - thanks!
   11. crict Posted: May 04, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6016936)
Conway could possibly be this guy?

Yep, that's the guy. See his TSN contract card.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: May 04, 2021 at 05:43 PM (#6016945)
Meanwhile ASTYANAX gets no love?

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