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Monday, June 20, 2011

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-20-2011

Milwaukee Sentinel, June 20, 1911:

The presence of dark skinned ball players on the Cincinnati club is causing a lot of speculation in baseball circles.  The purchased players assert they are not of “mixed blood,” like over 78 per cent of the Cubans playing the national game.

Why do I get the feeling the Sentinel just made up that statistic?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 20, 2011 at 08:22 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 20, 2011 at 08:48 AM (#3857575)
So, were they maroons, or were they ultra-maroons?
   2. jwb Posted: June 20, 2011 at 10:56 AM (#3857582)
B-Ref sez there were two Cubans active in 1911, and those would be them.
   3. Tiboreau Posted: June 20, 2011 at 11:09 AM (#3857586)
Thought I'd give this a try: Pacific Coast Leaguers with 150 OPS+ (or better) seasons during the Sporting News era (1939 - '57), 1 a day from bottom to top. Just that season's stats & a short blurb about the player in hopes of sparking a little discussion about obscure baseball history. Oh, and the OPS+ numbers should be taken with a large grain of salt--it's more about the player & that season. So, 1st off, at the bottom of the list of great PCL batting seasons of the Sporting News era . . . *drum roll* . . .

1948 OAK 164 672 578 181 27  1 43 339 115 155 91 47  3 .313 .407 .587  150 

One of Casey Stengel's Nine Old Men, Nick Etten was the cornerstone of an Oakland Oak lineup that led the team to a pennant in a tight race in '48. A WWII star for the New York Yankees, Etten was well-known for his defensive skills, or lack thereof. According to his BR Bullpen article, which I recommend, Etten was one of three 1B whose defense was rated an "F" by Bill James. (Can you guess the other two?) And when asked about some ground balls hit near him that he left to the 2B Etten replied, "Son, they pay Ol' Nick to hit. You can't hit, so you catch all those balls, and I'll knock in the runs for both of us."

So, that's Nick Etten. Any other thoughts on the 1940s 1B? Depending on my computer, I'll give this a shot this week, and if there's interest I'll continue to the end of the list. Who knows, might rejuvenate my interest in baseball history (haven't looked at this type of stuff in nearly a year . . . ).
   4. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM (#3857590)
I love this sort of stuff, Tiboreau.
Etten was one of three 1B whose defense was rated an "F" by Bill James. (Can you guess the other two?)
Dick Stuart and...uh...Dave Kingman?

Looking at his MLB numbers, his BB/K ratio jumps out at me. Etten had back-to-back major league seasons with a walk total of 90+ and a strikeout total less than 30. Also, I find it interesting that his years as an effective big league hitter match WWII: 1941-1945. Obviously the talent pool hadn't thinned out yet in 1941, but it's still worth noting.

As for his defense, I'll trust the overflowing piles of evidence that he didn't play any defense, but it is pretty interesting that in his six years as a starting first baseman, he was in the top four in the league in assists three times. To lazy to run over to the bag himself maybe?
   5. Tiboreau Posted: June 20, 2011 at 11:46 AM (#3857592)
Dr. Strangeglove? Yes. Kong? 'Fraid not. Think of a more recent slugger. . . .

Yeah, his BB totals were what first jumped out at me. Concerning the timing of his MLB success, I wonder if the diminished player pool had something to do with it--it's easier to get playing time with atrocious defense when most your competitors are off to war. Speaking of, I wonder why Etten didn't do the same. Didn't see anything mentioned in his Bullpen bio (although I only glanced at it, having read it awhile ago).

Good question concerning Etten's D. The lazy hypothesis sounds good; however, I'd hate to speak with misplaced authority on the subject. Curious if anyone else could nail it down more firmly?
   6. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM (#3857597)
To lazy to run over to the bag himself maybe?

I'm a Grammar Nazi and I'm extremely embarrassed to have done that. Dang.

Anyway, it appears Etten spent the first few years of the war classified 3-A, meaning he was deferred due to hardship to dependents. He was reclassified 1-A in April 1945, just in time for the war to end. The second link mentions that he wasn't 1-A until 1945 because he was "employed in a critical industry". (2-A, perhaps?)
   7. Tiboreau Posted: June 20, 2011 at 12:03 PM (#3857601)
Ah, I see. Thanks, Dan!
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 20, 2011 at 12:17 PM (#3857607)
I am very disappointed in Yovani Gallardo. He made an error in the first inning yesterday dropping a throw from Prince. Subsequently he threw fastballs down the middle to the next several hitters before rediscovering that thing called a curveball but not nearly in time as the Sox put up 6 runs on their way to a 12-3 pounding.

Gallardo is a young man but has been a major leaguer for several years. That type of nonsense is not acceptable. And he admitted after the game the error got him rattled.

I am already concerned about the Brewers manager refusal to address the third base problem along his insistence on pitching Kamron Loe nonstop. I doubt he will do anything about his starting pitcher acting like a Little Leaguer.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM (#3857610)

Dr. Strangeglove? Yes. Kong? 'Fraid not. Think of a more recent slugger. . . .

Billy Butler?
   10. jwb Posted: June 20, 2011 at 01:02 PM (#3857627)
Pete Incaviglia? Kevin Reimer?
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 20, 2011 at 01:06 PM (#3857629)
I believe Bill was unduly harsh on Frank Thomas of the Sox.
   12. jwb Posted: June 20, 2011 at 01:14 PM (#3857633)
Nick Etten played on that 1948 Oakland Oaks team with a very young Billy Martin and a very old Ernie Lombardi. Interesting. Please continue, Tiboreau.
   13. Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: June 20, 2011 at 01:16 PM (#3857634)
   14. jwb Posted: June 20, 2011 at 01:19 PM (#3857635)
Pete Incaviglia? Kevin Reimer?
Sorry. Misread the question. 1B only need apply.
   15. Dag Nabbit: Sockless Psychopath Posted: June 20, 2011 at 03:03 PM (#3857711)
In the back of teh Win Shares book, where about 300 guys w/ the most innings per position are given their overall Fielding Win SHares stats, Frank Thomas averaged fewer FWS/inning than any other first baseman. As it happens, the worst third baseman by that measure was also named Frank Thomas.

Elsewhere, new article up at THT: Derek Jeter and the delayed milestone, which looks at other people in baseball history who had to wait until they made some big milestone. I didn't find anyone else who had to go on the DL this close to the Big Round Number, but others had to wait for various reasons - or several reasons in the case of Early Wynn.

And as long as I'm self-promoting, at THT Live: How Old is Jack McKeon? Let's Look. Some fun nuggets about the new 80-year-old skipper. I'm amazed someone older than Sparky Anderson will be filling out lineup cards. One item I didn't realize until after I submitted the article: there have been three 30-game winners in his lifetime.
   16. Barnaby Jones Posted: June 20, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3857721)
I'm very happy that if you type 'Burger King' into BR's search box, Ray King pops up.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: June 20, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3857724)
"Son, they pay Ol' Nick to hit. You can't hit, so you catch all those balls, and I'll knock in the runs for both of us."

That's great. I've always loved your PCL stuff Tiboreau, so I eagerly await this series. Thanks.
   18. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 20, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#3857789)
I love the PCL stuff, too. I've always wished I could go back in time and see the PCL at its 1930s-40s apex.
   19. Tiboreau Posted: June 20, 2011 at 08:13 PM (#3857988)
I believe Bill was unduly harsh on Frank Thomas of the Sox.

Yeah, as Chris Jaffe points out, Frank Thomas is the correct answer.
   20. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 20, 2011 at 08:24 PM (#3857995)
This doesn't have anything to do with anything, but I just found this Flickr stream concerning Kent Hadley, a first baseman who played in the 1950s and 1960s. The stream has about 100 pictures, most with extensive captions, that document his career from a child, to USC, to signing with the Tigers and being traded to the Athletics, playing with the Stengel Yankees, and becoming a star in Japan. A lot of the photos and documents are obviously from very close sources - family photos, contracts, letters of release, etc. It's pretty fascinating, and some of the documents are great. Ever wonder what a letter from the 1960 Yankees refusing your contract demands looked like? "For your information, this organization has been very successful, and in your case we do not feel that you are entitled to the amount of salary you are requesting." It's easy to see why players of the time hated dealing with the Yankees management...

Kent Hadley
   21. Bob Evans Posted: June 20, 2011 at 09:31 PM (#3858026)
Neat link, vortex.
   22. Tiboreau Posted: June 20, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#3858062)
The Kent Hadley flickr is a great time capsule find, vortex!

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