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Friday, June 29, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-29-2018

Washington Times, June 29, 1918:

Babe Ruth, the ponderous pitcher-gardener with the Boston Red Sox, is likely to shatter the American League’s home run record this season. All that is necessary is that Ed Barrow keep the Baltimorean in the lineup. Babe will see to the rest of it.

If there is one thing Babe Ruth loves, it is the sound of the leather going off his own bat, headed for walls that are far away. And, so much is he in love with this sound that he mauls and pummels the pill most wickedly.
The Boston slugger hammered out his tenth home run at Georgia avenue yesterday in his forty-first game of the season…He is a big fellow, standing 6 feet 2 inches and weighing 192 pounds when in condition.

Or when he didn’t put the other foot on the scale.

Ruth only hit one more home run in 1918, ending the season tied for the league lead with Tillie Walker. The home run records were coming, they just hadn’t arrived yet.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:03 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5702100)
Speaking of Babe Ruth being a mindblowingly incredible baseball player, it's Harry Frazee's birthday! Today's Birthday Team:

C/Manager: Wilbert Robinson (13.89 WAR)
1B: Pedro Guerrero (34.45 WAR)
2B: Heinie Reitz (12.78 WAR)
3B: Burgess Whitehead (5.87 WAR)
SS: Bobby Morgan (9.66 WAR)
LF: Harmon Killebrew (60.39 WAR)
CF: Larry Stahl (2.32 WAR)
RF: Bobby Veach (47.75 WAR)

SP: Dizzy Trout (50.62 WAR)
SP: Rick Honeycutt (21.8 WAR)
SP: Ed Seward (20.22 WAR)
SP: Bob Shaw (18.47 WAR)
SP: Patsy Flaherty (5.45 WAR)
RP: Grady Adkins (2.41 WAR)

Broadcaster: Craig Sager
Fun names: Farmer Steelman, Nippy Jones, She Donahue
Owner: Harry Frazee
Turned a .404 BABIP in 106 rookie at-bats into an 11-year MLB career: John Wehner (-1.84 WAR)
Umpire: Cal Drummond
Utilitydudes: Yolmer Sanchez (5.72 WAR), Joe Inglett (4.87 WAR)
   2. Itchy Row Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:14 AM (#5702103)
Pretty good team as long as Frazee doesn't sell them all to yesterday.
   3. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5702109)
I feel like I've mentioned this before, but I had forgotten it: Pedro Guerrero played 108 games in CF and 12 more at 2B.

If there were any justice in this world, we would have gotten to see a double play turned by Kevin Mitchell at short and Pedro at second, over to Mike Piazza at first. The comedy possibilities are endless.
   4. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5702116)
Off the top of my head, the worst possible defensive lineup of my lifetime, using players at positions they actually played more than a handful of times:

C: Michael Barrett
1B: Mike Piazza
2B: Gregg Jefferies
3B: Gary Sheffield
SS: Kevin Mitchell
LF: Lonnie Smith
CF: Pedro Guerrero
RF: Dave Kingman

Respectful nods to Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Bobby Bonilla, Greg Luzinski, and Ryan Raburn.
   5. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5702130)
LF: Lonnie Smith
CF: Pedro Guerrero
RF: Dave Kingman

I'm not sure Skates belongs with the other 2--as Bill James pointed out, Lonnie often looked a bit clumsy and silly, but it seldom actually had a negative effect. Bref has him at -2.3 dWAR spread over 1600-odd games
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 29, 2018 at 10:58 AM (#5702135)
Are you not including players who got the yips?
   7. BDC Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5702137)
Kevin Reimer in left field, for my money.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5702140)
Kevin Reimer weeps.

Edit: Dammit BDC.
   9. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5702142)
Kevin Reimer in left field, for my money.

you guys are way too young to remember, but Tito Francona (Terry's dad) and Daddy Wags were probably the 2 worst LFers in MLB history
   10. Sweatpants Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5702145)
If Kevin Mitchell's 25 games at short qualify him for the list, then I think that Todd Hundley (34 games in LF) beats out Smith and Reimer. How do you field under .900 as an outfielder in the 1990s?
   11. JJ1986 Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5702151)
He's not Hundley bad, but the Mets put Lucas Duda in the outfield for 234 games and he had a DRS of -38. Split about evenly between left and right.
   12. BDC Posted: June 29, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5702159)
Meanwhile, speaking of guys who've played left field for the Rangers, they have run some terrible players out there this season. It is unfair to pick on a guy like Renato Nunez, but he can apparently neither hit nor field at a major-league level yet, and he started three games in LF for Texas this year (to be fair, Nunez was better there than at 3B, where he couldn't catch the ball at all). Currently the TEX outfield includes Ryan Rua, batting .167, and Carlos Tocci, batting .071. Joey Gallo, having an off-year at the plate and not much of an outfielder anyway, has gotten most of the starts in LF.

But Willie Calhoun, now batting .280, stays at Round Rock, I would say because the front office is so stubborn that they are keeping him down to "work on his defense" and "develop" that they have tripled and quadrupled down on keeping obviously inferior players on the ML roster no matter what. This is a shame.
   13. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 12:30 PM (#5702222)
Are you not including players who got the yips?
I thought about it, but Knoblauch was a pretty good defensive player for quite a while and Sax was at least cromulent until he forgot how to throw.

Dale Murphy and Mackey Sasser might be better options than Barrett at catcher - both got the yips very early in their careers.
   14. Itchy Row Posted: June 29, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5702224)
The White Sox once finished a game with Ron Kittle in center with two guys who pinch hit or DHed a lot more than they played in the field (Jerry Hairston and Harold Baines) in left and right. They lost that game on an error- by Julio Cruz, a good defensive second baseman.

The Sox had already clinched the division and that was before Baines heroically donated his knees to science, but there should have been laws about putting Ron Kittle in center.
   15. Mike Webber Posted: June 29, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5702233)
Was Kevin Mitchell worse than Howard Johnson at SS? And HoJo played there a lot. 273 games, 198 starts .951 fld% vs. .966 Lg fld%. 4.37 Range factor vs 4.64 league Range Factor.
   16. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5702240)
You Rangers fans who have mentioned the truly execrable Kevin Reimer must have repressed the memories of the horror unleashed on the baseball world by Bobby Valentine:

Incaviglia, CF

And this wasn't just an emergency thing.... 37 games and 20 starts over 1989-90.

As far as Rangers playing out of position, left fielder Julio Franco and catcher Mike Lamb have to be mentioned.

Franco was yet more of Bobby Valentine's nonsense. Take a guy coming off a knee injury who has never played a game in the outfield in his professional career, and go easy on his knees by putting him in the outfield. Good thing there's no running involved. He actually played a complete game with zero chances although game logs indicate a double and triple were fielded by him. Thankfully, this experiment only lasted a week before mercifully pulling the plug.

Jerry Narron had much less tolerance for that kind of goofiness, giving Mike Lamb only 7 innings in 2002 to show what it would look like if a random guy was picked out of the stands to catch. In those 7 innings he allowed 3 "wild pitches," a passed ball, and base runners were 3-for-3 stealing against him. But the stats lie. Lamb wasn't that good of a catcher.
   17. KJOK Posted: June 29, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5702263)
For my money, Cliff Johnson has to be the catcher on this team.

Edit: And maybe he wasn't quite bad enough overall, but for a more recent guy - Wilin Rosario, 42 passed balls over 3 seasons - certainly LOOKED awful defensively.
   18. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5702268)
Here's mine

C: Ramon Castro
1B: Mike Piazza
2B: Gregg Jefferies
3B: Dave Kingman
SS: Kevin Mitchell
LF: Todd Hundley
CF: Howard Johnson
RF: Lucas Duda

*Backup LF: Daniel Murphy, for good measure.

I've been to a lot of Mets games...

   19. CheersUnusualPlays Posted: June 29, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5702279)
How quickly we forget SS Hojo and LF Greg Luzinski
   20. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 29, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5702293)
Gratioutiously copied and pasted from this article:

Saturday marks the 59th anniversary of the Vic Delmore game. You probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so allow me to explain in narrative fashion. This was mostly pieced together from the archives of the Chicago Tribune, the book "Take Me Out to the Cubs Game," by John C. Skipper, and a New York Times obituary. Details vary according to account, so what I've got here is my best interpretation of how it played out.

It's June 30, 1959. The Cardinals are playing the Cubs at Wrigley Field, back in the days when there were no lights, so it's a Tuesday afternoon. It's the top of the fourth, with St. Louis up 2-1, bases empty and one out. Up to the plate steps Stan Musial, facing Chicago's Bob Anderson. Musial, well, you've probably heard of him.

Behind the plate is a man named Vic Delmore, who umpired in the National League from 1956-59 and, apparently, had a salty relationship with Reds manager Birdie Tebbetts. In a published obituary, Delmore is quoted as once saying, "Umpires, like ballplayers, have bad days, too. Sometimes, if you make a wrong decision, you feel badly about it -- worse than anybody else." These comments will come to take on an ominous portent.

With the count 3-1, Musial checks his swing on an Anderson pitch well off the inside corner of the strike zone. The ball evades Cubs catcher Sammy Taylor, rattles around the backstop and ends up near Chicago public-address announcer Pat Pieper, who, by most accounts, has the ball tossed to him by the Cubs' bat boy. Some accounts say Pieper picked up the ball, but he said after the game that he never touched it. However it happens, the ball ends up near Pieper.

Pieper is a fascinating story in his own right. He first worked for the Cubs as a vendor in 1904 at the West Side Grounds. He followed them to Wrigley Field in 1916, when he took over the P.A. job, which he then held for 58 years, all the way until 1974. Wrigley Field regulars will know the voice; it's the old-timey recording the Cubs play just before the introduction of starting lineups, uttering the words "Attention! Attention, please! Have your pencils and scorecards ready, and I will give you the correct lineups for today's game." In those days, Pieper performed those duties from a bench near the Cubs' dugout.

Anyway, believing Musial contacted the pitch and that ball four should have been ruled a foul ball, Taylor lays into Delmore and is joined by Anderson coming in from the mound. As Musial reaches first, the St. Louis coach there notices the ball is still somewhere near the backstop, and that the Chicago catcher and pitcher are embroiled in an argument. So he waves his arm windmill style, spurring Musial to try for second base. So far, we're still in the terrain of odd but not weird. Until ...

With the FIRST ball still live, and maybe or maybe not in the mitts of the P.A. announcer, Delmore decides it's a good time to pull out a SECOND ball and hand it to Anderson. Quickly, the hurler realizes that Musial is trying for second. He wheels and throws in the direction of Cubs second baseman Tony Taylor. That SECOND ball flies over Taylor's head into center field.

Watching all this from his position at third base is Chicago's Alvin Dark, one of the better infielders of the 1950s. He went on to manage the Oakland A's to the 1974 World Series crown. As the scene around home plate is playing out, Dark races toward the backstop, yells at Pieper to unhand the FIRST ball -- the one Pieper said he never actually touched -- and the ball remains on the ground. Dark snags it and uncorks a throw to Hall of Fame Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks, who is somewhere between second and third base, but closer to second. This throw is accurate, so the FIRST ball is in Banks' glove between the bases, while the SECOND ball is soaring into center field.

Musial does not notice Dark's throw to Banks, but does see Anderson's errant throw flying into center. So Stan the Man does what any heady baserunner would do and takes off for third base. Waiting for him, with the FIRST ball, is Banks, who tags Musial. After a delay, Musial is ruled out by second-base umpire Bill Jackowski, leading to an on-field melee.

"I never knew there was a second ball," Musial said afterward. "And darned if I felt Banks tag me!"

The Cardinals won the game 4-1, though they finished it under protest. The lead on the game story the next day by Tribune writer Edward Prell read, "Baseball reached a daffiness ceiling in Wrigley field Tuesday." (Yes, the "field" was in lowercase.) He added, "Not even Bill Veeck of the White Sox could have conjured up such a zany episode."

Delmore was fired at the end of the season, and died the next year at age 44.
   21. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 29, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5702316)
Turned a .404 BABIP in 106 rookie at-bats into an 11-year MLB career:

Worse, Wehner's a Pittsburgh kid who turned that streak into a 20-year announcing career. I can't remember anything he's said.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 29, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5702320)
Worse, Wehner's a Pittsburgh kid who turned that streak into a 20-year announcing career. I can't remember anything he's said.
Eh, come on, give the guy a break. Think of how much crap he must have gone through as a kid with that name.
   23. dlf Posted: June 29, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5702330)
Edit: duplicate
   24. dlf Posted: June 29, 2018 at 04:19 PM (#5702331)
Matt LeCroy, Catcher. So bad that Frank Robinson was reduced to tears.

Tears of sadness streamed down both of Frank Robinson’s cheeks, and his voice quivered, even in the aftermath of an 8-5 victory.

The Washington Nationals manager had been cornered into a move rarely seen in baseball – the benching of a catcher in the middle of an inning.

The Houston Astros had stolen seven bases – the most by any team in the majors in nearly four years – against third-string catcher Matthew LeCroy. After three batters in the seventh inning, with the tying run on base and shortly after LeCroy had committed his second error by throwing a ball into center field, Robinson pulled him for emergency catcher Robert Fick.

“If my daddy was managing this team, I’m sure he would have done the same thing,” LeCroy said.

Robinson took it a lot harder.

“I feel for him,” Robinson said. “And I hope the fans understand. And I just appreciate him hanging in there as long as he did.”

The Nationals captured their third straight victory and fifth win in six games. They are playing their best baseball of the season, but Robinson couldn’t overcome the emotions he felt after putting a veteran through an embarrassing scene. LeCroy, who handles pitchers well but has a suspect arm, was starting because Brian Schneider and Wiki Gonzalez were hurt.

“It’s not LeCroy’s fault. We know his shortcomings,” Robinson said. “They took advantage of them today.”

   25. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2018 at 04:32 PM (#5702339)
Wow. Of the final 36 stolen base attempts against LeCroy, 34 were successful.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 29, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5702342)
Tears of sadness streamed down both of Frank Robinson’s cheeks, and his voice quivered,
This would seem to be just a bit of an overreaction, no?
   27. Walt Davis Posted: June 29, 2018 at 06:37 PM (#5702399)
Cliff Johnson was the first guy who came to mind too. But there have been lots of guys who came up as Cs and flopped badly in half a season or less that they weren't played there again. Cliff kept getting starts for several seasons though ... as did LeCroy.

It's turned out to be just 15 starts plus another 10 games so he probably would have gotten better but Schwarber was just terrible in his brief time back there. TZ put him on a -17 pace, DRS at -25. He gave up 9 WP and 2 PB in the equivalent of 16 full games while throwing out just 18% of the runners (league average 28% ... but it was just 17 attempts so a very small sample size and one more CS would leave him looking average). If I read it right, he had a cERA of 4.66, mostly in 2015 when the team ERA was 3.36.
   28. puck Posted: June 30, 2018 at 05:41 PM (#5702786)
The Rockies optioned Jon Gray. 11.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9. Problem is, 5.77 ERA. His peripherals have always been better than the results. He always seems to implode and surrender a big inning.

Can he fix that in AAA? I've not heard if there's some sort of attitude (not altitude) issue.
   29. Hank Gillette Posted: June 30, 2018 at 07:41 PM (#5702842)
The Boston slugger hammered out his tenth home run at Georgia avenue yesterday in his forty-first game of the season…He is a big fellow, standing 6 feet 2 inches and weighing 192 pounds when in condition.

Or when he didn’t put the other foot on the scale.

I don’t know what Ruth’s actual weight was in 1918, but he was a genuine stud when he left St. Mary’s at age 19 in 1914.

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