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Monday, June 29, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-29-2020

Indiana Daily Times, June 29, 1920:

In the third inning of the game at the Polo Grounds Sunday, Mike Menoskey, the Red Sox left fielder, ran far into left center and pulled down a long high fly driven by the battering ram bat of Babe Ruth. Menoskey flung the ball in and Oscar Vitt showed it to Umpire Chill…That ball was no longer fit for service. It was fit only for the ash can. The Babe had knocked it lopsided.

Elsewhere in Babe Ruth news 100 years ago, the Toledo News-Bee reports that Babe is hoping to hit 40 home runs this season. In fairness to the Bambino, it probably would have sounded absolutely insane to say he was hoping to hit between 50 and 60 homers.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2020 at 10:17 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: babe ruth, dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 29, 2020 at 10:18 AM (#5960113)
Speaking of Babe Ruth, it's Harry Frazee's birthday! Today's Birthday Team:

C/Manager: Wilbert Robinson (6.7 WAR)
1B: Pedro Guerrero (34.5 WAR)
2B: Heinie Reitz (12.8 WAR)
3B: Yolmer Sanchez (6.2 WAR)
SS: Bobby Morgan (9.5 WAR)
LF: Harmon Killebrew (60.4 WAR)
CF: Larry Stahl (2.2 WAR)
RF: Bobby Veach (47.8 WAR)

SP: Dizzy Trout (49.8 WAR)
SP: Rick Honeycutt (21.6 WAR)
SP: Ed Seward (20.5 WAR)
SP: Bob Shaw (18.4 WAR)
SP: Patsy Flaherty (5.8 WAR)
RP: Grady Adkins (2.3 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 (-1.8 WAR)
Umpire: Cal Drummond
Utilitydudes: Burgess Whitehead (5.8 WAR), Joe Inglett (4.9 WAR)
   2. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 29, 2020 at 10:42 AM (#5960120)
Turned a .404 BABIP in 106 rookie at-bats into an 11-year MLB career: John Wehner (-1.8 WAR)


I thought for sure that John Vukovich would be on the Similar Players list, but Vuke's 20 OPS+ pales considerably against Wehner's whopping 68!

Vuke's #1 similar is my least favorite Phillie of all time: Michael Martinez.
   3. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 29, 2020 at 11:04 AM (#5960130)
That's a really, really solid team. Gotta be one of the best. No glaring holes, All Star type players at 3 positions, one of the best pitching staffs you will see, and a HOF manager.
   4. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 29, 2020 at 11:26 AM (#5960138)
Fun note from the early stages of the '70s in the starting pitcher rankings: One of the more infamous trades of all time came in the 1971 offseason, in which the Cardinals traded Steve Carlton for Rick Wise. Carlton famously went on to have one of the best pitching seasons of all time in '72, and is in the Hall of Fame, so the trade doesn't look great in hindsight.

But for what it's worth, at the end of 1971, Rick Wise was #28 in the pitcher rankings - and Steve Carlton was #36.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 29, 2020 at 11:58 AM (#5960150)
Toledo News-Bee reports that Babe is hoping to hit 40 home runs this season. In fairness to the Bambino, it probably would have sounded absolutely insane to say he was hoping to hit between 50 and 60 homers.
Babe, with 54, out-homered every other team in the League in 1920. Impactful.
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 29, 2020 at 12:28 PM (#5960159)
That's a really, really solid team. Gotta be one of the best. No glaring holes, All Star type players at 3 positions, one of the best pitching staffs you will see, and a HOF manager.


The defense isn't good. I was wondering if you'd be better off with Killebrew at first and Guerrero in the outfield, but either way, it's not going to be pretty.

Bobby Morgan looks like he wasn't much at shortstop, either, but on the bright side, he's still alive at the age of 94. Is he the last surviving Boy of Summer?
   7. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 29, 2020 at 12:33 PM (#5960162)
Who was the last player to out homer a team in his league? Dave Kingman came close in 1979, with 48 to the Astros 49. In 1948, Joes DiMaggio and Gordon outhomered Washington, and Ken Keltner tied them.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2020 at 12:52 PM (#5960166)
Who was the last player to out homer a team in his league? Dave Kingman came close in 1979, with 48 to the Astros 49.
Could it happen this year?
   9. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 29, 2020 at 01:33 PM (#5960177)
No. Last year the lowest team total was 146. That's 54 over a 60 game season. Not one is going to hit 54 HR this year, even if they do play.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2020 at 02:57 PM (#5960202)
OK it won't happen. Buuuuuut as recently as 2016, there was a team (Braves) that hit only 25 HRs in their first 60 games. Individual players occasionally hit that many in 60 games.
   11. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:00 PM (#5960205)
Just wait for Frazee to sell Killebrew. June 29th won't win another world series for almost a hundred years.

I looked at today's #1 pitcher, and wondered if he out-WARed Dizzy Dean. And he did. Someone explain to me why Dizzy Dean is a big famous star. He had a nice peak, and absolutely nothing else. Johan Santana pitched (a few) more innings than he did, and had (a little) better ERA+. (Santana also wins by 5 WAR, FWIW.) Why is someone who had a career not-quite-as-good as Santana's as big of a star as he is? My first thought was his career as an announcer, but the BBWAA elected him in 1953, and he crossed 50% of the vote as early as 1947. Is it that he led the league in Ks for four straight years? Was it the 30 win season? He's like a poor man's Dazzy Vance, except that he retired after Vance and got into the hall before him.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:07 PM (#5960208)
Was it the 30 win season?
He capped it off with a WS Game 7 shutout, too, so that year probably is probably responsible for a lot of his fame. Also his brother was his teammate. And that nickname didn't hurt.
   13. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:15 PM (#5960210)
Who was the last player to out homer a team in his league? Dave Kingman came close in 1979, with 48 to the Astros 49.


Likewise, Mike Schmidt came within one homer of the entire 1981 Padres who had 32 homers in the shortened season. Ruppert Jones was second on the team with 4.
   14. JJ1986 Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5960213)
Obviously no one outhomered them that year, but the 1986 Cardinals had 58 home runs (second lowest in the NL was 110).

I didn't check every year, but the most recent one I found quickly was 1949 when Ralph Kiner (54) outhomered the White Sox (49).
   15. PreservedFish Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:24 PM (#5960214)
No. Last year the lowest team total was 146. That's 54 over a 60 game season. Not one is going to hit 54 HR this year, even if they do play.


You need to think creatively here. Maybe the Royals' entire starting lineup will get quarantined for two weeks? Or, there could be major disparities in games played.
   16. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5960218)
Someone explain to me why Dizzy Dean is a big famous star. He had a nice peak, and absolutely nothing else. Johan Santana pitched (a few) more innings than he did, and had (a little) better ERA+. (Santana also wins by 5 WAR, FWIW.) Why is someone who had a career not-quite-as-good as Santana's as big of a star as he is?

I mean... you're looking at someone who pitched in the '30s, using metrics that didn't exist in the '30s, and wondering why people in the '30s thought he was good.

Dean basically had a 5.5 year peak, but during that peak, he was one of the best pitchers (and players overall) in the game. Looking at things that contemporary observers would know, he won 30, 28, and 24 games in consecutive seasons; he led the league in strikeouts four times, innings and complete games three times, and shutouts and wins twice. (In 1936, he had the unusual combination of leading the major leagues in complete games and saves in the same year - that wouldn't have influenced contemporary opinion because saves didn't exist yet, but it's fairly cool.) He won the MVP in 1934 and finished second in the voting each of the next two years; in fact, he is second all-time in MVP shares for a pitcher, narrowly behind contemporary Carl Hubbell. (Yes, he's in the sweet spot historically for this, because there was only about a 25-year span in which MVP voting existed in its modern form and the Cy Young Award hadn't started siphoning off MVP support for pitchers. He still got more MVP support than Lefty Grove, Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser, Robin Roberts, Warren Spahn... you get the idea.)

And as far as 1934 goes, it's not just that he won 30 games (which he was the last pitcher to do at the time he was inducted, and is still the last pitcher to do in the NL). It's how he won them. On September 5, the Cardinals were in second place, seven games back of the defending World Series champion Giants. From 9/5 to the last day of the season on 9/30, Dean made 7 starts and 4 relief appearances, going 7-0 with 2 saves and leading the Cardinals to a comeback pennant by a 2-game margin. He pitched six times in the last ten days of the season, throwing complete games on 9/21, 9/25, 9/28 and 9/30 (three of them shutouts), and relieving in both ends of a doubleheader on 9/23. Oh, and then he threw a shutout in Game 7 of the World Series.

There are other factors as well - he had an outsized, easily publicized personality, his career was shortened by a freak injury (line drive off his toe in the All Star game) which sometimes leads to people mentally projecting what he might have done otherwise, that kind of thing. Also, casual and/or non-statistical fans tend to put a high value on peak; there are probably still people who think of Koufax as the greatest pitcher of all time, and Dean checks some of the same boxes that Koufax does (just without the Dodger Stadium mound and '60s strike zone).

None of this is to say he's as good as his reputation, or that he necessarily should be in the Hall of Fame (the HoM has not inducted him to this point). But he was a genuine star at his best, and I definitely understand why he's in the Hall of Fame even if I don't agree. (Santana is a reasonable comp - and he was also regarded as a star by contemporaries, and got some Hall support around here in his one year on the ballot if memory serves.)
   17. Ron J Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:39 PM (#5960220)
#11 I'd suggest a big part of it was self-promotion. I don't know that it was intended as such, but he certainly made life easier for the reporters. Who responded by writing a lot about him.
   18. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:44 PM (#5960222)
I believe this is all the teams with under 61 homers since 1949 (except 1981 when there were several).

1951: Senators 54, Kiner 42
1952: Senators 50, Kiner 37, Sauer 37
1954: Orioles 52, Kluszewski 49, Hodges 42
1955: Orioles 54, Mays 51, Kluszewski 47
1972: Rangers 56, Bench 40
1975: Angels 55, Schmidt 38
1979: Astros 49, Kingman 48
1981: Padres 32, Schmidt 31
1986: Cardinals 58, Barfield 40

There hasn't been a team with under 90 homers since 1994.

So, Kiner over the White Sox was the last time.
   19. Sweatpants Posted: June 29, 2020 at 03:51 PM (#5960223)
Someone explain to me why Dizzy Dean is a big famous star. He had a nice peak, and absolutely nothing else. Johan Santana pitched (a few) more innings than he did, and had (a little) better ERA+. (Santana also wins by 5 WAR, FWIW.) Why is someone who had a career not-quite-as-good as Santana's as big of a star as he is? My first thought was his career as an announcer, but the BBWAA elected him in 1953, and he crossed 50% of the vote as early as 1947. Is it that he led the league in Ks for four straight years? Was it the 30 win season? He's like a poor man's Dazzy Vance, except that he retired after Vance and got into the hall before him.
Dean was one of the most famous characters of 1930s baseball, a guy from rural Arkansas who was constantly talking, often with imperfect grammar, and who came through on most of his boasts. The Cardinals of that era are famous enough to have a nickname (the Gashouse Gang), and Dean was the face of that team and a pretty good embodiment of what they were about - hard baseball, nothing cerebral about it. This is not to say that he was unintelligent (he seems like a guy who enjoyed playing up the role the press gave him), rather that he had a distinct image and easy to write stories about.

That 30-win season was the last one until McLain's 34 years later, so for a while it looked like it would be the last. Most players become big stars with a peak anyway, rather than through a long career. I don't think he'd have been any more famous had he stayed an effective pitcher for five more years or anything. There might have been a Kirby Puckett factor, too, in that he looked like an obvious Hall of Famer who had a serious injury that stopped him from piling up numbers.

Look back about ten years. Is it weird that Josh Hamilton was a bigger star than Ian Kinsler? Hamilton's not going to make the Hall of Fame, but he wasn't as good a player as Dizzy Dean.

Edit: While I was typing this Eric J. said it better than I did.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 29, 2020 at 05:00 PM (#5960243)
Someone explain to me why Dizzy Dean is a big famous star. He had a nice peak, and absolutely nothing else.
Sandy Koufax had a nice peak, too. Dean’s career was cut short by injury, and there’s something of a tradition of evaluating those folks by their peak.
   21. Perry Posted: June 29, 2020 at 05:08 PM (#5960245)
there are probably still people who think of Koufax as the greatest pitcher of all time


And every single one of them wrote to complain when Posnanski had him at #70 in his top 100.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: June 29, 2020 at 05:24 PM (#5960248)
Out of curiosity, I checked .... McGwire and Sosa combined (136) tied the 98 Mets and out-homered 6 teams -- Royals, Phils, Twins, Marlins, Rays, Pirates. Bonds and Sosa (137) out-homered 3 teams in 2001 -- O's, Expos, Rays. Mantle & Maris out-HR'd 4 teams. I thought that might be the last time teammates out-HR'd a team but checked the 73 Braves and Davey and Darrell combined for 84 which topped the Cards. So there might well be others.
   23. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 29, 2020 at 06:02 PM (#5960255)
there are probably still people who think of Koufax as the greatest pitcher of all time


And every single one of them wrote to complain when Posnanski had him at #70 in his top 100.


I was 15 when Koufax retired and it was universally agreed that he was right there at the top tier -- maybe not Johnson, Young or Mathewson, but right up there with the rest. It's not easy to give that up. Surely as good as Grove, Alexander and Dean. ;)
   24. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 29, 2020 at 06:11 PM (#5960257)
So, Kiner over the White Sox was the last time.


OK, that was the last time a player out homered any team. My question was specifically outhomering a team in THEIR league. might seem a trivial distinction, but there frequently was a real difference in the leagues back then. So the answer to my question is then DiMaggio and Gordon in 1948?
   25. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 29, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5960262)
One bonus thing that probably helps Dean in popular perception to some extent is that the NL was by far the more pitcher-friendly league in the '30s. In 1933, for instance, Dean had a 3.04 ERA to Lefty Grove's 3.20 - but Dean's ERA+ was 114, Grove's was 134. (Dean's advocates wouldn't necessarily put a ton of weight on ERA in their arguments anyway, since he never won an ERA title.)
   26. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: June 29, 2020 at 06:34 PM (#5960267)
Out of curiosity, I checked .... McGwire and Sosa combined (136) tied the 98 Mets and out-homered 6 teams -- Royals, Phils, Twins, Marlins, Rays, Pirates. Bonds and Sosa (137) out-homered 3 teams in 2001 -- O's, Expos, Rays. Mantle & Maris out-HR'd 4 teams. I thought that might be the last time teammates out-HR'd a team but checked the 73 Braves and Davey and Darrell combined for 84 which topped the Cards. So there might well be others.


1981: Padres 32
Andre Dawson/Gary Carter 40
Mike Schmidt/Gary Matthews 40

1982: Cardinals 67
Dale Murphy/Bob Horner 68

1986: Cardinals 58
none in the NL but...
Jesse Barfield/George Bell 71
Dave Kingman/Jose Canseco 68
Gary Gaetti/Kirby Puckett 65
Kent Hrbek/Kirby Puckett 60
Don Mattingly/Rickey Henderson 59

16 of the top 20 home run hitters in 1986 were in the AL.
10 AL teams hit more home runs than the top NL team (the Cubs).

This was not the last time that two AL teammates outhomered the Cardinals, either.
   27. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 30, 2020 at 12:18 AM (#5960319)
there are probably still people who think of Koufax as the greatest pitcher of all time


Koufax obviously didn't have the career breadth necessary to be in that discussion, but of all of the players who played before I began to follow baseball, Koufax is my favorite player. I fully realise the difference between "favorite" and "greatest". I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, both as a human being, and a pitcher. And if I could borrow the TARDIS and see any game in history, I very might well pick Koufax's perfect game. What Koufax accomplished in his peak years was extraordinary, regardless of the Dodger Stadium mound. He's fully a worthy Hall of Famer.

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