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Monday, September 06, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-6-2021

Pittsburgh Press, September 6, 1921:

A New York writer the other day remarked that “Babe” Ruth by the end of the season will hold practically every record in baseball. That statement isn’t relished by Harry Salsinger, the Detroit sage, who comes back thusly:

“Ruth will have hit more home runs than any man in modern baseball, but what else? What has Ruth ever done in the way of base stealing? What has he done in sacrifice hitting? What has he accomplished in two and three baggers? What his is batting average? How does his total of runs scored compare with that of the other great players? What are his records for putouts and assists?”

That’s some bad take, Harry. You’re watching a guy who’ll be revered for centuries. Have some fun. Enjoy yourself. Have a beer and relax.

Okay, maybe no beer, this being the 1920s. But still.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 06, 2021 at 08:22 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 06, 2021 at 08:24 AM (#6038462)
Today's Birthday Team doesn't have any real weaknesses, but things in the starting rotation go downhill in a hurry after the ace.

C: Harry Danning (14.6 WAR)
1B: Derrek Lee (34.5 WAR)
2B: Pat Meares (4.8 WAR)
3B: Mark Teahen (2.6 WAR)
SS: Jumbo Latham (1.6 WAR)
LF: Oyster Burns (25.8 WAR)
CF: Vince DiMaggio (17.8 WAR)
RF: Mitch Moreland (10.9 WAR)

SP: Red Faber (64.0 WAR)
SP: Johnny Lanning (8.7 WAR)
SP: Hal Jeffcoat (8.3 WAR)
SP: Harry Perkowski (4.9 WAR)
SP: George Kahler (3.8 WAR)
RP: Jerry Blevins (6.3 WAR)

Manager: Del Bissonnette
Owner/President: Larry Lucchino
Writer: Bill Plaschke
Top prospect: Jordan Hicks (0.9 WAR)
Fun names: Vallie Eaves, Shags Horan, George Schmees, Socrates Brito
Not that one: Bill Murray
   2. sanny manguillen Posted: September 06, 2021 at 09:38 AM (#6038465)
My occasional note that I knew Harry Danning a little around 1980, when he was about 70. He was a cashier (just keeping busy) at a tennis center I worked at. No one ever told a kid to walk his bike with more authority than Harry. He drove a big Caddy, he told a great dirty joke, and he picked up every single check.
   3. I don't want to talk about Rocco Posted: September 06, 2021 at 11:07 AM (#6038469)
   4. Walt Davis Posted: September 06, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6038498)
You don't expect a SS named "Jumbo." Judging by his pic (from god knows when), it wasn't an ironic nickname. In fairness, in terms of what's documented at b-r, he was really a 1B with a few starts at SS. Jumbo had one more (documented) start at 2B than SS while Meares was a SS so I'm pretty sure those two should be swapped in the real world. But for Dugout purposes, a SS named Jumbo is more interesting.
   5. Hank Gillette Posted: September 07, 2021 at 07:37 AM (#6038544)
“Ruth will have hit more home runs than any man in modern baseball, but what else? What has Ruth ever done in the way of base stealing? What has he done in sacrifice hitting? What has he accomplished in two and three baggers? What his is batting average? How does his total of runs scored compare with that of the other great players?”
If you took away his 59 home runs (along with 59 of his PA), Ruth still would have had an OBP of .464, which would have led the American and National Leagues.

He had 35 more home runs and scored 45 more runs than any other player in baseball.

In the American League, he was first in OBP (.512), third in batting average (.378), second in doubles (44), and tied for fourth in triples (16). If half of his home runs were doubles instead, he still would have led the American League in home runs and would now hold the all-time single-season record for doubles.

He was actually tied for eighth in stolen bases with 17, but he was also tied for sixth in caught stealing with 13, so he would have been even better had he not tried to steal a single base. He only had four sacrifices, but why the heck would you have the greatest player of all time having arguably his best season even lay down a single sacrifice bunt?

Harry Salsinger was an idiot, but you all knew that. I just wanted to point out how absurd his take was.

   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 07, 2021 at 10:14 AM (#6038558)
Harry Salsinger was an idiot, but you all knew that. I just wanted to point out how absurd his take was.

Yeah, when he criticized the batting average of a guy who just hit .378, I had a good idea.
   7. bobm Posted: September 07, 2021 at 10:21 AM (#6038560)
Salsinger was a big Ty Cobb fan.

He was not, by his own admission, a natural. H.G. Salsinger, who covered Cobb and the Tigers for the Detroit News for many years, once wrote of Cobb: “His is the story of a mighty brain and the driving force of genius that made him great when other men, superior in physical strength, natural ability and speed, remained mediocre.

“Honus Wagner knew baseball, but not in the deep sense that Cobb did. Wagner lacked the extra touch, the spark, the flame; there was no fire to Wagner . . . he lacked imagination, he did not have Cobb’s inventive mind. In his greatest moments, Ty Cobb was the very soul of baseball.”

[...] There is a remarkable footnote to Cobb’s reputation as a singles hitter, however. In the 1920s, Cobb frequently derided the transformation of baseball from a finesse game to a Babe Ruth-inspired power game. He all but sneered at Babe Ruth’s home runs. According to author Charles C. Alexander, one day in 1925 in St. Louis, he told Salsinger he would try to hit home runs for the first time in his career.

He hit three home runs that day, May 5, then hit two more the next day, tying a record for homers in successive games that had lasted 41 years. He was 12 for 19 in that series, and went 6 for 6 in one game.

Cobb got all those pitty-pat hits and struck out only 3.1% of the time, but now it hardly mattered. Even at Detroit’s Navin Field, as H.G. Salsinger wrote, Ruth received “the welcome due a conquering hero. He got the applause, the shrieking adoration of the multitude, in Cobb’s own city. Cobb, standing aside, could feel deeply how fickle the adoration of the sport-loving public is. He saw before him a new king acclaimed.” (The following year Ruth would hit 54 home runs and then, down the road, 59, then 60.) [...]

Yet as long was Ruth was clouting homers and getting applause, Cobb couldn’t be content. Sid Keener recalled in a Sporting News article in 1961 that in early May ’25 he came upon Cobb telling his sportswriter friend Salsinger that he was tired of “reading stories that say I get my base hits on infield grounders and little bunts. The big guy, oh, you know, Babe Ruth, he socks those home runs! Well, I’ll show you something today. I’m going for home runs for the first time in my career!” That afternoon at Sportsman’s Park, Cobb hit three homers, two singles and a double as the Tigers beat the Browns 14–8. As Keener remembered it, Cobb missed by only a few inches having five home runs for the day. The next afternoon he hit two more homers and a single in an 11–4 Detroit win. In the clubhouse afterward, the old scribe wrote, Cobb was “jabbering all over the place” and practically hornpiping with glee. “What will the Babe say about this trick by Ty, five in two games?”

Watching Cobb and Ruth fail to get along sweetly was one of joys of the early live-ball era. Cobb was perennially the more aggrieved party because he paid more attention to what was being said and took offense quicker. It pained him to see the stands at Navin Field packed to near capacity when Boston, and then the Yankees, came to town. To Cobb, in those days, the Babe was just a big lummox who would eventually eat his way out of the major leagues—or so Cobb said, probably without really believing it. “Ruth is good for the game,” he kept hearing. “Cobb cannot be fully appreciated unless you are a student of baseball,” said Yankees manager Miller Huggins. “Ruth appeals to everybody.”
   8. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 07, 2021 at 11:21 AM (#6038565)
You know, stories like this have been around for ages, and I never believed them. But then, just the other day, Joey Votto actually did it. So who knows...

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