Major League Baseball History (1869-2009) by nomarless

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									     Cy Young: 511 Wins Walter Johnson: 110 Shutouts




                                                         Babe Ruth: 177 Runs
  Bringin’ Gas & Dialin’ 9: A Seven Score
    Addiction to the National Pastime
               (1869-2009)

 Ballparks           Biographies         Broadcasters




                                                         Ichiro Suzuki: 262 Hits
 Dynasties           Managers           Negro Leagues




                                                         Hack Wilson: 190 RBIs
 Sabermetrics          Salaries             Steroids




                Jason T. Powers
Ty Cobb: .366 Lifetime BA Joe DiMaggio: 56-Game hit streak
   Bringin’ Gas & Dialing 9:
A Seven Score Addiction to the
National Pastime (1869 – 2009)




           Deep Center Field
                      Press




            DCF
Deep Center Field Press
Deep Center Field Press, LLC. P.O. Box 194, Lowell, Indiana 46356, U.S.A.

First Published in June 2010 by Deep Center Field Press

Copyright © 2010, Jason T. Powers


Illustration credits: Included alongside all images. Contact on all misattributions, or questions.


LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG-IN-PUBLICATION DATA

Powers, Jason T.
       Bringin’ Gas and Dialin’ 9: A Seven Score Addiction to the National Pastime (1869 –
2009) / Jason T. Powers.

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN: {}

1. Baseball. 2. Baseball Players – United States – Biography. 3. Sabermetrics – Statistics –
   United States. 4. Professional Sports History. 5. United States History.


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Printed in the United States of America
Set in Garamond
Designed by Jason T. Powers




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                                  Table of Contents

Preface                                                                         v

1. Grant Era (1869-1907)               Origins & Ostracisms                 ٠   1
1.0. Professional Baseball Begins
1.1. Formation of a Permanent League, Business, Rules, and The Color Line
1.2. 1890 Player’s League
1.3. American League Formation
1.4. The Statistics and The Era Played In

2. Taft/Coolidge Era (1908-1935)      Innovation & Ruth                     ٠   24
2.1. Hitting: Babe Ruth and Power Surge I
2.2. Pitching: The Changing Roles of Pitchers by Era
2.3. Fielding: Errors Made, Changes to the Craft and The Best Ever
2.4. Equality: The Negro Leagues

3. FDR Era (1936-1949)                 War & Integration                    ٠ 142
3.1. Ballparks: Slugging % Analysis, Characteristics and History
3.2. Runs: Allan Roth, Dick Cramer, Bill James and Pete Palmer Formulae
3.3. Team Development: Sabermetrics, Scouting, Player Tools and Rickey
3.4. General Managers: The New, Young Moneyball Breed

4. IKE Era (1950-1963)                   Expansion & The Golden Era         ٠ 211
4.1. Centerfielders: Statistics and Stories from the Golden Era
4.2. Dynasties: Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, A’s, Dodgers, Reds and more Yankees
4.3. Player Ratings: Best by Era

5. LBJ ERA (1964-1977)                Disruption & Civil Rights           ٠ 321
5.1. Stadiums: Dodger Stadium and The Houston Astrodome
5.2. Drugs & Baseball Culture: Jim Bouton’s Ball Four
5.3. Free Agency: Curt Flood & the U.S. Supreme Court
5.4. Astroturf & Stealing: The Weapon of Choice for Whitey Herzog
5.5. Broadcasters & Sportswriters: The Men Who Spoke and Wrote about the Game

6. Reagan Era (1978-1991)              Collusion & Free Agency              ٠ 391
6.1. Rotisserie: History and Creating Two All-Rotisserie Teams
6.2. Franchises: The Chicago Cubs and The Boston Red Sox

7. Clinton Era (1992-2005)             Escalation & Enhancement             ٠ 474
7.1. Business of Baseball: Salary Escalation & Public Funding of Stadiums
7.2. Enhancement & Steroids: The Statistics & Power Surge II
8. Bush Era (2006-2009)                   Reconciliation & Records             ٠ 544
                                          or Legacies & Legalities?
8.1.    Final Thoughts on Baseball History
8.2.    The Bush Leagues: An Author’s Journal of the 2009 Fantasy Baseball Season

9. Appendix                                                                  ٠ 594

9.1.    Best Fielding Statistics by Position by Era
9.2.    Negro League Title Winners (1920-1949)
9.3.    Team Financials (1998-2005)
9.4.    Various Graphs of Baseball Statistics (1998-2005)
9.5.    Summary by ERA of Player Statistics
9.6.    Stolen Base Leaders by Era (100 Stolen Bases or more)
9.7.    All-time Fantasy Points Leader (4,500 AB or more)
9.8.    Top 50 Fantasy Seasons (Pitching & Batting) since 1947
9.9.    Top 50 Fantasy Seasons (Pitching & Batting) prior 1947
9.10.   Top 236 Fantasy Starting Pitchers – All time
9.11.   Top 35 Closers (200 or saves) from 1871-2006
9.12.   Abuse of Pitchers (1949-1980)
9.13.   LHP/RHP by year
9.14.   Steroid Study
9.15.   Stadium Changes
9.16.   Centerfield Statistics Year of World Series Appearance
9.17.   Team Statistics by Era
9.18.   Bill James’ Position Ratings for Dynasties
9.19.   Position-Tool Value % by Era

Bibliography                                                                 ٠ 755
      For Rudy
    (2004 – 2010)


 Small body, big heart
Never quit – must start
                                                Preface
Amongst my earliest recollections in life are days spent at the little league ball fields in Winchester,
Tennessee in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was during this time my love for baseball grew and the
desire to know the game increased almost daily. Playing was paramount to all things to do at that particular
age, in that town, and within that kid’s world. Frankly, little else mattered more than playing and learning
about the game.
         During the latter part of each school year, the little league season started up. After signing up and
trying out, I remember the practices were far from the center of town in what was a multi-field complex of
rusty, small backstops near a swamp, flies included. In those early practices, I got rudely acquainted with
the concept of catching fly balls correctly after taking a couple directly off my head. I learned the basics of
the game – hitting, throwing, fielding, and running the bases – but it never seemed like work. The skies
never seemed cloudy and the ground never soggy. I enjoyed practicing with my first teammates and
coaches in life that I remember more in spirit, than in fact.
         Those were simple times.

         When the season started, I trekked after school to the babysitter’s house with my uniform, ball
glove, and cleats in a plastic bag, with homework scarcely a thought. Being so anxious to play, I left her
supervision shortly after putting on my uniform, and walked to the ball fields with the sun shining brightly
in my face as I went down the dusty side streets of Winchester, the sounds of my cleats echoing off Civil
War era houses. The ball fields were close by the local racetrack where the sounds of revved up engines
deafened on Friday nights, usually, except for those spring days when baseball dominated the picture.
         I was usually the first one at the complex – two immaculate ball fields devoid of human life – but
the energy was present all ready in the grass, the stands, and the fences encircling the fields. A sweet
serenity existed all around, but just below that, was a happy tension of anticipation from envisioning all of
us young ballplayers running around, while the grown ups yelled and cheered us boys along. This was what
I really liked the most: waiting just to play on these magical fields.
         I’d sit up in the stands, with my cleats making the typical sounds against metal bleachers, and look
at the fresh chalk, the scoreboard in center, the PA system, and home plate…Just the remembrance of this
easier time, a purer place, and the raw and natural feeling of being a baseball player ready to make good on
the practices with teammates and coaches is something I sorely miss in today’s world.
         I tried every game day to be at the park before anyone else.
         Most times, I succeeded.

         I watched the Baseball Bunch on Saturdays. Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Ozzie Smith, and Mike
Schmidt, among others, were guests on teaching fundamentals and talking baseball. After that, This Week in
Baseball’s Mel Allen went over a week’s worth of play in the MLB in his charismatic How ‘bout that way. I
still can bring to mind his call of a ‘Ranger in Danger’ referring to a great outfield catch made by a Texas
Ranger while slamming into the wall. Little did I know then how long Mel had been in the role of
announcing the feats of baseball players, going back to the days of Lou Gehrig as the venerable voice of
the dynastic, golden-era Yankees.
         But this particular time to me was ‘the golden era’ of baseball. As most fans do, we romanticize a
point in our life, usually childhood, as the time when the game was perfect. We focus too on the one team
our hearts were overjoyed to see. Closest to my heart: The 1984 Cubs.
         I lived and died with them. I watched every game as a twelve year old, even those West Coast tilts
that rarely got over before midnight, and long after any reasonable bedtime I might of had. At this point, I
                                                                    vii

had been living in Indiana only a couple of years after my mother and I moved from Tennessee, but the
Cubs were my team to go to the mat for daily.
          When I was not watching their games, I practiced with my grandfather, William L. Clark, Jr., in the
backyard, with him either hitting grounders, or flies, or catching my pitching while crouching with great
difficulty. We talked for hours at a time about baseball and life. He shared his times growing up in Gary,
Indiana as the son of a barber and what his passion for baseball meant to him at that early age. He too had
experienced the joys and heartaches of a lifetime that included the run of the 1969 Cubs.
          When the ’84 season began, the ‘Daily Double’ of Bob Dernier and Ryne Sandberg started off well
on an April West Coast swing, and never ceased to produce runs. They delighted my eyes with their speed
on bases, the hit-and-run play, and the emerging power of Sandberg. The ‘Sarge’ batted 3rd usually,
wiggling his bat in that undulating manner, and finding any way to get on in front of the sluggers. Then
‘Zonk’ Moreland, ‘Bull’ Durham, ‘The Penguin’ Ron Cey, and Jody Davis drove them home.
          Shortly after the Cubs traded for Rick Sutcliffe, unfortunately giving up a young and talented Joe
Carter in process (who Negro League legend Buck O’Neil scouted), they improved dramatically upon a
staff that all ready had Dennis Eckersley, Lee Smith, Steve Trout, and Scott Sanderson to make it ready for
a playoff run. Unlike many of the past Cubs teams, thirty-eight since the 1945 World Series, this one had
‘it.’ I knew it, and my grandfather did too.


1984 Cubs Primary Position Players and Pitchers
 Position Players   AB    R     H     2B   3B   HR RBI SB      CS   BB    SO    IBB    OBP     SLG        POS       G
Ryne Sandberg       636   114   200   36   19   19   84   32    7    52   101    3     0.366   0.520       2B       156
Bob Dernier         536    94   149   26   5     3   32   45   17   63     60    0     0.354   0.362       CF       140
Jody Davis          523   55    134   25   2    19   94   5    6    47    99    15     0.318   0.421        C       146
Ron Cey             505    71   121   27   0    25   97    3   2    61    108   10     0.322   0.442       3B       144
Keith Moreland      495    59   138   17   3    16   80    1   4    34     71    5     0.325   0.422   RF/IB/3B/C   103
Gary Matthews       491   101   143   21   2    14   82   17    8   103    97    2     0.414   0.428       LF       145
Leon Durham         473    86   132   30    4   23   96   16    8    69    86   11     0.371   0.505       1B       130
Larry Bowa          391    33    87   14   2     0   17   10   4    28    24     5     0.275   0.269       SS       132


Pitchers                  G     GS    W    L     ERA        IP      CG SHO        SV     SO     BB
Steve Trout               32    31    13    7    3.41     190.00     6  2          0     81     59
Dennis Eckersley          24    24    10    8    3.03     160.33     2  0          0     81     36
Scott Sanderson           24    24     8    5    3.14     140.67     3  0          0     76     24
Dick Ruthven              23    22     6   10    5.04     126.67     0  0          0     55     41
Rick Sutcliffe            20    20    16    1    2.69     150.33     7  3          0     155    39
Chuck Rainey              17    16     5    7    4.28     88.33      0  0          0     45     38
Rick Reuschel             19    14     5    5    5.17     92.33      1  0          0     43     23
Rich Bordi                31     7     5    2    3.46     83.33      0  0          4     41     20
Dickie Noles              21     1     2    2    5.15     50.67      0  0          0     14     16
George Frazier            37     0     6    3    4.10     63.67      0  0          3     58     26
Lee Smith                 69     0     9    7    3.65     101.00     0  0         33     86     35
Warren Brusstar           41     0     1    1    3.11     63.67      0  0          3     36     21
Tim Stoddard              58     0    10    6    3.82     92.00      0  0          7     87     57



         I watched the Sandberg game (the 25th anniversary just past) with Bob Costas calling the two home
runs off Bruce Sutter during an amazing Game of the Week comeback win at Wrigley in June – and finally
knew they were going to win the then NL East. My grandfather and I watched game after game as the
Cubs pulled closer to the then elusive goal of a winning season, and much, much more. I saw the last pitch
Sutcliffe threw to clinch the pennant against Pittsburgh with Jody Davis pumping his fist in sweet triumph.
                                                            viii

And the celebration in the locker room with Jim Frey and the team relieved in ending a nearly four decade-
old burden.
         I remember conning my 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Mr. Stewart (who later coached me in
high school), into letting my classmates watch the Cubbies in the playoffs. The first two games in the early
afternoon got me out of school work, and made the semi-hectic middle school life of a transplanted
Southerner more bearable that year. The Cubs stormed out to a 2-0 lead in the series.
         My heart broke in the fifth game of the National Championship series. My grandfather was rarely
silent after any Cubs loss, but this time, he said nothing as if he knew it had been just magical enough to
see them go this far. I firmly believe the Cubs win that series if they had three home games. That team
destroyed San Diego at home and that is all there was to it…to my 7th grade way of thinking.

        After the Cubs lost the 1984 NL championship series, I continued to watch their plights, often
with joy, but it was never quite the same as that season was.

         My grandfather passed away on July 4, 1986, 160 years after his favorite president had, Thomas
Jefferson. William Clark was a baseball fanatic through and through. He tried out for the Brooklyn
Dodgers during mid-World War II, and got a Rickey contract1, but was soon off to duty in the Pacific once
he turned eighteen in 1944. By April 1945, he landed an LCVP on the shores of Okinawa. Shortly after the
war, he fondly remembered a day at Comiskey Park when the ‘Splendid Splinter’ hit a foul ball down the
1st base line. The ball went off his hand – that was driven just out of his reach – as he dived over his soon-
to-be wife Mildred, much to her shock in the moment. If only he brought his mitt, he surmised, with a
proud disappointment. Teddy Ballgame was his idol. I miss them one and all. (Another near coincidence:
Ted Williams passed on July 5, 2002.)

         In 1988, Doug Basham, Ron Kessel Jr., and I went to Block Stadium in East Chicago to try out for
the Pittsburgh Pirates. Doug was the flawless glove man with great plate patience; Ron was a true slugger
with a nose-to-toes zone of hitting; and I was the wild lefty/outfielder with good velocity, but concrete
feet. After arriving at 9AM, we warmed up for half-hour, ran the 60-yard dash, threw from right field to 3rd
base, or around the infield under the watchful eye of scouts for the ball club – who were looking for 6.9
sixties and 90-MPH on the gun. None of us made the cut; but we did see the few that did, and they got to
stay around for batting practice. As we drove back home, we talked about how much better the next time
would be while listening to classic rock on WCKG in Chicago. As it turned out, I never tried out again.
(The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Doug’s youngest brother, Ryan, nearly twenty years later. Ryan is still
looking to make it to The Show.)
         By 1990, I finished up my high school career and four years of playing high school baseball. I was
never an elite player; never wowed any coaches or scouts; and had ‘an attitude’ that was not conducive to
either helping my team win games, or garnering consistent playing time. But during the sectional playoffs, I
made the best diving catch of my life in centerfield. It, for a fleeting moment, made up for the uneven way
I played baseball in high school. And the promise I wished I had fulfilled, if not to myself, but to my
grandfather’s belief in me.
         As college called, I found other interests (women amongst them) that bedeviled me rather quickly.
In those pursuits, my batting average was far, far worse than any I had ever experienced in my first true
love of baseball. But I kept on trying, nonetheless.
         Where actually playing baseball was no longer a top pursuit, participating in fantasy leagues
intervened, and took its place. I could envision in MLB players an ability to win games based on my

1
 Branch Rickey was known for bringing players on board without a signed contract. But those lucky to pass the 1st cut,
were, gullible and excited enough, to think they actually had a position/contract. They were just another player in the
hopper of his vast farm system.
                                                        ix

selecting and managing a group of ‘my players.’ The advent of the Internet only improved this ability to
play, and has continued to be a top, if sporadic, hobby, as unsuccessful as some fantasy seasons have been.

        My love ebbed on baseball with the 1994 strike season. Somehow, when the players, ownerships,
coaches, and managers failed me through their actions both on and off the field, I felt cheated on, and had
great difficulty forgiving the transgression, likening it to a cheating girlfriend or wife. It took me several
years before I set foot in a ballpark again, losing interest in the exploits of the players, and avoiding the
game for several years on the tube.
        In 1998, the home run derby of Sosa and McGwire captivated fans, and brought back the
excitement to many cast adrift by the strike. Baseball had its hook, its driver of excitement, once again, and
it regenerated fan support: a real home run derby by the boys of summer.
        Its purity then was rarely questioned; now, it is an abhorrent to countless fans and media
representatives. By 2005, the whole baseball world spoke of nothing but steroids. And my interest in
baseball, again, took on a whole new meaning.

         Baseball as a subject of discussion is far from original. Just about every angle has been covered by
the elite base ball historians – that have countless personal books, old and rare magazine copies, intriguing
memorabilia from defunct franchises, and stadiums and player interviews to work from – and, to wit, they
are at the very heart of any journey into talking about baseball at length. It is hopeful that my research, if not
as exhaustive as many, many others, provides a taste of the sound thoughts others have introduced to the
game. But more importantly, I hope to cover many topics in brief that are sometimes overlooked…and
some, that are always brought up.
         When I started out, I was tempted to do only a very short study about steroids and whether (or
how) they applied to power surges seen in recent times. As my research about various things came about, I
felt that was too cursory of an analysis to explain what has truly happened in baseball. And as time wore
on, and information came together, my feelings changed significantly about the scope of the writing, and
what should be the basis of the project.
         Specifically, what should be included, relevant to the steroid topic, and what other issues I felt
supported my overarching thesis: the evolution of baseball through various eras, and the relevancy they
have in the 21st century, and the connections to America and its vibrant history.

         As the project went forward, I surmised that I could spend years on each topic included, and write
an entire book on just that topic alone. Though a heady ambition, I went back to what I was trying to
accomplish: Reflecting a fan’s perspective on the game, and utilize the research and histories compiled by
those that have gone before me.
          I ran into framework problems about halfway through the project. (This is not unheard of when
approaching a history of baseball.) Many authors use a decade-by-decade perspective. Others use
biographical techniques to point to key figures, or only focus on one period. Some focus just on the
statistics, and pictorial reviews of the giant figures in the game. Many others just pick one team, and their
additions to the overall strategies and philosophies of baseball. I preferred to use a combination of all of
these with some minor additions and modifications and with a trial-n-error approach never thrown away
completely, and so, it may include stuff no one ever includes in their final editions.
         This manuscript comprises various fields of baseball research: player & manager biographies;
statistical analyses; baseball physics; team histories; evolution of baseball equipment; innovative new ideas;
sports journalism; fantasy baseball growth; and, anabolic steroids, to name but a few. I felt it was necessary
not to solely focus on one area, but to give more than a smattering, but not a definitive, collection of
information from all of these fields – with as much depth as I could muster for each area. There is
considerable overlap; and that was partly the problem I had with structure. (That, and nearly 19,000
                                                       x

players, and thousands of executives, managers, scouts, coaches, and umpires. Just a sentence on each of
them is a 300,000 plus word document of little worth.)

          So, by far, I did not covered every last detail there is to be seen. Many baseball experts have
covered these topics before, more astutely, and with more depth and anecdotes to support their arguments
made – and I thank them for doing the due diligence, and justice to the sport they love unconditionally.
An ultimate end is to consolidate certain facts and theories that have been espoused by experts and
historians, utilizing statistics and graphs to point out trends, and address the wide-ranging field that is
professional baseball. Conflicting reports exist – and I tried my best to sort out these conundrums.
Sometimes, I fell short – and that is solely my fault.
          Additionally, I attempted to address thematic propositions: That United States history repeats
itself; that eras should be separate and equal in their treatments; that America and baseball are evolving
forces of nature that have failed, but also have surpassed their originators’ hopes. And they both march on
– with the social upheavals, technological advances, and economic tides often mirrored, some induced, by
the baseball field’s daily box score. Or as historian Jacques Barzun once remarked, “Whoever wants to
know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game.”

         Baseball is much more than the game we see on the field. The romanticized verses of Casey at the
Bat, Tinkers to Evers to Chance and Take Me Out to The Ballgame are a small part of the lore that we tie to the
game as it is played. But beyond the lore and the field, the statistics amassed, the physics immutable, the
social panorama conflicted, the people intertwined, and the business and legal aspects weighing on this
sport, there does lay real glory; and sometimes, truth.
         As we see the game in front of us, the dark curtain hiding what is really going on is never really all
that far from sight, even if we do not see it as clearly, as fans. When a player makes the last out in a
baseball game, ‘The Hidden Game’ (Peter Palmer and John Thorn) has only just begun for the next
afternoon, evening, season, or decade. And certainly that has come to light in many an author’s analysis, or
a ballplayer’s biography, that the game discussed – see: Jim Bouton’s Ball Four for an excellent example –
has not made public the smoky, ill-lit rooms of owners’ dealings, and the precipitous downfalls of drug
abusing, womanizing, glorify-me players.

        Overall, my goal is to set forth a foundation of basic understanding of those underpinnings of the
game, and place steroids, home runs, baseball players, financials, and owners in their proper lights, if at all
possible, and make for a clearer picture of what has happen in the past 140 years of the sport. The
overarching aspects of league play were also a goal. And at times, stand up for viewpoints not seen on the
TV, in the print media, or via the information superhighway that is the Internet. Hopefully, I support my
arguments, and add to the flavor of the game. Maybe.
        That is all any author attempts to do: To write what he sees from his perspective and try hard to
include as many viewpoints in his research of a topic. As I went through the gambit of writing, I strived to
include as much American history in concert with the spirit of the game to go along with the statistics,
pictures, and graphs. Any failures are again my fault – and I hope others forgive obvious shortcomings as
best they are able to.

         Finally, the most troubling aspect to this project was selecting a title. For one, it is impossible to
categorize this as any complete history, because it is not. Abbreviated, addressing a variety of topics, and
far from a in-depth player overview of any merit. Statistics drove the project, but I felt it was not a
statistical analysis solely. I delved into the business side of baseball, but it was not economics-driven
project. Steroids, again, not solely about the steroids, yet it does put the topic in a different light as
revelations still come to light daily. (Like May 20, 2010, a report of a noted athlete, non-baseball, admitting
(finally) to using performance enhancers.)
                                                             xi

        In the end, I picked two phrases that I thought were the defining characteristic of the
pitcher/hitter confrontation: Bringin’ Gas and Dialin’ 9.

        The ability to throw Cheese. High Heat. Smoke. The Hot Rock. Dialing it up. Number one. Going
Powder River. As an erstwhile high school pitcher, I thought it was applicable to the thoughts I had: to
come hard and direct from my research, put my thoughts to paper and attack the reader with statistics,
graphs, and anecdotes like a fastball pitcher.
        Dialin’ 9 is a call for going long distance by the hitter. Taking him deep. Goin’ Yard. Jacking it out.
Lighting up the scoreboard. A trip to Souvenir City. Leaving on a jet plane. Once again, the idea is to
firmly crack the subject deep into the seats and tear the cover off the ball and look inside at ‘the pill.’

        As Branch Rickey, The Mahatma of baseball innovation (and judicious finances) said in a Life
Magazine article titled, Goodbye to Some Old Baseball Ideas: “The most gripping moment in any field of
sports comes when batter faces pitcher. Batter and pitcher eye each other. Psychologically one or the other
is in command before the ball is thrown…”2 In a recent book titled, Sixty Feet, Six Inches by Bob Gibson,
Reggie Jackson and Lonnie Wheeler, this idea is expanded to a three-leg confrontation: physical, Gibson’s
heater versus Jackson’s bat speed; strategic, a bases loaded, no outs with a two-run lead in a late-inning
scenario; psychological, Gibson can run the ball inside, but if he misses to the meat of the plate, Jackson
will pound it 450 feet if he sits only on Gibby’s fastball. (Gibson had a nasty slider that ate hitters up too.)


         Lastly, I would like to pass along my gratitude for the early assistance of Dr. Bryan Denham of
Clemson University in forwarding his research articles, and Dr. Norm Fost for the early encouragement to
pursue an analysis of baseball.
         I want to thank the enormous contributions of Lowell, Indiana Public Library and all of their staff,
especially Sandy Fuller, for their assistance in obtaining books and articles and filling my every request.
Usage of the Internet – a must to all 21st century projects – came ‘for free’ via the public library. While this
nation cuts back on many items, libraries are the storehouses of knowledge, past, present, and future, and
need expansion while always remaining ‘free.’ (Thanks Benjamin Franklin.)
         The Barnes & Nobles in Merrillville, Indiana for allowing me to research while drinking tons of
soda and lattes in reading their books – for free. Buddy & Pals Bar and Grill in Crown Point, Indiana for
the late nights and the live entertainment while I worked out graphs, charts, organizing this book, and
borrowing their Internet. Not all free. (Yeah, I wrote some of this book at a sports bar. A creature of habit.)

        The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Society of Baseball Research (SABR)
www.sabr.org, www.nlbpa.com (Negro Leagues Baseball Players Association), www.nlbemusuem.com
(Negro Leagues Baseball Museum), www.baseballlibrary.com, Sean Lahman’s Baseball Database at
www.baseball1.com , www.baseball-reference.com , www.bizofbaseball.com and www.retrosheet.org for
their vast resources of information compiled in a useful manner for any baseball project. Many others are
included in the bibliography. Thousands of well-run sites exist – and they too are to be thanked – for
keeping baseball vibrant as our oldest national sport.
        The wonderful photos and illustrations of John Adams, Keith Allison, Scott R. Anselmo, Paul and
Darth Bengel, Peter V.S. Bond, Amy Borden, Alain Carpenter, Sharon Chapman, Joseph De Leon, Ian
Duke, Jeff Flowers, Dirk Hansen, Tracie Lynne Hall, Niklas Hellerstedt, Andrew Klein, Barbara Moore,
Landon Owen, Steve Paluch, Chris Ptacek, Peter Roan, Kevin Rushforth, Darrin Schieber, Matt Schlider,


2
 Goldman Steve, Editor. Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for
Winning. New York: Workman Publishing; 2005. 115.
                                                    xii

Jeff Scott, Derek Semmler, John Shanahan, Jason Swain, John VanderHaagen, Salim Virji, Paul M Walsh,
Bernard L. Waxman, and Michael H Wu.
        The National Archives, the Library of Congress, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, and
the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for their histories and collections of baseball and American history
images that are for anyone’s edification and expansion of personal knowledge.

(Note: I tried to credit all ideas found in research from many sources (SABR). I put together their research
with my own thoughts then usually found some supporting references that bolstered the point made.
These are credited in the numerous footnotes, the bibliography, and in the written work itself. I apologize
completely if my work has left anyone unaccredited. Please contact for inclusion in future editions.
        I tried to include many, many images. In doing this project, some books I scanned images to create
a guide post for later writing and original thoughts, only later to replace them with Library of Congress
collections, and other approved images. I have credited all sources as I could.
        Again, please accept my apologies, and assist me in rectifying any copyright issues that may
surround image usage or its distribution.)

       Thanks also to Jamie Bray, Linda Clark, Randy Kimmel, Glen Powers, Tim Richardson, Mark
Richardson, Teresa Roberson, and Kevin Wheeler for their review of my work, some in whole, others, just
a chapter or two.

       My mother, who always supports the endeavors I take up, even the flawed ones.

         And anyone else that taught me baseball appreciation that includes the authors I’ve read, and the
people I’ve met and discussed the game with over the years, and during the course of this enjoyable
project.

       Too all, I owe it to Bring the Gas. Dial Me Up, if you can.
                                                          1
                                   Introduction:
                               GRANT ERA (1869 –1907)
        Elysian Fields
        Knickerbocker Club
        Cartwright & Adams
        NABBP (NAPBBP)
        Professional Baseball
        Gambling & Competition
        Locating Ball Fields
        Refining Rules
         African Americans Banned                                                      19th century Baseball
                                                                                                   Ban
                   Jim               Professional   Hulbert     Cap Anson & Others                 Johnson
     Formation of  Creighton:        Baseball       Forms                                          Forms
                                                                Deny African Americans Rights
     New York Game 1st PRO?          Leagues        National    to Play in Pro White Leagues       American
1843 Rules    NABBP 1861-65          Begin          League                                         League 1903
                                                               Union & American Associations
                                       Cincinnati        Chicago                   The Baltimore
                                       Red Stockings     White                     Orioles
      1845       1850s The Civil War 1869           1876 Stockings 1883  1887 1890                   1901 1st
Knickerbockers          Disrupts Organized                        Comiskey & St.Louis Browns              World
organize                League Growth                                                                     Series
                           Gambling Pervades Early Pros   Ballparks AKA Grounds Moved Yearly
  Best & Unique Players: Jim Creighton, Fergy Malone, Al Pratt, Harry Wright, George Wright, Ross Barnes,
  Deacon White, Cap Anson, Cal McVey, Paul Hines,Charles Comiskey, Wee Willie Keeler, King Kelly, A.G.
  Spalding, Tommy Bond, Candy Cummings, Kid Nichols, Larry Corcoran, John Clarkson, Monte Ward,
  Hoss Radbourn



                                    We are a band of baseball players
                                         From Cincinnati city.
                                    We come to toss the ball around
                                       And sing to you our ditty.

    Opening verse to The 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings theme song – From The Official
                      Encyclopedia of Baseball, 5th Revised Edition.
                                                                 2

Baseball from its outset has been a game of changing rules, conflicting tides, curious legal rulings, and
player ostracisms that have affected the game forever. Even the origins of who exactly invented ‘base ball’
are muddled by differing opinions, going back to a special committee appointed in 1906 which decided in
December 1907 that Abner Doubleday was the progenitor of the game in 1839. This conclusion ignored
several others, namely, Alexander J. Cartwright’s 1845 formal rules for the ‘New York Game’, and plenty
of ancillary evidence supporting the games’ origin preexisted either man’s notion of the sport1. And others,
in Cartwright’s era, that could lay legitimate claims to the title: “The Father of Modern Baseball.”
         This special committee included men at the very root of the professional game of baseball
including the 1st, 3rd, and 4th presidents of the National League. Yet, when pressed by the legendary Albert
G. Spalding, and his introduction of one witness, Abner Graves, a boyhood acquaintance of the future
Civil War Major General in Doubleday, they concluded a man scarcely considered in any regards to
baseball had ‘invented’ the game which millions upon millions have adored to the present day. This after
36 years of its existence as a ‘professional’ game!
         At least in Colonial America, the game could be traced back well into the middle 18th century,
when a pirated copy of an English title called A Little Pretty Pocket Book by John Newberry, was republished
by Hugh Gaine in 1762 with the Pocket omitted from the title. In it, the term “base-ball” and an illustration
depicts the game, crudely, but identifiably, as played by children.2 Later, other titles came out in the early
19th century in Paris, London, New York, New Haven, and Boston that tell of the rules and/or similarly
calls the game “base-ball”, “rounders”, “base”, “cat”, “one old cat”, or “goal ball”, while using the scoring
rules of cricket, or a modified version of cricket to suit the equipment of players of various levels. Even
world famous author Jane Austen wrote of “base-ball” before the 19th century while the equally famous
American writer and dean of Harvard Medical School Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894) spoke of
playing the game at Harvard while Andrew Jackson was becoming the 7th U.S. President in 1828. This all
leaves aside the appearance of ‘stick and ball games’ long prior in Egypt, Medieval Europe, and Asia.3

(Side Note: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935) became the most famous American adjudicator of the
first half of the 20th century. “Right or wrong, an opinion from Holmes was like Moses delivering the Ten
Commandments.”4 Holmes later weighed in on Federal Baseball Club, Inc. v. National League of
Professional Baseball Clubs, 259 U.S. 200 (1922) with a decision that baseball did not engage in “interstate
commerce,” and thus, not regulated by federal anti-trust laws. A source of conflict throughout the 20th
century in baseball.)


The Organizers of American Baseball
         Alexander Joy Cartwright (1820 –1892) a bank clerk/financial advisor/fire chief drew up the first
identifiably modern rules for baseball – including three strikes and three outs per “hand”5- and the first
recorded game was played under those rules in Hoboken, New Jersey in June 1846. (Historians Palmer and
Thorn reflect a first box score was recorded several months prior in October 25,1845 in the New York



1
  Danzig Allison, Reichler Joseph. The History of Baseball: Its Great Players, Teams and Managers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.; 1959. 21-24.
2
  Danzig Allison, Reichler Joseph. The History of Baseball: Its Great Players, Teams and Managers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.; 1959. 27.
3
  Holway John. The Sluggers. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition, Inc.; 1989. 14.
4
  Snyder Brad. A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports. New York: Penguin Group; 2006. 21.
5
  Danzig Allison, Reichler Joseph. The History of Baseball: Its Great Players, Teams and Managers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.; 1959. 33.
                                                                 3

Herald in a similar fashion as cricket games were scored.)6 The Knickerbocker Club, which was officially
formed on September 23, 18457, played in these games.
         In that initial game, the Elysian Field players for the Knickerbockers and the New York Nine were:
D. Anthony, H. Anthony, Tyron, Daniel Adams, W.H. Tucker, Birney, Turney, Pauling and Avery, for the
Knickerbockers, Davis, Winslow, Lalor, Thompson, Case, Trenchard, Murphy, Ransom and Johnson, for
the New York Nine. New York won 23 to 1 in 4 innings and several years would pass before any
significant recorded observation was made about the new version of the future National Pastime.

        Yet, a more realistic version has Dr. Daniel Adams as a driving force behind the creation of the
greater particulars such as field size and orientation, ‘foul’ grounds, and the formation of the baseball out
of horsehide. Adams was a founding member of the Knickerbocker club, which had been formed in 1843,
and also played in that first game at Elysian Fields in Hoboken.8
        Thus Cartwright’s influence is overstated, but he assisted in formalizing the rules of ‘The New
York Game.’ Most of these rules had to do with peripheral things like attendance of the players in a timely
manner, reflecting the non-competitive nature then of the sport.9
        Whether by luck or astute observation, it was Dr. Adams who determined 90 feet was an
appropriate distance for the space between the bases, nine men would play the field, put outs made would
be to the bases (eliminating “soaking” – throwing at the player) and umpire(s) had the final say so on all
appeals made to them. (Cartwright again is alleged to have umpired that first game, and handed out
baseball’s first fine of six cents for swearing.10)
        Adams was undoubtedly more the innovative spirit than Cartwright – credited also for the 42
paces (3 foot steps) between 1st and 3rd and home and 2nd bases, utilizing the ideas of a Scottish soldier in
forming the baseball out of horsehide, and the creation of the shortstop position.11 Adams became
President of the Knickerbocker Club and the governing officer of the NABBP (National Association of
Base Ball Players) in the late 1850s.
        It was Adams who cemented most of the field design and large-scale organization, whereas,
Cartwright should receive credit for bringing together the players and the ‘strict’ adherence to a set of
rules, borrowed as they undoubtedly were from prior writers on this of many childhood games.

        Much of the ‘Knickerbocker Rules’ or Cartwright’s initial ground work was likely borrowed from
Robin Carver’s 1834 Book of Sports as was pointed out by the diligence of a White Plains, New York Library
chief of research, Robert W. Henderson12. With the official development of a ‘team’, the Knickerbocker
club brought baseball to an “organizing effort” by the mid 1840s. (Which might be the only point
historians are likely to agree on in near unanimity.)
        For Cartwright’s part, he was on the move; first to the California gold rush by July 1849, then to
Hawaii (then called the Sandwich Islands) by late August 184913 (while recovering from a bout of
dysentery).14 Cartwright “semi-retired” in Honolulu, Hawaii in becoming a respected advisor to King
Kamehameha V, and his successor, King Kalakaua, while assisting as the fire chief on the big island15. A

6
  Palmer Pete, Thorn John. The Hidden Game of Baseball: A Revolution Approach to Baseball And Its Statistics. Garden City, New
York: Doubleday & Company; 1984. 9.
7
  Morris Peter. But Didn’t We Have Fun? : An Informal History of Baseball’s Pioneer Era (1843-1870). Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2008. 26.
8
  Morris Peter. But Didn’t We Have Fun? : An Informal History of Baseball’s Pioneer Era (1843-1870). Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2008. 10.
9
  Morris Peter. But Didn’t We Have Fun? : An Informal History of Baseball’s Pioneer Era (1843-1870). Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2008. 10.
10
   Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 34.
11
   Morris Peter. But Didn’t We Have Fun? : An Informal History of Baseball’s Pioneer Era (1843-1870). Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2008. 31.
12
   Danzig Allison, Reichler Joseph. The History of Baseball: Its Great Players, Teams and Managers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.; 1959. 26-27.
13
   Menke Frank G. The Encyclopedia of Sports: Third Revised Edition. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company; 1963. 70.
14
   www.historicbaseball.com. Alexander Cartwright’s Biography. Last Accessed: January 13, 2007.
15
   www.historicbaseball.com. Alexander Cartwright’s Biography. Last Accessed: January 13, 2007.
                                                                 4

visit by Babe Ruth took place long after Cartwright’s death in 1892 to commemorate his contribution to
the origins of the game. Cartwright was later placed in the Hall of Fame in 1938 at the urging of his
grandson, Bruce.

        All of which contradicts any notion of Doubleday as ‘the inventor’ of the game, yet, like many
other curious aspects of the game, the truth is difficult to ascertain completely. And even with the research
done upon request, it was left a more interesting mystery even for the very principals in charge of the
reporting of the outcome. (Evidently, the chairman of this commission, A.G. Mills, 3rd National League
President, was also a friend of Doubleday yet had no idea about Doubleday’s inventing the game, years
after Doubleday’s death. Yet that did not stop Mills in supporting this 1907 decision.)16
        Cartwright’s role was more enigmatic, than clarifying, as Daniel Adams, Duncan Curry, and
William Wheaton also have legitimate claims to the founding of modern “base ball.”17 This sole subject,
undoubtedly, could be a book unto itself. As many invention and origination stories are.

     While baseball was just a happy newborn with various claims
to its parenthood, America was entering adulthood and its first
crisis of maturation and existence since the Revolution. The seeds
of the Civil War were sown in the Three-fifths Compromise and
the abhorrent continuation of slavery, predominately in the South.
The 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court case was the primer before
the North and South took to arms.
         With war, ideological and political breaks cemented and a
radical reorganization of the Union ensued. The Civil War
destroyed and divided and curtailed social and economic growth. It
pitted brothers and close friends against each other – not over the
slavery issue - but the existence of the Union, and the laws that
would rule the land henceforth.
         But from the blood and ashes, General Ulysses S. Grant
was elected president while Reconstruction was driven by iconic
business names: Carnegie, Mellon, Morgan, Pullman, Rockefeller,
Vanderbilt, and Ward, amongst the short list of ‘Robber Barons.’                       Jay Gould (1836 -1892): Railroads,
         Baseball too saw its share of business magnates of renown                     gold panics, and the Western Union
over the years to come as the baby grew teeth and tasted financial                     Telegraph services were all in a day’s
fruits for the first time.                                                              work for this robber baron. (Bain
                                                                                           Collection, Library of Congress.)



                                      1.0. Professional Baseball Begins
As with many exciting and innovative ways to pass time, soon enough, someone figures out that people
will pay to see “their” team defeat the other side. As a result, to acquire, or keep talent, payments became a
necessity, even if against the NABBP rules. Organized baseball likely first professional player: pitcher Jim
Creighton for the Brooklyn Excelsiors in 1859.18 Another name synonymous to baseball growth, Al Reach,
was an early pro in the 1860s.
16
   Danzig Allison, Reichler Joseph. The History of Baseball: Its Great Players, Teams and Managers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.; 1959. 31.
17
   Nucciarone Monica. Alexander Cartwright’s Biography. Unknown: www.sabr.bioproj.org ; Last Accessed March 2, 2009.
18
   Morris Peter. A Game of Inches: The Game Behind The Scenes; Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2006. 179.
                                                                 5

        Soon, whole teams were paid in various ways: offered a percentage of the gate, off-season/off-the-
field do-little jobs (in the IRS department)19, or playing as “revolvers”, hired gun services. (Revolving is the
recruitment from other nines for play in games – the best of the best from the rest.) But most incentives
were kept fairly quiet, or under the table away from those that found such practices unacceptable – or
envied the amounts being paid for such circumstances.
        But those thoughts morphed quickly enough when the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, most
famously, announced their intent to pay all their players a salary. And as with all paying practices, managing
the talent comes immediately into play.

         Harry Wright (1835-1895) came to be influential first as a young observer, then as a ballplayer,
and ultimately, the player/manager of those dominant Cincinnati Red Stockings in the late 1860s and the
Boston Red Stockings in 1870s. His first connection took place with the originator of the Knickerbocker
team, Alexander Cartwright, while growing up as a son of a professional cricket player in Hoboken, New
Jersey in the 1840s. Harry’s father, Samuel, worked at the St. Georges Cricket Club in New York while all
of his sons grew up with cricket and baseball fever. In 1858, at 23, Harry Wright joined up with
Knickerbocker club as the game was evolving into a more organized concern across the Eastern United
States under the National Association of Base Ball Players.20 He continued playing both baseball and
cricket well into the 1870s, but found his influential calling as the premier player-manager of the Grant Era.
         After moving to Cincinnati in 1866 and taking a position at the Union Cricket Club, Wright soon
ran the baseball operations, acquiring talent from the east, and fielded a strong team. (Losing rarely; one
loss came to the Nationals of Washington in 1867, another dominant team of the post-war era.)
         In adding one of his younger brothers, George, the Red Stockings became an openly salaried
baseball team in 1869 amidst the National Associations’ still classifying the game as an amateur affair while
many teams paid players to join their squads to outdo other teams for nearly a decade.21 George earned the
highest paid at $1,400 for nine months.
         These salaries attempted to solve the usual problem of gambling. With adequate pay, the hustlers
and gamblers could not as easily buy off players, since each player could earn a salary (from the gate or a
flat rate), and thus, was attached to furthering the fortunes of his team. Better team, more money, in
theory and hopefully, practice.
         Harry Wright built his professional juggernaut, backed by team president Aaron Champion’s stock
offering, in winning 147 of 160 games while in Cincinnati from 1868-1870. Although, this initial
professional team barely broke even financially, and soon, Champion was ousted from his position. The
team also broke up in short order; but the baseball ‘success model’ was set up despite the finances.
         When the ‘Professional’ tag was permanently added to the association, Harry took over the
operations of the Boston Red Stockings in 1871, finishing first in four of five total seasons of the National
Association (the pre-cursor of the National League) with his much younger brother George playing
shortstop on those teams. Harry Wright played the outfield as well, the oldest full-time outfielder in the
1871 association by 3 years, and pitched sparingly for his championship clubs. His fielding was amongst
the best in overall percentage and his singles bat was adequate in 1873 and 1874, while well into his late
30s. Among his other players in Boston was a man who is now recognized for his century-old sporting
goods empire: pitching great Albert Goodwill Spalding.
         Best selling baseball novelist and historian Darryl Brock sums up Harry Wright, the player and
manager:


19
   Morris Peter. A Game of Inches: The Game Behind The Scenes; Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2006. 179.
20
   Allen Lee. 100 Years of Baseball: The Intimate and Dramatic Story of Modern Baseball from the Game’s Beginnings Up to the Present
Day. New York: Bartholomew House, Inc.; 1950. 12-13.
21
   Allen Lee. 100 Years of Baseball: The Intimate and Dramatic Story of Modern Baseball from the Game’s Beginnings Up to the Present
Day. New York: Bartholomew House, Inc.; 1950. 15.
                                                              6

         “A rare second-generation professional athlete, Wright was universally respected for his dedication
         and integrity. Playing center field – he would hit .493 and serve as the relief pitcher in 1869 – ‘
         Captain Harry’ was equally skilled as a field tactician and handler of men. He pioneered many
         tactics now accepted as fundamentals, such as shifting fielders, employing defensive signals,
         backups and cutoff men, and place hitting in order to advance runners.”22

       With the formation of the National League in 1876, Harry Wright lost several of his star players –
P Al Spalding, 1B Cal McVey, 2B Ross Barnes and C Deacon White to the Chicago White Stockings (a.k.a.
Cubs in the 20th century) – but overcame the setback and won the league in 1877 and 1878, his last
championships coming in Boston. He continued to manage until 1893 in Philadelphia (most years), but
never won another league title. Wright’s lifetime record of 1436-920 is considerable, spanning the first four
decades of professional baseball, along with amassing 6 titles in these first professional leagues.
       George Wright, who played the light-hitting, but solid-fielding shortstop to the mold, later
managed the Providence ball club in the 1879, finishing first in his only managerial reign. (Baseball HOF
inductee in 1937.) The youngest of the Wrights – Samuel – played in 12 games scattered over 1876-1881
seasons.
       In 1953, Harry Wright was inducted into Major League Baseball’s HOF, 58 years after his death on
October 3, 1895 in Atlantic City. (Oddly appropriate for post season and the professional ballplayer’s bane.)
The Cincinnati Reds belatedly inducted Harry Wright into their Hall of Fame in 2005.

         If “Doc” Adams, Cartwright and Wright are considered the founding fathers on the field, then
Henry Chadwick (1824-1908) was the essence of a founding father off it. As the first full-time
sportswriter in baseball, Chadwick initially wrote columns for cricket matches in The New York Times. As a
child, Chadwick had played rounders, but became intrigued with the development of baseball in 1856 after
watching a good game.23 (Another apocryphal story?)
         In 1857, Chadwick reported on the first organization – NABBP – that consisted of 24 different
teams around the New York area.24 Initially, the games played were free to see and expenses were handled
by these clubs. But when a championship series was held, the costs to rent a racetrack for the finale led to
a 50-cent admission fee. Once again, the capitalistic desires of the owners, managers, and players were
forged, and the growth of clubs were influenced by it, as by 1867 there were 237 ball clubs in Northeast
America.25 Little wonder the first amateur organization ceased to function by 1871.
         On August 16, 1870, Chadwick witnessed the exploits of Fred Goldsmith, who threw the first
curve ball in a demonstration while in the same timeframe the Cincinnati Red Stockings lost their first
game since turning professional.26 This feat, often tested by physicists in lab experiments and considered
“an illusion” by naysayers, such as Life Magazine, is a cornerstone of nearly all pitchers’ repertoire, the
breaking pitch. (Candy Cummings also laid claim to this fame of throwing the first curve in a 1867 amateur
game while Chadwick and Wright maintained this pitch had likely seen use as early as the 1850s.27)
         Through Chadwick’s urging and influence, the baseball game was consistently modified via rule
changes, and improved upon through the abolition of gambling by the players. Chadwick’s writing became
instrumental reading for any fan to know about the stars of the game, as he wrote for the Spalding Guide for
nearly thirty years. Chadwick’s interest in sports included a wide breath of experience from chess to

22
   Bresnahan Jim [Editor]. Play It Again: Baseball Experts on What Might Have Been. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland &
Company, Inc; 2006. 13.
23
   www.baseballlibrary.com. Henry Chadwick Biography. Unknown: www.baseballlibrary.com; January 2007. Last accessed January
2007.
24
   Menke Frank G. The Encyclopedia of Sports: Third Revised Edition. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company; 1963. 71.
25
   Menke Frank G. The Encyclopedia of Sports: Third Revised Edition. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company; 1963. 72.
26
   Menke Frank G. The Encyclopedia of Sports: Third Revised Edition. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company; 1963. 78.
27
   Martinez David H. The Book of Baseball Literacy. New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc; 1996. 21.
                                                                  7

 yachting while his personal pursuits revolved around the performing arts. Henry Chadwick was elected to
 the Baseball HOF in 1938, honoring his vast achievements in fostering the game through his writing, rule
 modifications, box scores, and the scoring of the game. Every generation of sportswriter owes his position
 to the industrious work of Chadwick: “The Father of The Language of Baseball.”


1.1. The Formation of a Permanent League, Business, Rules, and The Color Line
 On February 2, 1876, William Hulbert (1832-1882), former grocer, coal merchant and Chicago Board of
 Trade member28, founded the National League with the aid of Albert G. Spalding, Harry Wright (as its
 secretary) and Morgan Bulkeley (1st National League chairman and future governor and U.S. Senator of
 Connecticut).29 Hulbert’s league eliminated any player control or interference over the mechanisms of
 business, contracts, rules, or disciplinary decisions. His overriding idea was to keep together the league as a
 monopoly. This action was after the tumultuous ride of National Association of Professional Baseball
 Players (1871-1876) and its battles for respectability in light of countless gambling rings, fighting,
 drunkenness, and contract jumping.30 In 1877, Hulbert took over as President of the National League until
 his death in 1882 after a one-year stint under a do-nothing Bulkeley.

         With Hulbert came the integrity and business sense
 that was ultimately needed to keep a league in operation, and
 maintain enough support (even when ball clubs reneged on
 agreements) to further the game along. Later, rival contingents
 from the American Association led by H.D. McKnight and
 Justus Thorner, the Union Association guided by Henry V.
 Lucas, and the Players’ League presided over by Colonel A.A.
 McAlpin were all be rebuked, but not without the wildly
 fluctuating fortunes of owners and players alike during the
 formation of these opposing leagues and the ensuing battles.31
         The American Association was the strongest of the
 competitors, due in part to its acceptance of Sunday baseball
 in 1882 which the National League disallowed through various
 “blue laws” (especially in Pennsylvania until 193432), and the          Morgan Bulkeley:
 settling on a workable ‘National Agreement’ that maintained     Figurehead of the fledgling National
 territories and avoided some player poaching. (The liquor and    League. Hulbert was the real force
 $.25 admission certainly helped their cause too.)                   behind the league’s survival.



       The agreement on boundaries was necessary as were the player’s contract validity. As John
 Montgomery Ward in Lippincott’s Magazine in 1886 reflects: “Ten years ago baseball was looked upon

 28
    Allen Lee. 100 Years of Baseball: The Intimate and Dramatic Story of Modern Baseball from the Game’s Beginnings Up to the Present
 Day. New York: Bartholomew House, Inc.; 1950. 28.
 29
    Zimbalist Andrew S. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley &
 Sons, Inc; 2006. 17 p.
 30
    Danzig A, Reichler J. The History of Baseball: Its Great Players, Teams and Managers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,
 Inc.; 1959. 42-43.
 31
    Danzig A, Reichler J. The History of Baseball: Its Great Players, Teams and Managers. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,
 Inc.; 1959. 48-53.
 32
    Morris Peter. A Game of Inches: The Game Behind The Scenes; Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2006. 343.
                                                                8

merely as a pastime…Three institutions – the National League, the reserve rule and the national agreement
– have changed entirely the nature of the game. What was formerly a pastime has now become a business,
capital is invested from business motives…”33 Maybe more importantly, it was the 33 teams operating in
three major leagues (National League, American and Union Associations) in 1884 that reflects purer the
extent of motivation of league developers and the voracity of players to compete for the salaries they
obtained, even if the market yet could not sustain this many professional teams. (By comparison: It took
58 seasons with only 16 MLB teams in existence before 4 teams were added in the early 1960s.)

          Albert Goodwill Spalding (1850-1915) utilized his preeminent standing in the game in the 1870s
as its greatest pitcher to further promote it as a down-to-earth but shrewd businessman who had little
tolerance for slapdash ballplayers. As the growth of game depended on intelligent decisions, he was a
driving force behind the dissolution of the National Association and was willing to put aside his
‘principles’ of contractual obligation for the betterment of the sport. (He secretly signed with Chicago
while still a member of Boston Red Stockings.)34 Soon after the league took off, Spalding and his brother,
J. Walter, opened up a sports store to provide equipment for what would become millions of customers,
and instituted, via ‘official’ rules printed in the National League Guide, that his baseballs were to be the
‘official’ game balls.35 (Al Reach used the same ball-supplying technique in the American Association.)

         Aside from these business aspects of baseball, most of the 1880s and 1890s was spent redefining
what the appropriate statistical measures would be (and how they were accomplished via the ground rules)
with the probable, indirect intent being to properly gauge individual performances of players, outside of
the team wins and losses, for the evaluation and procurement of talent. As Game of Inches baseball historian
Peter Morris points to an 1869 National Chronicle article: “Premiums will be paid to those who excel in the
special departments of the game as shown by regular statistics at the close of the season.”36
         Ownerships were always looking to attract players (often through player raids) to increase current
profits and make it possible to increase the size of ballparks (or rebuild old ones) for the furtherance of
profits, and expansion of the game. But it also eliminated one player pool completely for more than sixty
years, contrary to its overriding talent gathering and profit motive: African-Americans.

        This particular aversion to black ballplayers began in earnest in 1867 when the NABBP decided to
formally exclude all “colored persons” from clubs. This agreement was carried on by the future NAPBBP
via exclusion by a handshake agreement. Exceptions did arise throughout the 1870s and 1880s.
        Bud Fowler, Moses Fleetwood Walker, Weldy Walker (brother of Moses), Frank Grant, and
George Stovey are among the recorded men that played consistently against whites in the 1870s and 1880s
in various leagues, both major and minor.37 But when Adrian Constantine (Cap) Anson raised the racial
issue again38 in 1887 because George Stovey was to pitch an exhibition for a Newark team, the barrier was
erected again, and black ballplayers were banned from any Major League competition until 1947.
        George Stovey still holds the record for most wins (34) in the International League.39


33
   Zimbalist A. Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Big Business of Our National Pastime. New York: HarperCollins
Publishers, Inc; 1992. 5.
34
   Gentile D, Stats, Inc. The Complete Chicago Cubs: The Total Encyclopedia of the Team. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal
Publishers; 2004. 10.
35
   Gentile D, Stats, Inc. The Complete Chicago Cubs: The Total Encyclopedia of the Team. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal
Publishers; 2004. 11-13.
36
   Morris Peter. A Game of Inches: The Game Behind The Scenes; Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2006. 182.
37
   Peterson R. Only the Ball Was White. London: Prentice-Hall International, Inc.; 1970. 18-25.
38
   James Bill. The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers: From 1870 to Today. New York: Scribner; 1997. 23-26.
39
   White S, Malloy J. Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball, With Other Documents on the Early Black Game, 1886 – 1936. Lincoln,
Nebraska: The University of Nebraska Press; 1995. xx.
                                                      9

Table 1.1.1. League Champions and Ballparks from 1871 -1890
Year   League Champion             LG Wins Losses Ballpark Name
1871   Philadelphia Athletics      NA  21    7    Jefferson Street Grounds
1872   Boston Red Stockings        NA  39    8    South End Grounds I
1873   Boston Red Stockings        NA  43    16 South End Grounds I
1874   Boston Red Stockings        NA  52    18 South End Grounds I
1875   Boston Red Stockings        NA  71    8    South End Grounds I
1876   Chicago White Stockings     NL  52    14 23rd Street Grounds
1877   Boston Red Caps             NL  42    18 South End Grounds I
1878   Boston Red Caps             NL  41    19 South End Grounds I
1879   Providence Grays            NL  59    25 Messer Street Grounds
1880   Chicago White Stockings     NL  67    17 Lake Front Park I
1881   Chicago White Stockings     NL  56    28 Lake Front Park I
1882   Cincinnati Red Stockings    AA  55    25 Bank Street Grounds
                                                  Lake Front Park I/Lake
1882 Chicago White Stockings       NL  55    29 Front Park II                       Cap Anson: Among the
1883 Philadelphia Athletics        AA  66    32 Jefferson Street Grounds             best player-managers in
1883 Boston Beaneaters             NL  63    35 South End Grounds I                 the pre-modern era. Also
                                                  Polo Grounds I West               partly responsible for the
1884   New York Metropolitans      AA  75    32 Diamond                             tacit exclusion of African
1884   Providence Grays            NL  84    28 Messer Street Grounds                   Americans from the
1884   St. Louis Maroons           UA  94    19                                      Major Leagues for over
1885   St. Louis Browns            AA  79    33 Sportsman's Park I                      75 years. But by no
1885   Chicago White Stockings     NL  87    25 West Side Park I                     means the sole grouser
1886   St. Louis Browns            AA  93    46 Sportsman's Park I                       in the exclusion of
1886   Chicago White Stockings     NL  90    34 West Side Park I                        African-Americans.
1887   St. Louis Browns            AA  95    40 Sportsman's Park I                  Physically imposing, and
1887   Detroit Wolverines          NL  79    45 Recreation Park                      vocal, Anson also had a
1888   St. Louis Browns            AA  92    43 Sportsman's Park I                      hand in developing
1888   New York Giants             NL  84    47 Polo Grounds I
                                                                                       spring training rituals.
1889   Brooklyn Bridegrooms        AA  93    44 Washington Park I
                                                                                           Late in life, the
1889   New York Giants             NL  83    43 Polo Grounds II
                                                                                      immensely proud man
                                                                                           went bankrupt.
1890   Louisville Colonels         AA  88    44 Eclipse Park I
1890   Brooklyn Bridegrooms        NL  86    43 Washington Park II
1890   Boston Reds                 PL  81    48
Note: Lahman Database 5.6, The Baseball Encyclopedia, 7th Edition, 1988



                                    1.2. 1890 Player’s League
After more than a decade of squabbling over contract amounts, the reserve clause and classification of
ballplayers (the owners decided to put labels on their horses – based on ability and character), the players
formed their own league: The Players’ League. (A.K.A. The Brotherhood.)
        The Players’ League brought significant physical and mental talent from the National League and
American Association: King Kelly, Monte Ward, Buck Ewing, Charlie Comiskey, Ned Hanlon, Hugh
Duffy, Old Hoss Radbourn, Silver King, Tommy Corcoran, Dan Brouthers, and Fred Pfeffer, to name a
few, were either player-managing, or providing the star power at the dish, or on the bump.
                                                               10

         The league had a relatively close race with King Kelly managing the Boston Reds (81-48) over
Brooklyn Ward Wonders (76-56), New York Giants (74-57) and Chicago Pirates (75-62).
         Boston recorded 412 stolen bases. Brooklyn had only
272 stolen bases. Philadelphia and Cleveland had three
managers. And every team’s pitching staff completed over 100
games in the supernova league of Experimental Socialism. And
though the league lost $125,000, the National League lost more
than double that amount.40
         While in post-season negotiations, the Players’ League
folded into the National League without much of a fight, not
realizing that their plight had been modestly successful in
creating serious competition and near financial ruin for the
established National League. Al Spalding accepted the
unconditional surrender of the Players’ representatives.
         The end result: The Chicago team sold out to
Spalding. Boston, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, and New York
merged into the National League franchises. Philadelphia
gobbled up the American Association counterpart. Cleveland
and Buffalo disappeared. (With Cleveland soon back as
American League entry.)                                            Wee Willie Keeler: 8 straight seasons of
                                                                    200 hits. Began his MLB career in 1892.
         And with a different turn of events – knowledge of the extent of the National League losses – the
socialistically-minded Brotherhood League could have lived on, and replaced the National League, albeit,
with inevitable squabbles, and restructuring, and more competition from outside. (The hallmark of
professional baseball’s initial growth phase.)
         After the demise of this rival, the National League once again held its sway on the players and
offered little concessions in any scenario. Park attendance stagnated, more on-the-field conflicts arose,
while Boston and Baltimore made their pre-1900 dynasties in the new 12-team league formed. While a
decade of domination resulted, it became a weaker league ripe for challenge. (Even as the ill-fated
American Association could not muster out as competitive rival after the Player’s League capitulation.)

Table 1.2.1. First Dynasties of the Professional Leagues
     Years             Team                  Manager                         Best Player(s)                    League
1872-75      Boston Red Stockings      Harry Wright        A.G. Spalding, Ross Barnes, George Wright         Nat. Assoc.
1876-78      Boston Red Caps           Harry Wright        Tommy Bond, Deacon White                             NL
1880-86      Chicago White Stockings   Cap Anson           King Kelly, Cap Anson, John Clarkson                  NL
1885-88      St. Louis Browns          Charlie Comiskey    Artie Latham, Tip O'Neill, Bob Caruthers              AA
1891-93      Boston Beaneaters         Frank Selee         Kid Nichols, Herman Long, Hugh Duffy                  NL
1894-96      Baltimore Orioles         Ned Hanlon          Hugh Jennings, Willie Keller, John McGraw             NL
1897-98      Boston Beaneaters         Frank Selee         Jimmy Collins, Kid Nichols, Billy Hamilton            NL


By 1890, the United States had grown accustom to The Gilded Age of Mark Twain’s titling, but by no means
was unanimously happy for the course. The recovery of business was in no small part due to a healthy
taste of laissez-faire market principles that often ran amok, but which promoted the berwealthy and
monopolies that were either lauded by the beneficiaries, or derided by the lower social-economic strata.


40
  Bresnahan Jim [Editor]. Play It Again: Baseball Experts on What Might Have Been. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland &
Company, Inc; 2006. 20.
                                                              11

Yet, the United States was becoming a first-rate world power between the oceans, bringing millions of
immigrants to its shores for onerous work, and infrequently, the childlike play of sport.

        Democrat, and 22nd President Grover Cleveland did the
singular as a U.S. President: winning his first term in 1884 as a
Democrat after 24 years of Republican/Union party domination;
marrying the youngest 1st lady in Frances Folsom (21 years old),
who gave birth to Esther Cleveland, the only child born in the
White House; answering the phone at the White House at 3AM;
and losing the presidency, only to win it back in 1893, with his
running mate, Aldai Ewing Stevenson, grandfather of the future
Democratic nominee for President. President Cleveland lived on in
baseball history as the namesake of Grover Cleveland Alexander
(1887-1950) – 373 wins in the next century, tied for 3rd all-time.
Later, this Alexander of greatness was played in the movies by a
future Republican President.
          The United States dedicated the Statue of Liberty, a national
gift from France, in 1886. Joseph Pulitzer, new publisher of The
World, raised funds for the pedestal on which lady liberty stands.
The impetus for this symbol of freedom was born in the mind of
French historian Ędouard Laboulaye at the end of the U.S. Civil
War. Indeed, as the world gave us its tired, poor and huddled            Manager Harry Wright: In 1887,
masses, it also gave us its men and muscle to surpass all the nations he had all ready seen cosmic shifts to
of Europe and Asia as the premier trading power. Such American          the game, and the country. (Library of
freedom had an arduous price for those millions passing through                       Congress)
Ellis Island tempered only by their dreams of prosperity.

        Terms and events like the Mugwumps, the spoils system, the Haymarket Riot, the gold standard
and free silver swirled. The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 was passed to regulate railroads, but was
eclipsed and overshadowed in significance very early on. Ex-Indiana legislator Eugene V. Debs supported
the Pullman Strike of 1894 as rail cars were ignored and disrupted by the American Railway Union that
Debs had formed. Debs went to prison (twice), but also ran as a Socialist candidate for President five
times, winning more than 1 million votes in 1920, from behind bars. Debs’ trial lawyer for the rail case:
Clarence Seward Darrow.
        The Panic of 1893 saw over 15,000 business failures and put millions out of work. J.P. Morgan, Sr.
rescued the U.S. government from itself – taking on bonds issued and profiting as usual – while the battle
between ‘silverites’ versus ‘goldbugs’ waged on to Mr. Morgan’s further economic benefit.

         1896: Plessy v. Ferguson was decided with the “separate but equal” doctrine eroding the firm
intent of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (that was ratified after the Civil War). This decision
smoothed the way for more Jim Crow laws passed around the country for the next seven decades. (Creole
and “octoroon”41 Homer Plessy had boarded a train in New Orleans with the intent of being arrested for
violating an 1890 Louisiana statute of “separate cars.” New Orleans, by and large, was progressive in its
treatment of the race issue, especially with regard to baseball participation until the mid-1880s.42)

41
   Irons Pete. A People’s History of The Supreme Court: The Men and Women Whose Cases and Decisions Have Shaped Our
Constitution. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc; 1999. 224. An octoroon was then used to describe a person with seven white great-
grandparents and one who is black.
42
   Hogan Lawrence D. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball. Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic; 2006. 18-21.
                                                             12

       In 1898, the Spanish-American War began. Shouts to “Remember the Maine!” were a rallying cry
as Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders galloped up San Juan Hill, coming back a hero from the war, and soon
enough, President of the United States.
       And while the turn of the century lingered, professional baseball entered into another war of its
own that rounded out modern baseball for the 20th century, and beyond.

1890 – 1920: Pre-Negro Leagues
While the National League stood as the lone major league by 1895, black
baseball enterprises were sporadically launched throughout the country
during the next quarter century as predominately traveling teams. The
Page Fence Giants, Chicago Unions, Cuban X Giants, Original Cuban
Giants, Leland Giants, Philadelphia Giants, and the All-Havanas all left
behind names and legacies of great performances during the era. (Giants
was code for a “black” baseball team.)
        Cuban pitcher José Mendez – a.k.a. “Black Diamond” – whose
career started at 16, was oft compared to New York Giants’ ace Christy
Mathewson, leading teams such as the Cuban Stars to renown. By 1900,
such Cuban players were an integral part of black baseball, while playing
a more obscure, but vital, role in the majors for the Cincinnati Reds and
Washington Senators by the 1910s and through the 1940s.
       The obstacles to any of these professional players were still
onerous, especially when Nathaniel C. Strong took control of booking
games in the profitable New York area. Most black teams could not                        Moses Fleetwood Walker
make arrangements for field and promotions without white booking                         (1856-1924): 1884 played in
agents/promoters that held the rights to the fields. Strong’s power came                 the American Association for
out of Tammany Hall via Andrew Freedman (owner of New York Giants)                       Toledo. Played in 42 games
and Richard Croker, a political boss.43                                                  with 40 hits in 152 at-bats as a
(Tammany was most notorious under William “Boss” Tweed in 1871.)                         catcher that never knew what
                                                                                         his pitcher would throw.



        As a result, most teams were regionalized around “black” metropolitans – Chicago, Philadelphia
and the New York/New Jersey areas. The far West near Kansas City and the upper Midwest in Minnesota
and Michigan also provided more tolerant outlets for play, safe travel, and respect. The Deep South was
nearly barren of top teams this close to Reconstruction. But they did play – as later greats such as Satchel
Paige, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, and Hank Aaron blossomed out of the Deep South. (Side Note: As early
as 1869, an all-black team from Philadelphia (the Pythions) had defeated soundly an all-white team
constructed of mainly sport writers. If only this example had carried forward, what then of U.S. history?)




43
 Hogan Lawrence D. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball. Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic; 2006. 101.
                                                                13

                                     1.3. American League Formation
                                                       After a quarter century of operation, the National
                                                       League found a new competitor in major league
                                                       baseball, the Western League, headed by former
                                                       journalist Ban Johnson (1864 –1931). The Western
                                                       League had operated successfully as a minor league in
                                                       the 1890s – playing in the “old western” cities of
                                                       Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Milwaukee, among
                                                       others. Johnson though was received coldly; scoffed at
                                                       by the National League representatives; and ordered to
                                                       send in his fees for the National Agreement.44 This
                                                       response only served to embolden Johnson in reaching
                                                       his ambitions. Yet, as 19th century baseball historian
                                                       Peter Morris states: “Johnson moved with an astute
                                                       combination of speed and deliberateness.”45
                                                            Johnson recruited well his cohorts in forcing the
                                                       National League into acceptance of the American
                                                       League. Within these men, Ban found talent for
                                                       management and ownership (in both leagues) that
                                                       ruled baseball’s post season during the first three
  Ban Johnson: The man behind the                      decades of the twentieth century.
American League. (Courtesy of the Library
     of Congress, McGreevey Collection)

        Jimmy Collins (1870-1943), a star third baseman for the late 1890s dynastically-minded Boston
Beaneaters before becoming the draw for the Boston Americans, leading them to an inaugural World
Series victory while also stealing three bases in the tilt.
        Connie Mack (1862-1956), a weak-hitting, but strong defensive catcher in the National and
Players’ League, would own and manage his Philadelphia A’s for 50 years, racking up a 3,776-4,025 record
and five World Series wins. Mack was known for his ability to obtain quality personnel, analyze tendencies
of players, and dismantle championship rosters due to finances.46
         Charles Comiskey (1859-1931), a svelte and smart first baseman/manager in the American
Association and Players’ League of the 1880s and 1890s, innovator of outfield shifts47, became a stalwart
owner of the Chicago White Sox after joining Johnson’s ‘circuit committee’ in 1900-1901. Comiskey later
achieved malign and mockery for his team’s throwing of the 1919 World Series and his cheapskate
tendencies. Comiskey developed antipathy towards Johnson’s rule in the years to come.
        John McGraw (1873-1934), an irascible, sarcastic, tough-nosed, but often kind 3rd baseman for the
original Baltimore Orioles of 1890s, partnered with ex-catcher Wilbert Robinson (1863-1934) for a club
in Baltimore. (And the Diamond Café.) McGraw went onto immortality as the New York Giants manager
of 2,840 wins against only 1,984 defeats while appearing in nine World Series, winning three. His
management style was nearly dictator-like, allowing for little compromise in any player’s life on the field or

44
   Menke Frank G. The Encyclopedia of Sports: Third Revised Edition. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company; 1963. 75.
45
   Morris Peter. Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeepin Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of
Nebraska Press; 2007. 68-69.
46
   Angus Jeff. Management by Baseball: The Official Rules for Winning Management in Any Field. New York: HarperCollins
Publishers; 2006. 106-108.
47
   Golenbock Peter. The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of The St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. New York: Harper Entertainment; 2000.
20.
                                                               14

off, 48 which likely made McGraw’s fallout with Ban Johnson inevitable. McGraw also had the most
extensive scouting network in baseball in the Taft Era49, employing characters such as bird dog talent
evaluator Sinister Dick Kinsella.50 Robinson managed the Brooklyn Robins (so named for the manager, and
later changed to the Dodgers in 1932) from 1914-1931, appearing in two World Series. Both men, though
friends and business partners early on, came to loggerheads and create (if by mere accident) the heated
Giants – Dodgers rivalry. (Also inevitable given close the proximity of fans of both franchises.)
         To further Johnson’s strategy, after getting into continuous battles with the National League, he
raided players in 1901, offering higher salaries and multi-year contracts. This resulted in more talks, led by
A.G. Spalding for the Nationals and Ban Johnson for the Americans. This time, Spalding surrendered.
         As players like HOF 2B Napoleon “Larry” Lajoie (1874-1959) jumped ship to join the
American League, court battles ensued, further adding discord and tension. (Lajoie purposely avoided
Pennsylvania for years because of a standing violation of a court order to return to the Philadelphia Phillies,
even after the dust had settled. He played out the majority of his career in Cleveland until 1915, returning
to the Philadelphia Athletics thereafter.51)
         Coal magnate Charles Somers was Johnson’s main financier: owning most of the Cleveland Naps;
putting in cash to build a grandstand expansion in Chicago; plunking down $7,500 in Philadelphia to assist
Mack and ball maker Ben Shibe; and fronting cash in both Washington and Boston. (Connie Mack, Norman
L. Macht)

The Accidental Making of a Dynasty
The strong-willed personas of Johnson and McGraw predictably clashed, triggering (in part) McGraw’s
sale of his Baltimore stock to a 3rd party, who then sold it to John T. Brush, then Giants owner, and by
extension, the National League. McGraw jumped ship to manage the New York Giants, mid-season 1902.
When the National League released various players off the Baltimore club and aborted scheduled games in
order to kill the team, and the league, Ban Johnson could only rescue his vision via the mastery of the law.
A fortuitous clause in the American League charter kicked in, making worthless Brush’s $15,000
investment. The franchise’s ownership reverted back to American League and to a serendipitous move
from Baltimore to New York on Johnson’s part.
         A truce was reached in January 1903 – allowing for the separate leagues to consider World Series
play on a yearly basis and territorial rights to be meted out. (Aside from 1904 and 1994. In 1904, John
McGraw’s Giants refused to play the Boston Americans, American League winner. In 1994, a player’s
strike took place in August.) But the American League gained talent, begrudging respect, and never again
would be a ‘minor’ concern.
         Since then, the American League has won more World Series than the National League (62-43
through 2009) thanks in large part to the New York Yankees (27), who were an outgrowth of the defunct
Baltimore Orioles team in 1903, then renamed the Highlanders. The Highlanders finished 4th in their first
season (72-62) under the management of Clark Griffith (1869-1955), future Washington Senator owner,
and prior Chicago Colt pitching star and first Chicago White Sox manager. Ed Barrow (1868-1953), the
man who ran the 1st Yankees dynasty, and converted Babe Ruth to a hitter, was managing the Tigers then
to 5th place (65-71).




48
   Angus Jeff. Management by Baseball: The Official Rules for Winning Management in Any Field. New York: HarperCollins
Publishers; 2006. 106-108.
49
   McGraw had competition later on in the 1920s and 1930s as Branch Rickey and Ed Barrow would surpass McGraw as their multi-
tiered farm systems took over – and McGraw never won another title.
50
   Kerrane Kevin. Dollar Sign on The Muscle. New York: Beaufort Books, Inc.; 1984. 6.
51
   Menke Frank G. The Encyclopedia of Sports: Third Revised Edition. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company; 1963. 75-76.
                                                                 15

Modern Baseball
        Since 1903, both leagues have existed. Fighting on rules, internally on franchise locations and
ownerships, and with the players, often on the rights of men versus the rights of the ball teams. The
challenges to their supremacy as the top leagues have ceased to occur with regularity after nearly three
decades of strong challenges finally led to the inclusion of the powerful junior circuit.
        As with many other sports businesses, before and since, baseball had its several decades of trial and
error in growth and development of game standards before it came to a somewhat happy medium with
regard to recording statistics, and the firming up of ground rules.
        It established committees – The Special Baseball Record Committee and The Baseball Rules Committee – to
handle specifically the disagreements over record-keeping and ground rules. With their oversight, fifty-
seven changes were made to the ground rules (and to the official scoring records) prior to 1903 and the
joining together of the National and American Leagues for the first World Series.52
         Professional baseball leagues were only thirty-two years old, and extremely popular, being the only
(and first) closed professional sports leagues in America.53 Since that one score and twelve years, changes
have been made, but not with the same rapid pace and extreme modifications to the game. What we see
now is ‘the modern era’ of baseball, filled with modern conveniences and future technologies that continually
define all America’s life. Often to its good, but at times, to its ill – for both baseball and America.

Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson conversing about
what else: hitting. Ty Cobb ended up as the all-
time hit king (4,190 or 4,191 depending on the
most recent research) with a lifetime .366
average. Joe Jackson was 3rd all-time (.356) with
1,774 hits before his expulsion from the game
over the fixed results of the 1919 World Series.
Given he hit .375, with the series lone home run,
Joe did not give up that much to the Cincinnati
Reds. In 1920, he pounded out a .382 average
with 12 home runs and a league-leading 20
triples. Joe did not say it was so, but he did not
say it wasn’t so. (As it seems he was much more
accountable than romantically realized by his
defenders.)




                               1.4. The Statistics and The Era Played In
        The tracking of ordinary (and not so ordinary) statistics to determine who is considered the most
productive player (or team) of the day, the month, the season, or of a career has come to represent on
paper (and the computer screens) an essence of the pastime that is Major League baseball. This is not new.
Generations of fans have discussed daily which players are the best based upon their individual fielding,
pitching, base running, and most importantly of all: hitting. The comparisons and contrasts abound so

52
   Reichler J, editor. The Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Official Record of Major League Baseball. 7th Ed. New York: Collier
Macmillan Publishers; 1988. 2875.
53
   Zimbalist AS. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons,
Inc; 2006. 17.
                                                                       16

numerously because each individual fan values certain numbers more than the next one. And more so,
arguments are based on ‘stats’ obtained and recorded, but rarely scrutinized, without the extreme bias of
fandom and forgetfulness of real statistical anomalies present in obtainment of those stats. But baseball
would have it no other way, as noted baseball historian Robert Peterson surmised, “… statistics, the
lifeblood of the fascinating game of baseball.”54
        Very few, if any, professional sports are analyzed statistically with quite the same fervor as Major
League baseball. Though because of that fervor, the vast collection of statistics now seen in professional
football, basketball, hockey, golf, and tennis, one can see the overarching influence Major League baseball
has had on the compilation of ‘stats’ in those sports during the ESPN world of analysis in thirty-second
sound bites and the bygone years of flowery, poetic sportswriters such as Grantland Rice. Baseball has
also continually added to its vast array of statistics, almost to the point of ad nauseam, yet still retains a
fascinating aspect which fans and writers alike can argue over still in asking, “Who is the best player?”

Table 1.4.1. Hall of Fame Players and Pitchers from the Grant Era
Position Players        POS        G        AB        Hits       2B      HR    RBI     SB      Walks   SO     BA
Cap Anson                1B      2,523     10,277     3,418      581     97    2,076   276      983    302   0.333
King Kelly               C       1,455     5,894      1,813      359     69     950    368      549    418   0.308
Billy Hamilton          OF       1,591     6,268      2,158      242     40     736    912     1187    218   0.344
Dan Brouthers            1B      1,673     6,711      2,296      460     106   1,296   256      840    238   0.342
Buck Ewing             C/1B      1,315     5,363      1,625      250     71     883    354      392    294   0.303
Frank Chance           1B/C      1,287     4,297      1,273      200     20     596    401      554     29   0.296
Nap Lajoie             2B/1B     2,480     9,589      3,242      657     83    1,599   380      516     85   0.338
Hugh Duffy              OF       1,737     7,042      2,282      325     106   1,302   574      662    211   0.324
Ed Delahanty           OF/1B     1,835     7,505      2,596      522     101   1,464   455      741    244   0.346
Honus Wagner           SS/1B     2,792     10,430     3,415      640     101   1,732   722      963    327   0.327

Pitchers                     Games       GS    W     L        Shutouts   CG    Innings         K    BB ERA
Christy Mathewson             635        551   373   188         79      434   4,780.67      2,502 844 2.13
Joe McGinnity                 465        381   246   142         32      314   3,441.33      1,068 812 2.66
Addie Joss                    286        260   160   97          45      234   2,327.00       920 364 1.89
John Clarkson                 531        518   328   178         37      485   4,536.33      1,978 1191 2.81
Kid Nichols                   620        561   361   208         48      531   5,056.33      1,868 1268 2.95
Cy Young1                     906        815   511   316         76      749   7,354.67      2,803 1217 2.63
Jack Chesbro                  392        332   198   132         35      260   2,896.67      1,265 690 2.68
1. Holds record for most wins, losses, complete games and innings

       In the 1880s, Cap Anson, Dan Brouthers, John Clarkson, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Buck
Ewing, King Kelly, and Billy Hamilton would have been in the round of answers given. By 1903, Frank
Chance, Jack Chesbro, Joe McGinnity, Christy Mathewson, Nap Lajoie, Addie Joss, Kid Nichols, Cy
Young, and Honus Wagner wagged on the tongue. All saw induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.




54
     Peterson Robert. Only the Ball Was White. London: Prentice-Hall International, Inc.; 1970. v.
                                                   17

                                                     A Meeting of Legends: 2B Napoleon Lajoie (left)
                                                     and SS Honus Wagner (right). Lajoie was restrained
                                                     by court order from playing in Pennsylvania for
                                                     over half of his 21-year career. (Yet he must of
                                                     played on; in 1906, 1908, and 1910 he participated
                                                     in enough games to violate the order.) Lifetime
                                                     batting average: .339. Obtainment of walks: Scarce.
                                                     Likeable player: Not so much.
                                                             SS John Peter ‘Honus’ Wagner a.k.a. ‘The
                                                     Flying Dutchman’ was a quality guy on and off the
                                                     field. He led the National League in either batting
                                                     and/or slugging fourteen times. One of the first
                                                     players to obtain consistent endorsement contracts
                                                     for the pushing of various products. A century-old
                                                     tobacco baseball card of Wagner’s has been listed
                                                     well north of $500,000 in value. (Courtesy of the
                                                     Library of Congress, McGreevey Collection.)




        Their records have been washed away by time and modernization of their game – since they are the
true founding fathers of what we love – but a few records still do live on. But their era of baseball was
differentiated by equipment, game play, odd parks, ground rules, and often neglected, the exclusion of
good and great ballplayers due to race. Many purists should equally wonder if these men would be able to
handle the modern media attention, the large monies made, or the consistent pressure to win as mandated
by ownerships that are titularly ran by marketing and advertising gurus, and no longer by ex-players ‘who
happened into’ the sports business. Would this bygone era of players be able to compete in the modern
game and still set records?

        Equally famous as a sportswriter, and a dramatist, Damon Runyon wrote on July 9, 1912
presciently about eras, statistics, and glory:

       “Old-time fans seem to feel that there is a modern-day tendency to discredit the work of the
       baseball stars of long ago. [Rube Marquard’s 19 straight wins]…the old-timers of the game are
       entitled to much more credit for their accomplishments that their modern successors, just as the
       pioneers who blazed the path through the wilderness are entitled to more credit than descendants
       who live in peace and quiet as a result of the achievements of their forebears.
               [Charles ‘Old Hoss’ Radbourne had held the consecutive win record of 18 wins, but
       pitched in the pre-1900 era.]
               The style of pitching, or the distanced pitched, makes no particular difference – the
       physical and mental effort was there. It would be equally idle to contend that any modern-day ball
       club will match the record of (Cincinnati) Red Stockings of ’69 and ’70. The base running of the
       (Arlie) Lathams and (Billy) Hamiltons and (Harry) Stoveys of the bygone time will probably never
       be touched by modern-day players.
                                                                   18

                  [Until the color line was broken. Maury Wills, Lou Brock, and Rickey Henderson would
          reset the base running record books.]

                   Certain it is, too, that not many of the catchers of today would stand the gaff that the old-
          timers took – catching day in and day out without gloves or protectors.
                   Rube Marquard is a marvelous pitcher and has hung up a record that will probably stand
          for many years to come; he will probably be remembered for his work as long as they play baseball,
          but so, too, will the (John) Clarksons and the (Charles) Radbournes, and there is sufficient glory
          for all in their eras they represent.
                   But as for belittling the work of the old-time stars – NO, I wasn’t there to see them, but
          I’ve been told, and I believe.”55

         Certainly, the long-standing records are revered by ‘the purists.’ 60 (61)* home runs in a season,
.36656 batting average, 257 hits in a season, 56-game consecutive hit streak, 755 home runs in career and
511 wins by a pitcher are all venerated examples. But as master sports scribe Fred Lieb once stated:
“Records are made to be broken.”
          And as sure as the century turned to the 21st, many of these formerly revered marks were
assaulted, and surpassed, by a new generation of player not born during (or before) the Baby Boom
Generation (1946-1961), but more specifically, the surpassing of the lifetime home run records has
garnered the most antipathy.57 And when accusations, media attention, online and print articles mentioned
steroids and enhancements, the validity of these recent numbers obtained are intensely questioned,
haphazardly debunked, and forever labeled as ill-gotten to the sole benefit of the prior eras. (This is just as
unjust as ignoring the past accomplishments framed in their unique contexts.)
         To many onlookers, the old records in baseball mean so much more than the records set in today’s
environment. That is in part due to the recollections of a much older generations (as Runyon allowed) who
saw a Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Bob Feller, Warren
Spahn, Bob Gibson, or Sandy Koufax play live, starting back in the 1930s, or via television, beginning in
the early 1940s and continuing on through to the present day. They saw them as heroic, free of vises we
deplore today, and certainly outstanding beyond any normal player seen on the diamond.
         In The Hidden Game of Baseball, John Thorn and Pete Palmer also summarize this idea best: “In our
drive to identify excellence on the field (or off it), we inevitably look to the numbers as a means of
encapsulating and comprehending experience. This quantifying habit is a the heart of baseball’s hidden
game, the one ceaselessly played by [Nolan] Ryan and [Walter] Johnson and [Babe] Ruth and [Hank]
Aaron – and, thanks to baseball’s voluminous records… – in a stadium bounded only by the
imagination.” 58 In this expansive stadium of the mind, players are heralded as beyond mortal and worthy
of our daily praise.
         But the assumed jaded façade of the present day player has diminished his power to spark awe in
many fans through new records and achievements. The millions of dollars (the avarice vice not inherently
seen in the players of yester year) being paid out to play a game has sparked resentment and furthered
reasons to tear down the high-performing athletes at present. The brusque nature of a many players today
is also an additive feature, but once again, that is due more to our instantaneous media outlets reporting



55
   Reisler Jim [Editor.] Guys, Dolls and Curveballs: Damon Runyon on Baseball. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers; 2005. 81-82.
56
   Recent scholarly research adjusted Ty Cobb’s lifetime batting average from .367 to .366. For this writer’s entire youth, the average was
always quoted at .367.
57
   Ley Bob. Broadcaster. ESPN Outside the Lines: Steroid Investigation Continues. Connecticut: ESPN Programming; April 14, 2006.
58
   Palmer P, Thorn J. The Hidden Game of Baseball: A Revolution Approach to Baseball And Its Statistics. Garden City, New York:
Doubleday & Company; 1984. 2.
                                                                   19

than just their crass behavior alone.59 Lo, they are human, and have their bad days and unthinking
behaviors too. The old timers were no angels; they just had better publicity agents – the sportswriters.

        But that is exactly the reason why one should fairly assess the numbers and not the particular player
psychology (and misconceptions) driving such resentment. Or, at least discover if today’s ballplayer is
equal in some perspective to the glorified image of the old athletes. Or maybe put into a better light the
accomplishments of each generation (or era) of ballplayer, realizing each played under different ground
rules and recording methods. Or that the parts of the game, the scoring of runs, stoppage of runs,
developing talent, or maintaining performances has also seen a significant changes. That each ballplayer
does what he does in the ballpark he finds himself in, during the era he inhabits, and within the paradigms
he faces from management to the media’s whims.
        In searching for such comparisons, the contrasts may ultimately decide the remembrances we
should take from every generation of baseball player, not to disparage any accomplishments, but to frame
them properly in a more positive light.
        It is one of myriad of subjects to be reviewed by this book. To determine if any generation-to-
generation breakdown can be fairly (or uniquely) done when the many changes to the National Pastime
have been decidedly done without great foresight (or intense statistical regard) for what the records set
long prior to these alterations were and the lasting impacts on a future players’ place in the vast array of
baseball history.
        But maybe more importantly, incorporating the thoughts of other statisticians, players, general
managers, beat writers, scientists, and opinion makers can be more persuasive than the musings of a
novice writer and analyst are. Their voices come from countless games, numerous readings, and sharp
perspectives honed over years of following the American Pastime. But even the best analyst fails
sometimes to see another angle – blinded by methodology and bias – but hopefully, this will prove
informative, interesting, and entertaining.

     1. Some of the baseball factors/situations analyzed are:

          Ballpark Bias: Hitters in left or right-hand favorable ballparks
          Batting Averages: From left to right to switch hitting in an Era
          Bulk and Bashers: Introduction, efficacy, and the fear-mongering in the ‘Steroid Era’
          Equally Special: Players in an ERA (The Negro Leagues)
          Free Agency: The birth of the free market in baseball
          Money does not buy Happiness, Always: The ‘Moneyball’ perspective in regards to amateur
          scouting and general management
          Physics: Baseball composition to a liven up the game
          Role Change: Pitchers’ switch from one-man bands to a symphony of mediocrity on the mound
          Run Rabbit Run: Style of play induced by field surfaces (Astroturf in 1970s and 1980s)
          Runs: OBP and SLG%
          Runs to Attendance to Revenues relationship: ‘Putting Meat in the Seats’ analysis
          Salary Escalation: Inflation of the Salaries
          Stadium Builds: Ballparks built to increase attendance, or to cater to multi-millionaires?
          Swing or Miss: The increase in Strikeouts (K) in relationship to Walks, Home Runs, and Runs



59
  A review of the media exposure of ‘current events’ would reflect an instantaneous need to report stories not necessarily substantiated
thoroughly by a consistent methodology. More to the point, the media outlets refuse to acknowledge sloppy and jump-to-conclusions
assertions of facts and the common misconceptions passed along to society in a ‘slicked up’ language to garner ratings and advertisers.
                                                                                  20



                   Time Line for Baseball Era Definitions
                                                                                   Night Baseball,
                 1908 Roger Bresnahan:                     Spitball               Depression, WWII,             Strike Re-definition,
                 Shin Guards & padded mask.               outlawed,                  and Racial                 Moving West, Home runs,            Koufax,
                 Cork Center introduced in              Power Surge I,              Desegregation               no Stolen Bases and                Marichal,
                 1910, Taft throws out first             Attendance                                             Franchise Expansion                Drysdale
                 pitch, New ballparks                      increase
                                                                                         Jackie Robinson &
                                                                                            Larry Doby
                                                                                                                        Willie, Hank &
                                                                                                                        Mickey
                                                            The House that Ruth      Joltin’ Joe               The Boys of Summer
                 Tinkers            Federal League          Built                    & The Splendid Splinter
                 to Evers
                 to Chance   1908                    1921                     1935                       1950                       1963     Expanded
                                                                                                                                            Strike Zone

               Jim                                                                                                  New ‘Old-time’ parks,
             Maloney,           Offensive Drought,                Increased Salaries,                            Power Surge II, Steroids and
               Sam                 Free Agency,                Astroturf, Amphetamines,                            Weightlifting, Wildcard,
            McDowell,           Rawlings takes over               Speed over Power,                                  Exponential Salaries
           Jim Bunning            production of                 Cookie Cutter ballparks                         and Technology fuels analysis of
                &               Baseballs and More                                                                        the game
           Bob Gibson            Team Expansion                                   Sabermetrics
                                          Ball Four         Baseball Abstract
                                                                                                                  George Mitchell   Bases Loaded
                                                                                                                  Juiced
                             1964                    1977                     1991                       2005                                 2009
                                                                                                                                           Roger Clemens
                                                                                                                                           Alex Rodriguez
                                                                                                      Steroids: Not the                    Barry Bonds
                                        Curt Flood                                                  Direct Cause of Power                  Jason Giambi
                                     Andy Messersmith
                                                                                                           Surge II                        Miguel Tejada
                                      Dave McNally
                                                                                                                                           Mark McGwire




       2. The Eras to be discussed and measured:
           TAFT/COOLIDGE ERA (1908 – 1935) – Introduction of a Livelier Baseball, 1st Generation
          Concrete-and-Steel ballparks, Babe Ruth, Unfortunate Racial Segregation policies, Establishment of
          Commissioner’s office
           FDR ERA (1936 –1949) – Interrupted by WWII and initially marred by segregation policies (April
          15, 1947 – Jackie Robinson plays 1st MLB game and scores deciding run in a 5-3 victory over the
          Boston Braves.)60, Night baseball, Radio, and TV change the fan’s connection to the game
           IKE ERA (1950 –1963) – Strike Zone re-definition, New Players, Expansion, and Franchises
          Moving to the West Coast
           LBJ ERA (1964 – 1977) – Dominate Pitchers, 2nd generation Ballparks, Stolen Base Revival, Rule
          Changes, Free Agency and Strikes
           REAGAN ERA (1978 – 1991) – Astroturf, Speed, Home Runs comes back, Increased Player
          Movement, Competitive Balance and Collusion
           CLINTON ERA (1992-2005) – Money, 3rd Generation Ballparks, Performance Enhancing Drugs
          (PED)
           BUSH ERA (2006-2009) – Fallout from the Steroid Era, Applying lessons, and Future Stars


60
     Mowbray K. Publisher. The Northwest Indiana Times 2006 April 15; Sect C: 6.
                                                                21

     3. General Methodologies to be used:
     o Graphs of ERA-to-ERA differences
     o Statistical Process Control to define processes that have changed (ERA definition)
     o Linear Regression / Multiple Linear Regression
     o Era-to-Era Statistics of players by position
     o Biographical Information of players/executives from established, well-respected sources
     o Access Databases, Queries and Excel Worksheets61
     o Internet Searches of Major League Baseball Information
     o Network & Radio Interviews posted on video websites (Youtube.com)

         The definition of each era (FDR, IKE, etc.) was determined by ground rules, technology
modifications, or off-the-field dealings that took place distinctly at/near the beginning, or end, of each
period.
         Starting in 1908, tarpaulin was purchased and used by the Pittsburgh Pirates.62 A year earlier, shin
guards and padded facemask were first incorporated by Roger Bresnahan63 to the delight of any man that
has don them in a game. This after various attempts failed to incorporate them from the 1870s on. In
December 1908, the baseball writers, long since influential, formed their final union, the Base Ball Writers’
Association of America.64 By 1910, the baseball was modified (the cork center) to the delight of fans and
some players. Ben Shibe, who opened the first concrete-and-steel ballpark, had designed the new ball65 and
pushed ahead the new stadium builds. It is these changes that define the start of the first era of the modern
game – by rounding out the modern catching style, providing a way to protect the field, and new
grandstands that could survive for over 90 years – and set the benchmarks for the modern game informed
by the sportswriters, and soon, selectors of Hall of Fame players.
          In 1919-20, Babe Ruth came to national attention and ownerships reaped the rewards (even after
the Black Sox scandal.) By 1922, the Ruthian shift in offense was complete and modern baseball now
included the home run as a primary weapon that has never disappeared from the consciousness of baseball
fanatics. During this time, Branch Rickey came into greater influence as he held tryouts for talent
procurement for the St. Louis Cardinals. Sportswriter Grantland Rice took the mike for 1921 World Series,
the first World Series broadcasted to three radio stations.66
         In 1935, baseball came under the lights and Babe Ruth had finished an influential career. Joe
DiMaggio replaced Babe’s star in New York and the Great Depression was beginning to lose its
unfortunate hold on America. Radio stirred millions, and a new medium, television, launched in this era to
the delight and, sometimes, the derision of fans. 1936, the first inductees into the newly formed Hall of
Fame in Cooperstown, New York were received. Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe
Ruth, and Honus Wagner made up that first class. WWII interrupted the normalcy of the game, but the
game survived, and flourished, soon after the boys came home in victory. Attendance again soared at the
games, but also brought new conflicts to the forefront: Equality.
         1950 saw a total re-definition of baseball: the strike zone and the early stages of racial integration
revolutionized the sport. The home run came to be nearly the only weapon teams used with stealing nearly
a lost art for the average player. The long ball hitters of the era soon owned the record books: Henry Louis

61
   Baseball Statistics [1871-2005]. Lahman S, Editor. Access Database, Edition 5.3. Rochester, NY: Baseball Archive Website; 2005. 25
MB. http://www.baseball1.com, Website; 5/01/2006.
62
   James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001. 78.
63
   James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
377.
64
   Treat Suzanne, Turkin Hy, Thompson SC. editors. The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball. 5th edition. South Brunswick and New York:
A.S. Barnes and Company; 1970. 621.
65
   James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001. 90,
94.
66
   Morris Peter. A Game of Inches: The Game Behind The Scenes; Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2006. 147.
                                                     22

Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, and Ernie Banks were to be
amongst the greatest at Dialin’ 9 for long distance. This era also saw teams leave their roosts for populated
areas west. New York City was no longer the dominant power source of sports, as two historic teams left
for California in the late 1950s, following the suburban growth and the newly minted interstates
crisscrossing America.
          The early 1960s saw league expansion to twenty teams, a 162-game schedule, and strike zones and
mounds being tweaked once again. Both leagues’ offenses altered again, with the ‘reintroduction’ of the
stolen base to buttress a declining output of runs scored by teams. (With thanks to Maury Wills and his
new stolen base record in 1962.) The beginning of a 6-year battle against the reserve clause was launched
on Christmas Eve, 1969. (The free agency present was opened as the nation marked its bicentennial and
the National League’s centennial anniversary.)
           By the late 1970s, as ownerships lost their battle for the reserve clause to free agency, the game
continued to add teams (now 26), its attendance, but also, the conflicts. The Bronx Zoo, the 1978 Yankees,
began the run of 10 different teams winning the World Series. But they were a microcosm of the new
game: a meddlesome owner, a fiery and firewater-abusing manager, a diva slugger, and a never-dull-
moment clubhouse fueled for and by reporters. The mass media became an ever-present thorn of quick
sound bites to be exploited and disseminated. And sports junkies were satiated, even when annoyed.
          Ownerships colluded to hold down salaries on newly minted free agents in the mid 1980s, leaving
seeds of distrust, while players were also outed as drug abusers. ‘Charlie Hustle’, Peter Edward Rose, was
found gambling on baseball, the ultimate baseball sin going back to the 1870s. His punishment:
ineligibility for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, and honor he did so richly deserve as a player.
Yet, pride went before the fall into the media.
           The 1990s saw new ‘old-time’ ballparks built, more teams (30), playoff restructuring, vastly
increasing revenues, and the growing storm of steroids. By 2005, the story in baseball was not about
player’s heroics and playoff races, but the cheating through performance enhancing drugs (PED) and
home run records with asterisks by them. At the heart of the matter, Barry Lamar Bonds came under
intense public and governmental scrutiny, leading to a federal investigation of perjury, obstruction of
justice, and tax evasion whilst a baseball inquiry led by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell
looked into the entire Steroid Era. The Mitchell Report introduced us to a bevy of evidence against these
heroes of the bat and ball.
          In 2009, the seven score addiction of baseball saw its highest paid player, Alex Rodriguez, have a
come-to-Jesus moment in front of millions while talking to Peter Gammons about his usage of steroids.
A-Rod admitted his use, after it was made public that 104 players had tested positive for controlled
substances during a MLB-sponsored confidential testing program, and a tell-all A-Rod screed was about to
reach the book-buying public. Manny Ramirez was ensnared in the steroid scandal – the first HOF-type
player suspended for 50 games during a season for a banned substance tied to performance enhancement.
          And as the Aughts became the Teens, Mark McGwire broke his own PED story to broadcaster
Bob Costas. McGwire’s 1998 home run battle with Sosa triggered much of the recent dismay with baseball
players’ statistics. Big Mac’s admission of guilt came out as self-serving – given the skeptical public
environs of 2010 – and the jury has long since made its decision about his career.

          The game has never ceased to evolve into a different sport with plenty of dark spots to be
scrutinized while still playing in the sultry afternoon sun. Each generation has also become enthralled with
the game in its own way – sometimes overlooking the obvious problems, other times, like now, focusing
all its efforts on fixing the broken pieces – and yet, it has supported the players by coming to the park year
after year.
          Even in its darkest moments, during the Great Depression and World War II, when the fate of the
nation hung in the balance, baseball, survived, and grew stronger with new visions of athleticism, integrity,
and teamwork shining brightly beyond that finest of hours and greatest of generations.
                                                      23

        And with that said, the statistics drive home the accomplishments of the past, present, and the
future ballplayers. Measurements to the past will endure; but their play, often forgotten, and their eras,
should never be ignored.

        Play Ball!



                                             John Franklin ‘Home Run’ Baker (left): Led American League
                                             in home runs four times (11,10,12,9), but swiped more than triple
                                             the amount of stolen bases (38,40,34,19) for those same years
                                             under Connie Mack. Later played for the New York Yankees
                                             (1916-1922) in the waning years of his career when Babe Ruth
                                             came along and rewrote the Home Run record book. (Courtesy of
                                             the Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection.)




Denton True ‘Cy’ Young: Born two
years before the start of professional
baseball, Young dominated and defined
what the pitching position was in the
Grant Era. He put the all-time record for
wins (511) out of reach; switch leagues
like many National League stars in 1901;
and continued to complete what he
started, only failing 64 times out of 815
starts to go the distance. In 1908
(pictured right), Cy went 21-11 with a
1.26 ERA. It was his last as a twenty-
game winner. (Library of Congress, George
Grantham Bain Collection.)
                                                             2
                   TAFT/COOLIDGE ERA (1908 –1935)
    Establishment of Anti-
    Trust Exemption
    Babe Ruth and the Live
    Ball Era
    The Roarin’ 20s and
    financial windfalls
    The Great Depression
    All Star Games
    Night Baseball
                                                                                                   Babe Ruth
                                                                               National 1933 All-Star
                                                       1921 WS: 1927           League     Game:Babe
          Connie Mack: A’s toast                       1st Radio  NY Yankees: Offense:                    Night Baseball
                                                                                         goes deep first at MLB level
          Of town, $100,000 infield                    Broadcast Murderers’    Ball          3-time       becomes a
                                                       By G. Rice Row          Modified?
     Ball          World War I :                                                             Bridesmaids:  lasting reality
1908 modified 1914 Park Attendance                   Professional Negro     Philadelphia A’s Chicago Cubs

                   Drops                             Leagues are developed

                        Decade of the                 Roarin’ 20’s: Offenses carried
                        Boston Red Sox                By home run and attendance
        1910                                  1919    Rises to all-time highs
                                                                                     1929        1932          1935
Modern        The Federal League
Catcher:      fights for existence, then   Black Sox Scandal :                  The Great Depression hurts all fans, most
Roger         sues for damages                                                  ballplayers and some owners
Bresnahan
                                           Eight Men Out
Chicago Cubs vs. John McGraw                    Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis
Best MLB Players: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Roger Hornsby, Walter Johnson, Frank Baker, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner
                                                              Eddie
Tris Speaker, Pete Alexander, Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson, Eddie Collins, Carl Hubbell, Mordecai Brown




               …But here the pitcher whirled again – was that a rifle shot?
           A whack – a crack – and out through the space the leather pellet flew:
                 A blot against the distant sky – a speck against the blue.

                   Above the fence in center field in rapid whirling flight
              The sphere sailed on – the blot grew dim and then lost to sight;
             Ten thousand hats were thrown in air – then thousand threw a fit –
                   But no one ever found the ball that mighty Casey hit.

                    - From The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball, 5th Revised Edition,
                                         Casey’s Revenge by James Wilson
                                                     25

By 1908, the United States was a world power while using, amongst other things, a tour of battleships to
reflect its bourgeoning military might on the high seas. The bulk of the Panama Canal project was
completed during Taft’s administration with the usefulness of the canal carrying the United States well
during World War II, allowing ships to move material between two vast oceans.
         The U.S. automotive industry was born in 1908 with Henry Ford’s Model T. General Motors, led by
William C. Durant, organized and became the primary competitor of Ford for years to come. In that same
year, Walter P. Chrysler bought his first car; headed up the Buick division of GM by 1912; then retired as a
VP at General Motors by 1919; only to start his own car company in 1925. The Big Three formed the
backbone of America’s manufacturing might, churning out tanks during WWII, and producing countless
memories for millions of Americans, young and old alike.




            An Assembly Line and Henry Jones Ford: Made their name during the Taft Era
                        (Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection)

        John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company was split up in 1911 due to the Sherman Antitrust Act
while baseball was granted an exemption from these antitrust laws.
        As Rockefeller was apt to criticize back the scribes of his day, four sportswriters debut in New
York, shaping the landscape of baseball in their words pen from on high in the press box: Grantland Rice,
Heywood Broun, Fred Lieb, and Damon Runyon. Their works in the Pultizer-Hearst world of newspapers
gave fans the scoop and the dope on their favorite players, managers, execs, and troublemakers.
Sometimes all in one human package. Fans got answers to the whys, with flare and force and fluidity, and
these sportswriters garnered Hall of Fame admission, still 27 years into the future as an institution. And
the flourishing flotilla of phonics masters in all sports was rounding into its heyday. The sportswriters ran
roughshod at the press with Ring Lardner leading the round ball roundup.
        In 1913, the 16th amendment gave the government the right to levy income taxes that has
continually been a source of debate as to who should pay and how much they should pay since the very
inception of “the law.” It was U.S. Representative Carter Glass that sponsored the bill for the central
banking system we call the Federal Reserve. And Glass’s name came to prominence again in the years to
come.

         The NAACP was founded in 1909 – on Lincoln’s 100th birthday – and was at the forefront of
actions to advance colored persons in business, education, social welfare, and entertainment industries.
Antipathy ran high amongst nearly all whites that even as Jack Johnson pounded James L. Jeffries in the
first interracial heavyweight championship on July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nevada, former champ John L.Sullivan
commented in an editorial piece for The New York Times:
                                                               26

           “The Negro had few friends, but there was no real demonstration against him…I have never
           witnessed a fight where I was in such a peculiar position. I all along refused to announced my
           choice as to the winner…I refused on Johnson’s account, because of my well-known antipathy to
           his race, and I didn’t want to think I was favoring him from any other motive than a purely
           sporting one.”1

          Professional baseball ignored many great, early black ballplayers just because they were not seen as
“hued correctly,” but were a driving impetus for social change in the years to come. (Jack Johnson later
escaped imprisonment on The Mann Act, leaving the United States on a Negro baseball team and remained
a fugitive for over a decade.)
         At this juncture in America, D.W. Griffith’s epic, The Birth of a Nation, depicted African-Americans
in a light that can only be described as demeaning, mean-spirited, and heinously wrong-headed, but in this
era, accepted by most white Americans. Then President Woodrow Wilson did not condemn the depiction.
Meanwhile, the Great Migration began as southern African-Americans moved north to metropolitan areas,
bringing strong backs, persevering wills, and exceptional talents to all avenues of enterprise.
         World War I’s linchpin action came about with the assassination Archduke Francis Ferdinand of
Austria-Hungary on June 28, 1914. The tensions in Europe that led to war developed via excessive
national pride, military buildups, alliances that required military support, and desires to garner more
colonial lands on other continents, namely Africa. The United States stood on the sidelines, invoking
neutrality, until various German naval actions (the sinking of the British passenger ship Lusitania which
carried 128 Americans) stirred President Wilson and Congress to declare war on April 6, 1917.
         The doughboys of America barely numbered the heinous casualties seen in a day’s battle at the
Somme, so unprepared the country was for the conflict. Meanwhile, the Bolshevik Revolution took place
in the fall of 1917, sidelining the Russians for the remainder of the war. The Germans took the offensive
on the Western Front, increasing the urgency of manpower needed from America. This forced baseball
owners and players begrudgingly into the war effort, though some volunteered quickly as the 1918 World
Series was the only ever ‘Summer Classic” held between September 5th and September 11th.
         This war gave rise to the newest, soon-to-be, commercially successful idea: the airplane. Thought
mainly used as an observer during the war, with only minute successes as a bomber, the airplane in the
1920s was a beloved object of wealthy millionaires, such as Howard Hughes, and a source of national
pride, with The Spirit of St. Louis historic flight to Paris. The airplane became an essential part of Americana
during the next 75 years along with its ground technology partner, the automobile.
         After the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the United States entered the Roarin’ Twenties with an
optimistic, devil-may-care attitude throughout society. Even with Prohibition, bootleggers more than
supplied the country with alcohol. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) was born in 1922. The silent motion
pictures and nickelodeons converted to “talkies” in 1927 with Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer. Walt Disney
introduced us to Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie. Flappers went to speakeasies. The Jazz Age was born.
And a Ford automobile benchmarked a man’s wealth during these carefree times after “the war to end all
wars.” The country had ‘arrived’, if only, prematurely.
         In sport, horseracing was Man O’ War and Sir Barton’s turf. The 1924 Olympics were held in Paris,
with American swimmer Johnny Weismuller of Tarzan fame and British sprinters Abrahams and Liddell,
honored later in Chariots of Fire, becoming iconic athletes. Boxing had Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney in
the ‘long count’ fight. Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen were the best in golf. Football had the ‘Galloping
Ghost’, Red Grange, who later played for the ‘Monsters of the Midway’ ran by ex-Yankee right fielder
George Halas. And the ‘Four Horsemen’ galloped over their opponents under Knute Rockne whose
coaching career was immortalized by future President Ronald Reagan in 1940.
         Baseball only had ‘The Bambino’ supplanting ‘Papa Bear Halas’ in that Yankee right field.

1
    Vecchione Joseph J. [editor] The New York Times Book of Sports Legends. New York: Random House; 1991. 140.
                                                    27


        The 1920s saw F. Scott Fitzgerald write This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby. Ezra Pound began
Cantos, never to complete his work. Edward Estlin (e.e.) Cummings releases visual poetry in Tulips and
Chimneys. John Dos Passos gave us a metropolis ride in Manhattan Transfer. And Hemingway’s The Sun Also
Rises and A Farewell to Arms portrayed further the ideas of this Parisian-living Lost Generation.
        In 1925, the Scopes Trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee. Clarence S. Darrow, who garnered fame
as defense attorney of presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs in the 1894, defended John T. Scopes, while
William Jennings Bryan, 3-time runner up for President took up the prosecutorial role as an “expert
witness.” Darrow dismantled verbally the great orator and statesmen Bryan on cross-examination, but
Bryan, nonetheless, won “the monkey trial” to the tune of a $100 fine. Bryan died during the trial’s recess.
And the Evolution vs. Creationism debate continues on to this day in the editorial pages.

October 1929: The world of excess and
widening disparity in income meets the
world of wanting, and no income at all, as
the stock market crash careens into the
1930s as The Great Depression. The decade
sees millions upon millions struggle for
food and survival. No aspect of society is
left completely untouched – as many
people wandered in and out of hobo jungles
and propped up tin cans into Hoovervilles.
(Right: An awestruck crowd after The
October 1929 Crash)




         Various reasons for the October 1929 market crash were clearly visible in that over 500 banks
failed in 1928-29, farmers’ income stagnated or fell throughout the 1920s, overproduction of goods led to
higher inventories while some of the factory workers borrowed too much on credit to buy items made.
Meanwhile, speculators pumped up stocks in the late 1920s to the point of overpricing the entire market
via the process of borrowing on margin. Margin calls came – and the money was not available to settle
accounts. Once the cracks appeared in the market, doom was imminent via a massive sell off, government
inaction, and later, protectionist policies. The economy tumbled downward by over 40% of GDP until
Roosevelt took office in 1933 – only to rebound modestly to pre-1929 levels by 1937. A banking backstop
and regulator was created via the Glass-Steagall Act that was enacted to delineate “commercial banks”
from “investment banks” and also created the FDIC for consumer protection.
         Across the Atlantic Ocean, a vicious man rises out of the ashes of prison to become leader of
Germany, and escalates the bitterness in the country over World War I, which has left the country in
shambles, and responsible for enormous war reparations, and later, as equal sufferers in the Great
Depression. From this, the seeds are sown for ripening into World War II. 50 million casualties result.

        But before the Titanic made its maiden voyage, and WWI started, professional baseball was in high
gear as America’s favorite pastime. President William Howard Taft started an annual tradition of throwing
                                                                28

out the first ball before the Opening Day game while new ballparks were being built in Chicago,
Washington, and Philadelphia to the delight of the burgeoning fan base in metropolitan areas.
        Baseball had not yet become the home run-seeking, free-swinging,
technology-laden game we relate to with both marvel and disdain. In fact,
no other ‘modern’ era generated more stolen bases per season per team
(in the Taft Era). Speed and base running was a great asset – it had to be –
since many ballparks boasted centerfields over 450 feet (and a few
reportedly over 550 feet).2 Players ran the circuit often to get home runs,
as Tyrus Raymond Cobb proved in winning his only HR title by hitting 9
‘parkers’ in 1909.3 (892 Lifetime Stolen Bases, 3rd All-time to Rickey
Henderson and Lou Brock.)

Table 2.0.1. Average Stolen Bases per
American League Team for 14-year periods
ERA                                         Stolen Bases
Taft (1908 –1921)                                  168.50
Coolidge (1922–1935)                                79.55
FDR (1936 –1949)                                    61.55
IKE (1950 –1963)                                    47.54
LBJ (1964 – 1977)                                   85.35
Reagan (1978 – 1991)                               103.62
Clinton (1992 – 2005)                              100.57
Note: Not Adjusted for 154/162                                                                       Ty Cobb, Master of the
game schedule differences                                                                        stolen base in the Taft Era (Bain
                                                                                                            Collection)

The Federal League and Wrigley Field
For a short time, the Federal League existed (1914 and 1915) – and still exists today in the form of Wrigley
Field – but an unfortunate economic fight for the league’s existence decided its fate along with countless
other baseball ‘minor leagues’ that were not directly competing with the American and National League, but
faltered anyways.
        Led by James Gilmore, a smooth operator who could sell ice cream in Antarctica, “Gilmore’s
League” was well funded by men that were not ordinary haberdashers, but industrialists with significant
means. Men such as Philip Ball ($2 million), Robert Ward ($6 Million), Edward Gwinner ($500,000) and a
Baltimore favorite, Ned Hanlon, were pulled into the baseball wars that continued between team owners,
leagues, players, and executives in all capacities.4
        The Federal League’s birth faced obstacles not only from the baseball leagues it intruded on, but
also from new entertainment options. Baseball historian Lee Allen suggests (and declining attendance prior
to World War I supports) that when the Federalists made their move into the baseball business arena, the
game was facing outside threats to its bottom line from the burgeoning movie industry, the automobile
driving craze, and other pursuits that pulled fans away from the game making it an unwise investment to
start up a 3rd league of eight teams. Additionally, with the building of new concrete-and-steel supported
ballparks, people became more cognizant of the business aspects of the game.5
2
  Leventhal J, MacMurray J. Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present. New York: Black
Dog & Leventhal Publishers; 2006. 16.
3
  Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 84.
4
  Levitt Daniel R. Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees’ First Dynasty. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2008. 89-
90.
5
  Allen Lee. 100 Years of Baseball: The Intimate and Dramatic Story of Modern Baseball from the Game’s Beginnings Up to the Present
Day. New York: Bartholomew House, Inc.; 1950. 180-181.
                                                                29

          The league though did make a valiant attempt to undermine (or force inclusion) into the
professional baseball game as Zimbalist offers, “The FL eschewed the reserve clause and pursued long-
term contracts in its stead…According to one account, as many as 221 players defected to the FL during
1914-15.”6 Sixty years before free agency was a realization, the two-year foray of the Feds was innovative,
if ill-conceived. (As the Table below suggests.)

Table 2.0.2. 1914 Profit Summary (Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees’ First Dynasty)7
City              National League       American League        Federal League International League
New York             $120,000             ($20,000)
Chicago               $50,000              $70,000                 $20,000
Brooklyn             ($25,000)                                    ($60,000)
Philadelphia         ($20,000)               $18,000
St. Louis             $30,000               ($10,000)             ($50,000)
Boston                $90,000                $75,000
Cleveland                                   ($80,000)
Baltimore                                                          $10,000               ($43,000)
Pittsburgh            ($30,000)                                   ($38,000)
Montreal                                                                                 ($40,000)
Detroit                                      $30,000
Buffalo1                                                          ($30,000)
Toronto                                                                                  ($30,000)
Cincinnati            ($5,000)
Newark                                                                                   ($30,000)
Washington                                  ($15,000)
Jersey City1
Kansas City                                                       ($40,000)
Indianapolis                                                       $12,000
Providence                                                                               ($12,000)
Rochester1
Totals                $210,000               $68,000             ($176,000)             ($155,000)

1. Not Available for International League Teams (but likely greater than -$15,000)
Other Note: (Levitt) noted that the losses in these leagues were much greater than reported via
various sources compiled during the time frame such as The New York Times & The Sporting News


        After the Federal League’s demise, and significant losses, litigation was initiated in a District of
Northern Illinois Federal court in front of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who was not necessarily a
proponent of monopolies (1907 Standard Oil anti-trust decision) but did favored baseball’s monopolistic
policies nonetheless.8 As one quote by Landis reflects, “Any blows at the thing called baseball would be
regarded by this court as a blow to a national institution.”9 Thus began a symbiotic relationship that lasted
between baseball and Landis for the remainder of his life.
6
  Zimbalist Andrew. Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Big Business of Our National Pastime. New York: HarperCollins
Publishers, Inc; 1992. 9.
7
  Levitt Daniel R. Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees’ First Dynasty. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2008.
Appendix, Table 4.
8
  Zimbalist Andrew S. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley &
Sons, Inc; 2006. 27.
9
  Golenbock Peter. Wrigleyville: A Magical History Tour of the Chicago Cubs. New York: St. Martin's Press; 1996. 166.
                                                               30

Origins of Wrigley Field: Charles Weeghman owned fifteen luncheon restaurants in Chicago with long,
profitable lines. He soon bought the land between Waveland, Clark, Sheffield, and Addison from the
Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary known as 1060 West Addison, A.K.A., Wrigley Field. He erected
'Weeghman Park' for $250,000, hiring architect Zachary Taylor Davis who had designed Comiskey Park.
With the abolishment of the Federal league, two teams – the Chicago Whales and St. Louis Federals –
were absorbed into the majors as the Chicago Cubs (with Weeghman and Harry Sinclair of Sinclair Oil as
owners) and the St. Louis Browns (Phil Ball).
        Weeghman, born Veichman, though suffered financially as war preparations cut into his
restaurants’ menu. Government austerity measures instituted by Hoover’s Food Administration,
“wheatless, meatless, and porkless” days, turned this once successful businessman into a bankrupted soul
by August 1920.10 The team got a new owner in Wrigley, and a name forgotten as the first label on the
soon-to-be ivy-kissed walls.

         But most importantly, to the statistical discussion, this era lays the foundation, or a baseline, for
future analysis. Strikeouts and walks are reflected in player statistics for the first time in 1910 – something
of distinct interest now, but then the viewpoint was, “The figures are of no special value or
importance…except as they may indicate in a vague way his ability to ‘wait out’ or ‘work’ the pitcher.”11
(Referring to the obtainment of walks.) Ultimately though, this era reflects the first major offensive change
in modern major league baseball: the introduction of policies that created a ‘more livelier’ and ‘fair’
baseball game in 1920 Season.


                               2.1. Hitting: Babe Ruth and Power Surge I
With World War I over, baseball resumed play with the hope of normalcy. As it turned out, baseball was
about to embark on a new philosophy in game play, leaving behind the mantra of just stealing bases and
contact hitting. But even this on-field change was a product of differing edicts and courses set by the
actions and whims of two men. One who was championed to rescue the game after the Black Sox scandal
of 1919, and the other came bright-eyed to the joy of the institution of baseball, without education, or
philosophical desires, other than his hedonistic wishes.

        Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944) was not a man that positively inspired people with his
demeanor and presence as one quote from The Big Bam reflects, “He was an odd, foul-mouthed little man,
an ego-driven, tobacco-chewing puritan with electric white hair shooting out of his head, a hanging judge
with the wrath of God carved across his face.”12 Ford Frick, a future commissioner of baseball, NL
president, and then, sportswriter spoke similarly: “He was one of the most profane men I ever heard in my
life…Once he was talking about his golf game…and somebody asked how he had done. He said, ‘I
bitched my drive, boogered my mashie, [and] I fucked up my approach shot.’”13 Another exchange about
presidential candidate Al Landon: “‘You know what I think of Landon? I think he’s a beer-bellied, pinch-
pennied Presbyterian sonofabitch. But I’m going to vote for him anyways, ‘cause he’s the kind of man this
country needs.’”14

10
   Devency Sean. The Original Curse: Did the Cubs Throw The 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth’s Red and Incite the Black Sox Scandal.
New York: McGraw-Hill; 2010. 16.
11
   James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
104.
12
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 200. 143.
13
   Holtzman Jerome. No Cheering In the Press Box: Recollections Personal & Professional by Eighteen Veteran American Sportswriters.
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston; 1974. 202.
14
   Ibid. 202-203.
                                                                31

         From his birth to an assistant surgeon for the Union Army and being named after Kennesaw
Mountain in Georgia, Landis was never considered an intellect, but had a flare for the dramatic. He
dropped out of high school at fifteen, after giving up on algebraic calculations, taking a job soon after in
grocery store in Logansport, Indiana. 15
         At twenty, Landis stumbled into opportunity as an assistant to the Indiana secretary of state after
working to elect him to office. (Landis had two brothers that were U.S. congressman.) For the next several
years, Landis worked at the law, applied to the bar without a law degree but then obtained a degree at
Chicago’s Union Law School.16 In 1893, Landis once again lucked into a better prospect, this time via a
family friend, Walter Quinton Gresham, who was name U.S. secretary of state under Grover Cleveland
and thus giving a meagerly educated man another patronage position at the pinnacles of power. By 1905,
though through luck and haphazard work, Landis came to reside in control of the harsh powers of the
legal system, but often saw his capricious judicial decisions critically reviewed and overturned.17 (The
Standard Oil ruling, for example, was reviewed and reduced in damages.) George Will describes Landis as:
“Landis was a judge, an egomaniacal and grandstanding judge, but he was just what baseball needed in its
hour of maximum need…Eight players, some more dumb than dishonest, were banned from baseball for
life; nothing happened to the gamblers. Then baseball picked itself up…built Yankee Stadium, put Babe
Ruth on center stage and rollicked through the 1920s.”18
         Landis came full-hearted to the baseball scene via his presiding over the Federal League hearings,
but made his lasting baseball mark as the game’s first independent commissioner. The baseball owners saw
Landis as an immediate means to clean up the fallout of the 1919 Black Sox scandal – giving him unheard
of power in a business ensconced in (sometimes petty) power struggles. He immediately made his mark in
the 1920s by suspending players over gambling and participating in post season barnstorming tours. Even
Babe Ruth felt his wrath. (Landis though dismissed a fixed game incident allegedly involving Ty Cobb, Joe
Wood, and Tris Speaker in large part to subvert and diminish AL President/Founder Ban Johnson.)
         Landis, still, was an fairly odd choice for 1st commissioner given the short list of candidates as
Zimbalist comments: “...many notables were considered for the new job...William Howard Taft, General
John Pershing...former secretary of state (and Woodrow Wilson’s son-in-law) William Gibbs McAdoo...”19
Landis, ever-the-opportunist, utilized the tactic of gracious acceptance but “I’m doing substantial work in
the world” caveat to leverage the owners to acquiesce to his demands for greater control and better
compensation. It worked, and Landis found his final calling as czar of the best professional sports industry
in existence in January 1921.




15
   Zimbalist Andrew S. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley &
Sons, Inc; 2006. 38.
16
   Zimbalist Andrew S. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley &
Sons, Inc; 2006. 38-39.
17
   Snyder Brad. A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports. New York: Penguin Group; 2006. 99.
18
   Will George F. Bunts: Curt Flood, Camden Yards, Pete Rose and Other Reflections on Baseball. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.;
1998. 136-37.
19
   Zimbalist Andrew S. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley &
Sons, Inc; 2006. 34.
                                                                32

            As it turned out, Landis was equally versatile at frustrating
adjudication as in exasperating ownerships in granting free agency to
Fred Bennett, Pete Reiser, and Tommy Heinrich while only slightly
hamstringing Rickey’s St. Louis farm system model in 1938. Additionally,
Landis hurt the Detroit Tigers much more significantly. (Costing Detroit
an estimated $500,000 and four MLB players in value.)20 Commissioner
Landis held racial barriers inviolate costing fans clearer remembrances of
the great African-American players of the day. Though, he held firm to
the fiction in December 1943: “clearly understood that there is no rule,
nor to my knowledge, has there ever been, formal or informal, or any
understanding, written or unwritten, subterranean or sub-anything,
against hiring of Negroes in the major leagues. “21

                                                                                                Commissioner Landis
                                                                                                 (LOC, Bain Collection)

       Nearly a quarter century of Landis’s quirks were extended into the National Pastime, but his lasting
mark was to bring back the reputation of the game by driving out the gamblers (and players) from fixing
games. Landis fit the game well as a front man –as it was then – and endured longer than any other
commissioner has in the position to date.

        As a counterpoint to Landis, George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth (1895-1948) was a child of the world,
prone to excesses and boastfulness, but dominated the sports world in the 1920s in a manner hard to
compare (or duplicate) in the late 20th - early 21st century sports panorama. Growing up in Baltimore and
spending most of his formative years as a ‘incorrigible’ at the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Orphans,
Delinquent, Incorrigible and Wayward Boys22, Ruth learned one lesson there from the priests, and
probably only one, how to hit a baseball as far as anyone could envision in those heady days of organized
baseball. (Somehow the rest of the ‘lessons’ to be learnt there never took.)
        Babe Ruth was placed in this reformatory at age seven as a hyperactive, big and outgoing boy that
acquired a great desire to play baseball as likely the only positive diversion from his meager assignment as a
youthful garment maker. He did obtained a rude moniker that stuck into the 1920s –‘Nigger Lips’23 – as
McGraw’s New York Giants jeered during the ‘23 World Series. Later though, his array of nicknames only
added to the Babe’s foggy legacy: The Colossus of Clout, the King of Crash, the Sultan of Swat, the
Monster of Mash, The Bambino, and a host of others never heard mentioned quite enough, so they faded
away foggily, much like Montville Leigh’s The Big Bam describes of his childhood years.
        As it was, George Ruth learned how to hit towering fly balls from Brother Matthias Boutlier (from
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia)24, a burly man that was as large as an offensive tackle in the modern NFL.
Boutlier might be the ‘Father of Home Run’ since his fungoe-style hitting was mimicked by the son that
mastered the art of swinging skyward in evading outfielders and depositing balls over the fences. With
baseball’s domination of his time, Ruth took Boutlier’s lessons to heart and practice them nearly year
round, playing everywhere on the field, before someone important took notice.


20
   Levitt Daniel R. Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees’ First Dynasty. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2008.
335.
21
   Lester Larry. Black’s Baseball National Showcase: The East-West All-Star Game, 1933-1953. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska
Press; 2001. 209.
22
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 17.
23
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 21.
24
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 24.
                                                                33

        In 1914, Jack Dunn, the operator of the powerful and influential Baltimore Orioles franchise of the
minor league circuit (with the likes of HOF pitcher Lefty Grove playing for him in the early 1920s)
acquired the Babe. Jack Dunn had a short career as ballplayer, playing on smarts to make up for a bad arm
due to childhood mishap25, but made his real mark as talent scout and a big league feeder system of star
players for a price. On Valentine’s Day 1914, Ruth was signed as a pitcher sight unseen by Dunn for $250
per month. But before Dunn reaped any real benefits from his acquisition, Dunn was forced into
competition with Federal Leagues’ Baltimore Terrapins, and shopped the Babe to Connie Mack and John
McGraw, only to eventually sell him to Boston’s owner Joe Lannin.26

        Within two years, Babe Ruth was a superstar pitcher, leading the league in ERA (1.75) and
shutouts (9) in 1916. The Babe though would soon enough progress to power hitting as naturally as ducks
take to water, or owls take to the nocturnal hunt. But as one passage by Montville Leigh weighs Ruth’s
pitching prowess versus another ace of the day:
        “Matched against Ruth, the emotional, developing reprobate, [Hall of Famer Walter] Johnson
        easily was cast as the white hat against the black hat, goodness against perdition. The problem was,
        perdition had a much better team behind him. The two men faced each other five times during the
        '16 season:" Ruth won four times, 5-1, 1-0, 1-0, 2-1 and had a no decision, but was ahead 2-0 in
        ninth before getting into trouble. Ruth's record against Johnson from 1915 to 1917 was 6-1.”27

         Even with Ruth then earning his living on the mound, it was his greater potential that sparked
conversations early on in May 1917. As Montville Leigh’s Big Bam reflects again, “Ruth took Johnson deep
for the first time and earned a tailored suit [a favorite item of soothing] in the process. It also saw his
future as a Yankee discussed jokingly amongst the principles: Col. Jake Ruppert and Harry Frazee. This as
Ruth saw a change in his usage from star pitcher to mediocre first basemen to a Manny Ramirez/Ted
Williams style of outfielder later on that season.”28
         By 1918, Ruth was as dangerous with a bat as he was proficient with the pitch. Ed Barrow took on
the onerous task of taming the unconventional Ruth, leading to plenty of fights, tantrums, and dramas. As
Bill James echoes, “Ruth tested the limits of the rules constantly; this was what made him who he was. He
refused to be ordinary; he refused to accept that the rules applied to him; until it was clear that they did.
Constantly testing the limits of the rules, as I see him, was Babe Ruth’s defining characteristic...”29 Barrow
soon tested, but eventually defined Ruth as an outfielder – due in large part to Provost Marshal General
Crowder issuing his “work or fight” order in June 1918, causing Boston a player shortage – and the Babe
led Boston to its last championship until the 21st century, garnering the first of his twelve home run titles
to boot.
         As Ruth’s ability to smack the long ball grew, his desires to get compensation followed in concert.
From his 3-year, $10,000 per year contract signed in 1918, Ruth reconsidered for $20,000 after his superior
1919 season in which he smacked 29 home runs, scored 103 times, drove in 114 runs and slugged a then
modest .657, all leading the American League by wide margins. Ruth alone hit 12% of the leagues’ home
runs. He scored 18.26% of Boston Runs and won 9 games with a ‘mediocre’ 2.97 ERA off the mound in
his last significant pitching season.
         His theatrical owner, Harry Frazee, refused to pay Ruth and demeaned the man’s recent exploits,
citing his petulant and decadent behaviors as barriers to his future production, resulting in (likely) the most

25
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 34.
26
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 39-40.
27
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 56-57.
28
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 2006. 69.
29
   James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
998.
                                                                 34

famous trade ever made in baseball history. Three days into the Roarin’ Twenties, the Babe went to the
New York Yankees for $425,000 (in total cash transferred, since $300,000 was a loan), and his hitting
prowess resulted in the biggest affect in baseball scoring until President William Jefferson Clinton took the
oath of office 72 years and 17 days later.
        Ruth was never a model citizen (he was an early target of Commissioner Landis, garnering a long
suspension for barnstorming); and his excesses are well documented, as a long passage from Robert W.
Creamer’s Babe: A Legend Comes to Life reflects vividly:
        “His appetite was enormous, although accounts of it were often exaggerated. A report of one
        dinner says he had an entire capon, potatoes, spinach, corn, peas, beans, bread, butter, pie, ice
        cream and three or four cups of coffee…Ty Cobb, no stickler for accuracy in his memoirs of
        baseball life, said, ‘I’ve seen him at midnight, propped up in a bed, order six club sandwiches, a
        platter of pigs’ knuckles, and a pitcher of beer. He’d down all that while smoking a big black cigar.
        Next day, if he hit a homer, he’d trot around the bases complaining about gas pains and a
        bellyache.’ He belched magnificently and, I was told, could fart at will.
                 He was, as noted, sexual athlete. In a St. Louis whorehouse he announced he was going to
        go to bed with every girl in the house during the night, and did, and after finishing his rounds sat
        down and had a huge breakfast…
                 …He was very noisy in bed, visceral grunts and gasps and whoops accompanying his erotic
        exertions. ‘He was the noisiest fucker in North America,’ a whimsical friend recalled.”30

                                                    Ruth’s noise in bed and gluttonous behavior was in
                                                    keeping with the times in which he lived. With Prohibition
                                                    leading to plentiful immoral (for the times) behavior, the
                                                    Babe was the personification of this decadence: running
                                                    liquor; setting up front businesses; living a lavish lifestyle;
                                                    enjoying the finest pleasures available. Meanwhile, his on-
                                                    the-field talent made the Yankees the franchise they are to
                                                    this day. (Pictured Left: Babe in 1926. Courtesy Library of
                                                    Congress, Bain Collection.)




       Most memorable and subject of legend and lore, is the ‘called shot’ in game three of the 1932
World Series. As Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig, baseball historians, reflect the nature and mystique
of Ruth in The Image of Their Greatness:

            “There was bad blood between the Yankees and the Chicago Cubs even before the 1932 Series
            started. Late in the season Chicago shortstop Billy Jurges had suffered and injury, and the Cubs
            dug into the minor leagues and came up with ex-Yankee Mark Koenig to replace him. Playing
            superbly, Koenig helped the Cubs to a pennant. When it came to dividing the World Series money
            [eventually $4,244.60 for the Cubs]31, Koenig was voted just a half share by his teammates. This
            rankled many…Yankees, particularly Ruth, to whom parsimony was unforgivable.
                     The exchange of insults…grew increasingly more heated and rancorous…In the top of the
            fifth inning [in game three] Ruth walked to the plate with one out, the bases empty, and the score
            tied, 4-4. The invective coming from the Cubs’ bench was savage and obscene. Charlie Root, the

30
     Plimpton George. Home Run: The Best Writing about Baseball’s Most Exciting Moment. San Diego: Harcourt, Inc; 2001. 61-62.
31
     Menke Frank G. The Encyclopedia of Sports: Third Revised Edition. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company; 1963. 137.
                                                                 35

         Chicago pitcher, got two quick strikes across. What happened [next]…will forever be, a matter of
         controversy.
                 Ruth made some sort of gesture: the Cubs said he was holding up one finger and pointing
         out a Root to indicate he still had one strike left; some of the Babe’s teammates insisted he pointed
         out to the center field bleachers, showing where he was going to hit Root’s next pitch…what he
         did a moment later – he hit a tremendous home run over the bleach screen in center field.
                 Did he call his shot or didn’t he? Ruth claimed – after the fact – that he had. The Cubs
         scoffed at the idea…Like so many other things involving George Herman Ruth, the truth has been
         covered by the gentle mists of legend...”32

        The Babe did pursue other interests after the game – even wanting to manage in New York,
preferably the Yankees, but getting ‘a false called shot’ in Brooklyn – but none were going to rival his time
as the game’s preeminent slugger.

         Wordsmith Grantland Rice, a friend and golf buddy, penned these lines upon Ruth’s departure:

                                          Game called by darkness – let the curtain fall.
                                         No more remembered thunder sweeps the field.
                                            No more the ancient echoes hear the call
                                         To one who wore so well both sword and shield.
                                           The Big Guy’s left us with the night to face,
                                           And there is no one who can take his place.

                                           Game called – and silence settles on the plain.
                                           Where is the crash of ash against the sphere?
                                              Where is the mighty music, the refrain
                                              That brought joy to every waiting ear?
                                             The Big Guy’s left us, lonely in the dark,
                                             Forever waiting for the flaming spark.33

        Babe Ruth passed away on August 16, 1948 the same day that the future king of Rock & Roll,
Elvis Presley, left this mortal coil. Both left their indelible marks on America’s cultural landscape.

Black Sox: Eight Chicago White Sox Out of Baseball
Before we can go forward on the momentum of Ruth’s exploits and significance, we must glance back at
the darkest chapter in the history of the game: The Black Sox of 1919. The time period lent itself to
increased gambling on the sport; as more money came to baseball, rabid popularity grew and glorifying
stories pervaded the newspaper, ballplayers, rarely an educated lot, were still smart enough to see they had
power to increase their fortunes. Most took to negotiations, or battled via various league wars, while others
jumped back and forth to whatever minor league was willing to have them, even in violation of contracts
with the decade-old dual major leagues. But an unscrupulous few, who found gambling easy, or felt their
share was never quite good enough, were willing to forego all the glory of winning for a five-figure payout
from the amoral, parasitic, and backstabbing lot: the professional gambler.
        The fix was in on the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The Sox were easy favorites
going into the series, seen as demonstrably the best team assembled in a number of years. Pitcher Edward

32
   Ritter Lawrence, Honig Donald. The Image of Their Greatness: An Illustrated History of Baseball from 1900 to the Present. New
York: Crown Publishers, Inc; 1984. 122.
33
   Fountain Charles. Sportswriter: The Life and Times of Grantland Rice. New York: Oxford University Press; 1993. 161.
                                                                36

Victor Cicotte (1884-1969), who had just won 29 games at 35 years old, was proving that age was not
determining his effectiveness. However, his paycheck fell short ($6,000) – while Comiskey set a ridiculous
bar of 30 wins for a $10,000 bonus34 – and so, Eddie fell easy prey to gamblers, and teammate, first sacker
Chick Gandil. Gandil then set sights on Claude ‘Lefty’ Williams (1893-1959) who was reaching his prime
with considerable aplomb, blossoming into a twenty-game winner, 300 innings-per-season ace. Without
pitchers, throwing a series was nearly impossible; with them, it was nearly an assured outcome.
         Ringleader Gandil enlisted SS ‘Swede’ Risberg, part-time infielder Fred McMullin, CF ‘Happy’
Felsch, 3B ‘Buck’ Weaver, and their best offensive weapon: LF ‘Shoeless’ Joseph Jefferson Jackson.
         The direct/indirect contact with various gamblers (Abe Attell, Sport Sullivan, Sleepy Bill Burns and
Nate Evans) was supposed to net at least $80,000 total for the players. Cicotte got his $10K share before
the opening game; Williams got $5,000 before his second start; Risberg and Felsch $5,000 mid-series;
Jackson $5,000 simultaneously with Williams. After the loss, Risberg and McMullin got another $15,000
together. Buck Weaver never caught a dime – though he was aware of the entire scheme, he decided to
play to win with the remaining Sox. Gandil made out best (or worse) with $35,000.35
         But as frequently as such schemes are hatched, someone refuses to be the only sucker in the game.
Owners work for (and against) their own self-interest. Players spend money suspicious reporters know
they never quite had before. Another unusual incident brings to light the nest of gambling operating in the
game. Gamblers turn snitches. And someone is soon put in charge to clean up the mess.
         Comiskey was once allegedly intent on uncovering the scandal, but not to the American League’s
benefit due to a long hatred of Ban Johnson. And this mutual feeling rendered Johnson less than eager to
pursue the charges until he had all his ducks in order. Therefore, Chicago prosecutorial/grand jury powers
operated with all deliberate speed. Chick Gandil bought a new car, house, and jewelry, and held out for
more money in 1920. Then on August 31, 1920, the Chicago Cubs were to play the last-place Philadelphia
Phillies in a meaningless game. But rumors from Detroit reflected the Phillies were guaranteed to win with
huge bets riding on them. Despite Bill Veeck, Sr. starting Grover Alexander, unexpectedly, the Phils won
3-0. Within weeks of that incident, ex-fighter Billy Maharg, early on connected Sleepy Bill Burns, spilt the
beans about the scam, telling how Abe Attell had double-crossed him and the players. (Famed gambler
Arnold Rothstein was in the shadows, but not directly operating with the players. Smart, savvy and shady
men are never too close to their own dirty work. But Rothstein paid the price, eventually.)
         Even when the scheme was fleshed out, the evidence gathered disappeared, thus letting the players
off the hook. They were found not guilty.
         However, with a decision standing on appeal in the District of Columbia threatening baseball’s
treasured monopoly, player control supremacy, and closed-door policies, the game was ripe to install a
iron-fisted commissioner to oversee punishment, clean up the sport, and ferret out the truth (when
financially beneficial).
         Landis stepped in, and played the part better than any No, No Nanette actor could.

A Prequel to ‘The Fix Is In’ in Chicago?
Prior to the White Sox gambling scheme, the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox were thought less than
clean before and during the 1918 World Series. Author Sean Devency published in early 2010, The Original
Curse: Did The Cubs Throw The 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth’s Red Sox and Incite the Black Sox Scandal. Many
of the same characters are involved in the White Sox scandal and the Chicago Cubs 1920 incident. Other
World Series in the teens were also thought to be suspicious as the 1912, 1914, and 1917 classics had their
peculiarities.



34
     Asinof Eliot. Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and The 1919 World Series. New York: Henry Holt and Company; 1987. 21-22.
35
     Asinof Eliot. Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and The 1919 World Series. New York: Henry Holt and Company; 1987. 125.
                                                     37




                        1919 Chicago White Sox: Together, But Decidedly, Apart.

Power Surge I: The Cosmic Change to the Game
To reflect just how much George Herman Ruth revolutionized and defined the sport, in New York and
beyond, one possible study is to use the method of statistical process control to map ‘the process’ of
baseball statistics changing landscape from one era of tabulation to another. Alongside Ruth’s temerity
(and testing limits), various other ‘theories’ come into place, but what is most important to see is exactly
when professional baseball converted from one offensive paradigm to another.
         To graphically mirror this, a model was determined based on the ratio of home runs and doubles to at
bats for all full-time players (over 150 AB.) Home runs were an obvious inclusion to the analysis, but
doubles are also very indicative of the power surge in baseball. In 2005, for example, a significant amount
of balls (77.4%) not caught are either over the outfielders heads or “in the gaps” in relation to balls hit
“down the lines.” “Gap-to-gap” power is usually a predictor or measure of a hitters’ ability to “go yard”,
hit a home run. Another primary assumption is that baseballs are hit roughly the same areas of ball fields
today as they were in 1908-1935.
         Triples are not included due first to the speed factor inherent with running over 90 yards from home
to third base. Second, give the times, with somewhat poor fielding and large outfields, triples were more
prevalent by nature (compared to later seasons) and did not change meaningfully between 1910 and 1935,
ranging between 65-85 occurrences from 1910-1932. Since 1948, the major league average has not top the
50 barrier per season.
                                                                 38

Table 2.1.1. Location of Outfield Hits in 2005 MLB Season36
 2005 Outfield       LF     LF      Over     RF     RF Tota Gaps Lines Gaps/Ov Ratio Total%
      Hits          Line   Gap       OF      Gap Line       l             er
 MLB Average         52     149      53      144    49    447 293 101    346   3.43 77.40%
 Doubles Avg. 295.4
  Triples Ave       29.6


Diagram 2.1.1. Calculation Process for MLB Power Ratio Changes




        Statistical Process Control is a time-oriented analysis of a process that has variation due to
random and nonrandom causes.37 SPC is utilized to track and/or tweak a process while removing or
identifying nonrandom variations. In relation to baseball, the purpose is to define a process (such as HR%,
2B% or BA for an particular ERA) and note the changes that occur outside the Upper Control Limits (p-
bar +(3σp)) and/or Lower Control Limits (p-bar +(-3σp)).
    Steps:
    1) In constructing a P-chart – find the average occurrences of event
    2) Find the sample size and calculate the sample standard deviation
    3) Set control limits – 3 σp (99.7%), 2 σp (95.45%) or 1.645 σp (90%)


For the period starting 1910-1919, the following chart was calculated utilizing the 2-league averages and
standard deviations (Federal League not included):




36
   Dewan John. The Fielding Bible: Breakthrough Analysis of Major League Baseball Defense – by Team and Player. Skokie, IL:ACTA
Sports; February 2006. 48-49.
37
   Lindeburg MR. Editor. Engineer-In-Training Reference Manual. 8th Edition. Belmont (CA): Professional Publications, Inc.; 1992. 11-
12.
                                                                                                                    39

Graph 2.1.1. SPC of Ratio of Home Runs and Doubles to At-Bats (1905-1935)
                                                                                                    Power Ratio (1905-1935)


                                          0.0850
                                                                                                                                                  1930 NL akin
                                                                                                                                                  to 1990's offense
                                                            By 1921, the offense change was
                                                            complete. It would coincide with
                                          0.0750            Attendance rise (Yankees especially)
                                                            and numerous HR hitters coming into
  Ratio of Doubles and Home Runs per AB




                                                            being. Several theories explain its
                                                            occurrence.

                                          0.0650

                                                                                                                                                                                      AL
                                                                 0.0576                                                                                                               NL
                                          0.0550                                                                                                                                      UCL
                                                                                                                                                                                      XBAR
                                                                                                                                                                                      LCL

                                          0.0450
                                                                                                                                                                             0.0427
                                                                                  Cork Center
                                                                                  in 1910
                                          0.0350


                                                                 0.0277
                                          0.0250
                                                   1905


                                                          1907


                                                                    1909


                                                                           1911


                                                                                      1913


                                                                                             1915


                                                                                                     1917


                                                                                                            1919


                                                                                                                      1921


                                                                                                                             1923


                                                                                                                                    1925


                                                                                                                                           1927


                                                                                                                                                    1929


                                                                                                                                                           1931


                                                                                                                                                                      1933


                                                                                                                                                                             1935
                                                                                                                   Year



       What this chart reflects is that in the early 1920s, a change was definitely seen in the % of home
runs and doubles per at bats. Even before that, from 1912-1918, The National League saw a steady decline
in power generated by its players, likely due to spitball usage to counter the live ball affects introduced by
1911. But the greatest deviation happened by 1921. Several theories put forth have explained this:

                                             Theories:
                                             1) Outlawing the usage of the ‘spit ball’ which Carl Mays had accidentally injured and killed SS
                                                Ray Chapman in August 1920
                                             2) Babe Ruth’s power surge of 29 home runs in 1919 made acceptable the uppercut swing
                                                innovation (MLB Team leader: 45 home runs total)
                                             3) Balls were now rubbed down with resin – cleaner balls and easier to see
                                             4) Possible modification in the internal design (though not validated) in the baseball


                                 To further reflect this change, a chart of just Doubles % is shown:
                                                                                    40

                Graph 2.1.2. Double Control Chart

                                                                      Doubles Control Chart (1910-35)

                      0.060

                              Taft Coolidge ERA: Babe Ruth's
                              swing
                      0.055
                              innovation affected the American
                              League one year before the
                              National League was to follow
                      0.050   in lock step in the 1920's, or was it
                              the change of the baseball?

                              0.0462
                      0.045
  Ratio of 2B to AB




                                                                                                                                   AL 2B%
                                                                                                                                   NL 2B%
                      0.040                                                                                                        P-bar
                                                                                                                                   LCL
                                                                                                                          0.0371   UCL
                      0.035

                                        Federal League demise
                      0.030             and WWI affected offense

                              0.0280
                                                                                              AL/NL Correlation: 85.24%
                      0.025



                      0.020
                           10
                           11
                           12
                           13
                           14
                           15
                           16
                           17
                           18
                           19
                           20
                           21
                           22
                           23
                           24
                           25
                           26
                           27
                           28
                           29
                           30
                           31
                           32
                           33
                           34
                           35
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                         19
                                                                                 Year



        In this case, seven consecutive points above the Average (.0371) and sixteen above the UCL
(.0462) reflect a significant change in the random nature (99.75% probability the process is out of control.)
This out of control declaration as it relates to baseball means that a process has changed significantly at a
given point in time and is unlikely to have happen once by just mere chance, being the odds are greater
than 400-to-1 for that to occur randomly that one time.


Theory #1: Outlawing the Spitball
During the teens, and after ball modifications in 1910/1911, a great many pitchers had developed a
consistent usage of illegal substances to combat batters. Nothing was particularly above board, and
pitchers had utilized whatever was handy to throw off hitters.
         As Steven Steinberg states in his analysis, “Then in the ’teens, pitchers began to develop various
trick pitches, known as “freaks:” the shine ball, the emery ball, the mud ball, the paraffin ball, even the
licorice ball. All created contrasting surfaces or uneven weight distribution for the ball, making it travel in
strange ways. While there were rules against these “doctored” pitches, they were rarely enforced (or
enforceable, since it was hard to prove what had been done to the ball, let alone prove who had done it).”
         Steinberg continues on, “This was an era when teams put balls in the oven (making them livelier,
for the home team) and the cooler (deadening them, for the visiting team). Pitchers were even known to
slide phonograph needles into the ball, giving it quite a wobbly ride. As the ’teens were coming to an end,
                                                           41

the situation was getting out of hand, and the baseball magnates considered cracking down on the
abuses.”38 As usual, the ownerships were tired of players taking the game into their own hands. Certainly
the sheer amount of manipulation of the baseball was becoming a disturbing tactic for all persons involved
and had to be reined in.
         Carl Mays was well documented to use his spitball to go along with a side arm delivery. Even after
the killing of SS Ray Chapman, Mays was not adverse to teaching rookie pitchers how to use any
advantage to confuse a hitter. The ways of baseball in this regard have changed very little over the last 85
seasons.

Theory #2: Babe Ruth and Finances
Often overlooked as the primary necessitation of this offensive change was the positive financial
ramifications of generating more offense, as seen by the immortal Babe Ruth hitting 29 home runs to
packed houses on the road in 1919. (No other Boston regular topped 3 dingers; and 2nd best in the American
League in home runs was 10.) Steinberg approaches this topic with, “Baseball purists may appreciate and
prefer a pitching duel, but the casual fans who would drive the turnstiles preferred scoring.” The causal
fans have always won out in terms of meeting their needs for action and generating cash flow for owners
(and players later.) Introducing offense, by any means, was acceptable if the gate and advertising revenues
followed. A creative owner, such as Bill Veeck Jr., had to create a marketable team to the general public, or
create ‘buzz’, especially with the horrid St. Louis Browns.
         And many pitchers felt similarly about the need to generate more offense: Walter Johnson, Hall of
Fame Pitcher, who once said: “Hitting plays the most important role in a ball game. There is no getting
away from the fact that the baseball public likes to see the ball walloped hard. The home runs are meat for
the fans. ‘Babe’ Ruth draws more people than a great pitcher does. It simply illustrates the theory that
hitting is the paramount issue of baseball.” – Quote from Evening Telegram, August 22, 192039
         The great lefty Carl Hubbell expressed the same thoughts: “Most of the excitement in baseball
happens at home plate and that, of course, means the hitter…If you don’t have a batter, you don’t have a
game. So when you take most of the potency away from the hitter, you take a vital action out of the game.
You damage the game at one of its most critical points.” – Quote from the Christian Science Monitor,
December 19, 197240


        During the 1920s, both leagues enjoyed a relatively stable amount of fans attending games (500-
650 thousand per year.) The change in offense – as Babe Ruth and others developed the ‘long ball’ – can
be seen in the consistent amount of people attending ballgames. Prior to 1920, park attendance was
unstable due to World War I, the Federal League competition, and economic downturns reflected in
Graph 2.1.3.
        Even after the stock market crashed, the Great Depression did not drop values below pre-1920
attendance. This is most likely due to owners granting better deals at the turnstile to get anyone to attend
games and also the utilization of night baseball to promote attendance as reflected in the slight increase in
1936.41



38
   Steinberg S. The Spitter and the End of the Deadball Era Synopsis, Part 1. The National Pastime: A Review of Baseball
History Number 23; 2003. http://www.urbanshocker.net
39
   Ibid.
40
   Ibid.
41
   Ritter L, Honig D. The Image of Their Greatness: An Illustrated History of Baseball from 1900 to the Present. New
York: Crown Publishers, Inc; 1984. 151.
                                                                                                     42

Graph 2.1.3. Average Attendance per Team

                                                              Graph 2.1.3: Average Attendance per Team


            1,500,000

            1,400,000

            1,300,000
                                                                                                     Great Depression:
            1,200,000
                                                                                                     Reduction in ticket
            1,100,000                                                                                prices and night baseball
                                                            The Roarin' 20's:
            1,000,000                                                                                kept attendance abov e
                                                            Attendance increase
                                                                                                     WWI lev els
             900,000                                        along w ith Offensiv e
                                Federal                     Ex plosion due to                                                                                                             AL
     Fans




             800,000                                        home runs
                                League and                                                                                                                                                NL
             700,000             WWI affect
                                attendance                                                                                                                   Post War Boom:
             600,000
                                                                                                                                                             drastic rise and fall
             500,000                                                                                                                                         led to first migration
                                                                                                                                                             to Western cities
             400,000

             300,000

             200,000

             100,000
                        1910
                               1912
                                      1914
                                             1916
                                                    1918
                                                           1920
                                                                  1922
                                                                         1924
                                                                                1926
                                                                                       1928
                                                                                              1930
                                                                                                     1932
                                                                                                            1934
                                                                                                                   1936
                                                                                                                          1938
                                                                                                                                 1940
                                                                                                                                        1942
                                                                                                                                               1944
                                                                                                                                                      1946
                                                                                                                                                              1948
                                                                                                                                                                     1950
                                                                                                                                                                            1952
                                                                                                                                                                                   1954
                                                                                                     Year



The most significant change happened in post WWII. Fans came to the park in droves. From 1946 to
1951 (1952 in the American League), more than 1 million souls per season came out to see their heroes
return from the war to play baseball. But this windfall (to the owners), initially, eventually led to several
teams moving west from their long time homes due to abysmal attendance, home ballpark deficiencies,
and changing media influences in the 1952-1954 seasons. (Teams that moved: Boston Braves (1952), St.
Louis Browns (1953), Philadelphia A’s (1954))


Theory #3: Brightening Baseballs
An underrated reason for the explosion of hitting is the usage of cleaner baseballs. The baseballs, in prior
years that were fouled off into the stands, were sought out by park ushers and returned the balls to the
field of play.42 If the balls were not immediately returned, then the umpires put a new ball into play. Of
course, that did not stop the usher’s hunt for the foul balls, but baseballs were by that time scuffed and
defective to the pitchers’ advantage.
         To Quote Steinberg again:
         “Then there was the ball itself—not its composition or interior, but its cover. After the tragic death
         of Cleveland’s popular star Ray Chapman, umpires were instructed to keep fresh, white balls in

42
  James B. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001. 121-
122.
                                                                  43

         play at all times. Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Yankees’ submarine pitcher
         Carl Mays and may have had a hard time picking up the darkened ball. Hitters would no longer
         face a dirty, grimy ball, as the owners agreed to spend more money putting balls in play. While
         there is not a lot of specific data on the numbers, the September 1925 issue of Baseball Magazine
         noted that the National League used 43,224 balls in 1924, as opposed to only 14,772 in 1916.
         That’s a lot more bright targets for hitters than they had in the past.” 43

        David H. Martinez in The Book of Baseball Literacy concurs: “Chapman’s death…inspired major
league executives to order that umpires keep fresh white balls in play at all times; prior to that, the same
one or two balls were used throughout the game…”44
        Finally, in consulting the website www.baseballlibrary.com, a history of rule changes made include
references to the following:
    • The abolition of the spitball, with a "grandfather clause": each team is allowed to appoint two
        spitball pitchers for the 1920 season. [8.02]
    • The ball has its gloss removed before a game by the umpire. [3.01]
    • Enter the "lively ball." Australian yarn, said to be stronger than its American equivalent, may be
        wound tighter, so the ball’s bounce and hardness increase. [1.09]45

Theory #4: Changing the Baseball
This reference to a lively ball reflects possibly the greatest change to the baseball. Or perhaps not. Without
definitive testing from these balls (during that time frame – not in the present), there is no way to assert
that Australian yarn was (or is) better than American yarn. As it turns out, the conversion may have
actually went from Australian to American, according to The History of Baseball by Joe Reichler and Allison
Danzig. (Page 219.)
         In Montville Leigh’s Big Bam this modification is colorfully recorded as: “Another change had
occurred with the baseball itself. Nobody knew the facts behind the change - that manufacturers now used
a better grade of Australian wool and had developed new machines that wound the yarn tighter - but
everyone knew the ball seemed to fly better. Or said they knew…Hit the new baseball, and it felt like solid
against solid, bat against the kitchen table. Hit the old baseball and it felt like bat against living room
sofa.”46
         Some tests on resiliency were engaged in the 1920s, with the results always reported as being
within norms. But one can imagine a low-level tester being ‘persuaded’ to reach conclusions if only to
bolster confidences in the internal structure and repeatability of manufacturing baseballs.
         By 1930, the ball was tinkered with again, almost in lockstep with the stock market crash of
October 29, 1929. The National League of 1930 was no fun for pitchers with a 5’6” CF Hack Wilson
smashing 56 home runs and establishing an unreachable standard of 190 RBIs. This did not go unnoticed
as Cubs SS Woody English offered: “In 1931 the owners decided the ballplayers were hitting too many
home runs. We realized something was different in '31 almost from the start of the season. You hit balls
like you always hit them, and they'd plunk, sound like they didn't have anything inside…"47 With
modifications to the ball having occurred numerous times between 1910-1935 and reflected
instantaneously in offenses, it is hard to dismiss it as a logical theory behind offense changes.


43
   Steinberg S. The Spitter and the End of the Deadball Era Synopsis, Part 2. The National Pastime: A Review of Baseball History
Number 23; 2003. http://www.urbanshocker.net
44
   Martinez DH. The Book of Baseball Literacy. New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc; 1996. 279.
45
   www.BaseballLibrary.com. Website. The Idea Logical Company, Inc; 2002. http://www.baseballlibrary.com
46
   Montville Leigh. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Doubleday; 200. 111.
47
   Golenbock Peter. Wrigleyville: A Magical History Tour of the Chicago Cubs. New York: St. Martin's Press; 1996. 227.
                                                                          44

         But these theories, either taken singularly, or collectively, (absent changing the baseball – theory
#4) changed the landscape significantly in the hitter v. pitcher arena. The most significant results are that
the game has never reverted back to the low-offenses seen in the early days of dual league play. Even in
1968, the modern day ‘Year of the Pitcher’ home runs, scoring and game play was nowhere near the 1903 -
1908 era of baseball statistics of performance. As time has moved forward, the emphasis on scoring either
via rule changes, park designs, equipment modifications, or training of personnel has likely altered the
record book to a degree that measurements from era to era are futile and problematic even with the best
of intentions or designs.
         The graph (below) prior reflects the ‘happy hitting’ era that was the 1920s. Left hand hitters batted
over .300 for the entire decade! Left hand batters (Babe Ruth among them) nearly totaled the HR totals of
Right hand hitters while having less than 50% of the total players.

Graph 2.1.4 Batting Average by Hand by Decade
                                             Graph 2.1.4: Batting Average by Hand by Decade

                     0.3150




                     0.3000
  Batting Average




                     0.2850
                                                                                                                              Both
                                                                                                                              Left
                                                                                                                              Right
                                                                                                                              Leagues
                     0.2700




                     0.2550




                     0.2400
                              1910-19   1920-29   1930-39   1940-49     1950-59    1960-69      1970-79   1980-89   1990-99
                    Both      0.2429    0.2774    0.2654    0.2551       0.2562        0.2459   0.2565    0.2593    0.2645
                    Left      0.2725    0.3005    0.2929    0.2736       0.2684        0.2553   0.2646    0.2655    0.2720
                    Right     0.2474    0.2766    0.2707    0.2522       0.2546        0.2455   0.2521    0.2552    0.2607
                    Leagues   0.2541    0.2840    0.2769    0.2585       0.2589        0.2483   0.2559    0.2586    0.2641
                                                                     10 Year Periods


        In the 1960s, batting averages can be seen as below the 1910– 19 decade. Even so, the decade
prior saw even more difficult hitting. The 1960s are a gradual product of poor adjustment to a larger strike
zone as implemented in 1963. Even with the DH, the 1970s and 1980s do not come back to 1920 or 1930
levels of batsmenship.
        But the Expansion Era 1990s saw higher batting averages whilst on-base percentage has continued
to be affected by the lack of patience in ballplayers at the plate.
                                                            45

Table 2.1.2. Grand Totals for all 1920 hitters (and pitchers) by Handedness
Hitters   Type     Players  AB    Hits  2B           3B     HR    TB        Walks     K      BA     OBP
Totals        B      313   53298 14786 2337          705    393 19712        5208    4222   0.277   0.342
Totals        L     1630 306132 91998 15416         4928   4622 131136      29817   20750   0.301   0.363
Totals        R     3361 488495 135130 23116        6343   4879 185569      39371   44253   0.277   0.331
Totals    All       5304 847925 241914 40869       11976   9894 336417      74396   69225   0.284   0.341

        All in all, the 1920s saw domination by hitters. Patience (Walks higher than Ks), Low strikeout rate
(12.25 Abs per K) and consistent power numbers by a few, but fairly numerous players. (Roger Hornsby,
Ken Williams, Cy Williams, Gabby Hartnett, Jim Bottomley, Al Simmons, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott and Hack
Wilson, to name a select, and often, honored few.)

Graph 2.1.5. Total HRs hit by Decade

                                       Graph 2.1.5. : Total HRs hit by Decade



               42500
               40000
               37500
               35000
               32500
               30000
               27500
               25000
               22500
   Total HRs                                                                                            Right
               20000
                                                                                                        Left
               17500
                                                                                                        Both
               15000
               12500
               10000
               7500
               5000
               2500
                  0
                       1910-19 1920-29 1930-39 1940-49 1950-59 1960-69 1970-79 1980-89 1990-99
                                                         Decade



        Only the 1940s saw a lower total of home runs hit given the same amount of teams. (Early 1960s
through the 1990s saw the addition of 14 MLB teams that accounts mostly for the dramatic rise in long
balls.) But a significant jump (148%) in home runs between (1910-1919) to (1920-1929) is clearly evident,
during the introduction of the live ball during the Coolidge Era.
        Also of interest, the number of switch hitters has continued to rise as seen in the power numbers
generated during the 1980s and 1990s. The ability to run while adding the opposite side of the plate for
                                                    46

batting position flexibility has become a high value commodity in baseball. Many teams such as the 1982
through 1987 Cardinals had numerous switch hitters (Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee, Lonnie Smith, etc.) that
took advantage of their quickness out of the box – sans home run hitting. Meanwhile, two of the best
players ever – Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray – used tremendous power from either side of the dish.




One of the most feared sluggers of Coolidge Era: Jimmie ‘The Beast’ Foxx. James Emory Foxx led
the American League in vapor trails to the seats in 1932, 1933, 1935, and 1939, twice going over 50
home runs with Shibe Park and Fenway Park as his home haunt. He amassed 1,117 extra base hits in
only 8,134 at bats or one every eight times he picked up a Louisville Slugger. And four times went
over 150 RBIs in a season. (Photo from the 1937 All-Star Game. The Harris & Ewing Collection,
Library of Congress.)


The Best Hitting Teams by Era
While many men have swung at the ball and crushed it for the long goodbye, some of most memorable
teams ever had a potent lineup worthy of mention. These teams came together at key moments in the
game – the changes from era to era – and thus, it is easy to see how hitting averages altered over time.
                                                      47

Table 2.1.3. Top 5 Hitting Teams based Slugging and On-base Percentages in Taft and Coolidge
  Era Year Team                    SLG OBP W R AB H 2B 3B HR BB
  Taft 1921 New York Yankees 0.464 0.375 98 948 5249 1576 285 87 134 588
  Taft 1921 St. Louis Cardinals 0.437 0.358 87 809 5309 1635 260 88 83 382
  Taft 1921 Detroit Tigers         0.433 0.385 71 883 5461 1724 268 100 58 582
  Taft 1921 Cleveland Indians      0.430 0.383 94 925 5383 1656 355 90 42 623
  Taft 1920 New York Yankees 0.426 0.350 95 838 5176 1448 268 71 115 539

  Era    Year Team                  SLG OBP         W       R     AB H       2B 3B HR BB
  Taft   1921 Detroit Tigers        0.433 0.385     71     883   5461 1724   268 100 58 582
  Taft   1921 Cleveland Indians     0.430 0.383     94     925   5383 1656   355 90 42 623
  Taft   1920 Cleveland Indians     0.417 0.376     98     857   5203 1574   300 95 35 574
  Taft   1921 New York Yankees      0.464 0.375     98     948   5249 1576   285 87 134 588
  Taft   1920 St. Louis Browns      0.419 0.363     76     797   5358 1651   279 83 50 427

                            It should be of little surprise that the New York Yankees appear on
                            high slugging list in both the Taft and Coolidge era. And it is not
                            coincidental that in 1921 and 1930 that the majority of top teams
                            happened to outslug the rest of their respective teams over the 14-year
                            period. In the Taft era, the change happened at the very end of the era.
                            The Coolidge era was tied in with the change to the baseball reported
                            by numerous sources. (Left: Joe McCarthy managed the 1930 Cubs to
                            a disappointing 2nd place finish. His reward: Go manage the New York
                            Yankees. He won 7 World Series at the helm. From Library of
                            Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.)

     Joe McCarthy




  Era Year Team                     SLG     OBP     W      R      AB H       2B 3B HR BB
Coolidge 1927 New York Yankees      0.489   0.383   110   975    5347 1644   291 103 158 635
Coolidge 1930 New York Yankees      0.488   0.384   86    1062   5448 1683   298 110 152 644
Coolidge 1930 Chicago Cubs          0.481   0.378   90    998    5581 1722   305 72 171 588
Coolidge 1930 New York Giants       0.473   0.369   87    959    5553 1769   264 83 143 422
Coolidge 1930 St. Louis Cardinals   0.471   0.372   92    1004   5512 1732   373 89 104 479

  Era Year Team                     SLG OBP         W      R      AB H       2B 3B HR BB
Coolidge 1930 New York Yankees      0.488 0.384     86    1062   5448 1683   298 110 152 644
Coolidge 1927 New York Yankees      0.489 0.383     110   975    5347 1644   291 103 158 635
Coolidge 1931 New York Yankees      0.457 0.383     94    1067   5608 1667   277 78 155 748
Coolidge 1923 Cleveland Indians     0.420 0.381     82    888    5290 1594   301 75 59 633
Coolidge 1925 Detroit Tigers        0.413 0.379     81    903    5371 1621   277 84 50 640
                                                                48

         On-base percentage was slightly more varied, but Taft was predominated by 1921 season,
reflecting the importance of the Babe Ruth, and the changing the baseball.
         The 1927 Yankees and 1930 Yankees were both offensive powerhouses – the one considered
usually the best team in history, the other, just another deficient 3rd place team – with the 3rd place team
outscoring the next best scoring offense (Philadelphia A’s, WS champ in 1930) by 111 runs and also, the
1927 Yankees. The difference in winning was the pitching of Philly.

Table 2.1.4. Top 5 Hitting Teams based Slugging and On-base Percentages in the FDR Era
  Era Year Team                    SLG OBP W R AB H 2B 3B HR BB
 FDR 1936 New York Yankees 0.483 0.381 102 1065 5591 1676 315 83 182 700
 FDR 1936 Cleveland Indians        0.461 0.364 80 921 5646 1715 357 82 123 514
 FDR 1937 New York Yankees 0.456 0.369 102 979 5487 1554 282 73 174 709
 FDR 1947 New York Giants 0.454 0.335 81 830 5343 1446 220 48 221 494
 FDR 1937 Detroit Tigers           0.452 0.370 89 935 5516 1611 309 62 150 656

    Era    Year Team                         SLG OBP          W      R     AB H        2B    3B   HR BB
    FDR    1949 Boston Red Sox               0.420 0.381     96    896    5320 1500    272   36   131 835
    FDR    1936 New York Yankees             0.483 0.381     102   1065   5591 1676    315   83   182 700
    FDR    1938 Boston Red Sox               0.434 0.378     88    902    5229 1566    298   56   98 650
    FDR    1936 Detroit Tigers               0.431 0.377     83     921   5464 1638    326   55   94 640
    FDR    1948 Boston Red Sox               0.409 0.374     96    907    5363 1471    277   40   121 823

        Once again, the prevailing year is 1936, appearing in 4 cases for slugging and on-base percentage.
The Yankees are well represented – with the 1936 Yankees, likely a candidate for the best offense ever,
showing up with the arrival of Joe DiMaggio. Nine of the ten teams are from the American League – with
the Red Sox showing up as nearly the best franchise at getting on base, with Ted Williams the best in his
eras (FDR & IKE) at that particular skill. Boston’s problem (in all years) though was still… the Yankees.
        In 1947, The Giants smashed 221 home runs while getting to only a marginal 81-73 record. At
home, they hit 131 dingers going (45-31) while on the road hitting 90 jacks for (36-42) showing. The run
differential home and away was nearly identical (417-380 at home runs, 413-381 away tally.)1 Reflecting the
oddity of home cooking and poor road performance is often at the crux of why talented teams still fall
short.
        The Detroit Tigers came off a World Series win in 1935 to appear twice on the list as a 900+ run
scoring juggernaut under the player-management of Mickey Cochrane. The 1936 Tigers were a team laden
with bats: LF Goose Goslin, CF Al Simmons, and RF Gerald ‘Gee’ Walker all topped .315 in batting
averages. 2B Charlie Gehringer hit .354 and 3B Marv Owen had his best season at .295 with 105 RBIs. But
their problems stemmed from the mound: Tommy Bridges and Lynwood ‘Schoolboy’ Rowe were their
best arms from 1934-1936, with little behind them. In 1937, Rowe went south for two years, and the
Tigers just never found the type of arms to compete with the awesome Yankees. In 1937, Detroit’s team
ERA was 4.87. Only the Browns put up a worse showing at (6.00).




1
 Reichler Joseph L, editor. The Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Official Record of Major League Baseball. 7th Ed. New York:
Collier Macmillan Publishers; 1988. 618.
                                                     49

Table 2.1.5. Top 5 Hitting Teams based Slugging and On-base Percentages in the IKE Era
  Era Year Team                    SLG OBP W R AB H 2B 3B HR BB
 IKE 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers 0.474 0.366 105 955 5373 1529 274 59 208 655
 IKE 1950 Boston Red Sox           0.464 0.385 94 1027 5516 1665 287 61 161 719
 IKE 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers 0.448 0.356 98 857 5193 1406 230 44 201 674
 IKE 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers 0.444 0.349 92 778 5251 1418 246 56 186 634
 IKE 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers 0.444 0.349 89 847 5364 1461 247 46 194 607
  Era Year Team                    SLG OBP W R AB H 2B 3B HR BB
 IKE 1950 Boston Red Sox           0.464 0.385 94 1027 5516 1665 287 61 161 719
 IKE 1950 Detroit Tigers           0.417 0.369 95 837 5381 1518 285 50 114 722
 IKE 1950 New York Yankees 0.441 0.367 98 914 5361 1511 234 70 159 687
 IKE 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers 0.474 0.366 105 955 5373 1529 274 59 208 655
 IKE 1956 Boston Red Sox           0.419 0.362 84 780 5349 1473 261 45 139 727




Jackie Robinson finishing a cut. He came to
represent more than just the Integration cause.
He represented the offensive power of the        Branch Rickey: Before he was the Mahatma, he
Dodgers. (Originally published by Look Magazine, was just a mediocre catcher with a law degree. But
1954. Bob Sandberg, photographer.)               what he learned in both fields, defined baseball for
                                                 nearly a century. (Library of Congress)

        1950 appears as a defining year (Table 2.1.5.), reflecting the redefinition of the strike zone to the
delight of no one. (Because no team produced an OBP higher than .366 after 1950 due to walks not
increasing. But home runs totals in this era increased.) The Brooklyn Dodgers replaced the usually lethal
Yankees as the top slugging offense. The Dodgers made good use of their prowess in winning their only
World Series title in 1955. But every postseason for Brooklyn presented a well-known obstacle: Giants or
Yankees.
        Detroit in 1950 had the likes of RF Vic Wertz (of Mays fame), 3B George Kell, LF Hoot Evers,
and CF Johnny Groth racking up .300 hitting seasons with ex-Yankee 2B Gerry Priddy and SS Johnny
Lipon having their best seasons at the bat and in the field. (Priddy and Lipon led the league in double plays
turned.)
                                                     50


Table 2.1.6. Top 5 Hitting Teams based Slugging and On-base Percentages in the LBJ Era
  Era Year Team                    SLG OBP W R AB H 2B 3B HR BB
  LBJ 1977 Boston Red Sox          0.465 0.345 97 859 5510 1551 258 56 213 528
  LBJ 1977 Philadelphia Phillies 0.448 0.346 101 847 5546 1548 266 56 186 573
  LBJ 1977 Chicago White Sox 0.444 0.344 90 844 5633 1568 254 52 192 559
  LBJ 1977 New York Yankees 0.444 0.344 100 831 5605 1576 267 47 184 533
  LBJ 1965 Cincinnati Reds         0.439 0.339 89 825 5658 1544 268 61 183 538

  Era     Year Team                 SLG OBP         W      R     AB H       2B    3B   HR BB
  LBJ     1976 Cincinnati Reds      0.424 0.357    102    857   5702 1599   271   63   141 681
  LBJ     1975 Cincinnati Reds      0.401 0.353    108    840   5581 1515   278   37   124 691
  LBJ     1970 San Francisco Giants 0.409 0.351    86     831   5578 1460   257   35   165 729
  LBJ     1977 Minnesota Twins      0.417 0.348    84     867   5639 1588   273   60   123 563
  LBJ     1971 Baltimore Orioles    0.398 0.347    101    742   5303 1382   207   25   158 672

         1977, the year Rawlings took over sole manufacturing of the baseball, is the benchmark of the
struggling offenses, as none eclipsed the 900-run plateau. Since the strike zone expansion in the 1963, and
readjustment back in 1969, the ownerships and ballplayers searched for various ways to increase scoring,
thus the DH was added in 1973 to the American League. Long considered the more explosive league, until
racial integration took firm hold first in the National League during the 1950s, the AL did not leap ahead.

        The Big Red Machine had the cogs for on-base average. With Joe Morgan and Pete Rose as
table setters, and Johnny Bench and Tony Perez driving them home, their offense was finely tuned for this
era – winning back-to-back World Series.
        In 1977, all four slugging powerhouses won over 90 games at the beginning of The Bronx Zoo – as
the Yankees returned to the World Series as champions in 1977 and 1978. Reggie Jackson, lavished in
Steinbrenner’s gold, set a trend for adding a hired gun to secure World Series titles on an all ready talented
team. (And earned the golden moniker Mr. October as well.)




 2B Joe Morgan – NL MVP in 1975 and 1976.            Catcher Johnny Bench controlled the base paths and
  Now: Commentator for ESPN. (Courtesy of            the batters’ box for the Reds in 17 seasons. (Courtesy
           John VanderHaagen)                                       of John VanderHaagen)
                                                       51




     Reggie Jackson: Now a coach for the
      Bombers, he was instrumental to the                 Pete Rose: As a rookie. Charlie Hustle was just
  resurrection of the Yankees in the 1970s. He          getting started on his lifetime records of hits, games
 recently co-authored Sixty Feet, Six Inches with      played, and 44-game hit streak in the National League.
   HOF pitcher Bob Gibson. (Keith Allison)              Now: Disavowed by Major League Baseball and the
                                                                            Hall of Fame.


Table 2.1.7. Top 5 Hitting Teams based Slugging and On-base Percentages in the Reagan Era
  Era Year Team                    SLG OBP W R AB H 2B 3B HR BB
 Reagan 1979 Boston Red Sox        0.456 0.344 91 841 5538 1567 310 34 194 512
 Reagan 1982 Milwaukee Brewers 0.455 0.335 95 891 5733 1599 277 41 216 484
 Reagan 1987 Detroit Tigers        0.451 0.349 98 896 5649 1535 274 32 225 653
 Reagan 1980 Milwaukee Brewers 0.448 0.329 86 811 5653 1555 298 36 203 455
 Reagan 1979 Milwaukee Brewers 0.448 0.345 95 807 5536 1552 291 41 185 549

 Era     Year Team                    SLG     OBP     W      R     AB H       2B    3B   HR BB
Reagan   1988 Boston Red Sox          0.420   0.357   89    813   5545 1569   310   39   124 623
Reagan   1987 Boston Red Sox          0.430   0.352   78    842   5586 1554   273   26   174 606
Reagan   1989 Boston Red Sox          0.403   0.351   83    774   5666 1571   326   30   108 643
Reagan   1979 California Angels       0.429   0.351   88    866   5550 1563   242   43   164 589
Reagan   1980 Cleveland Indians       0.381   0.350   79    738   5470 1517   221   40   89 617

        The Red Sox still prove that they can get on base with regularity. The only year they see the World
Series (1986) happens to be the not a particularly good year for reaching base as a team. Boston 3B Wade
Boggs was the best on-base percentage player on the Red Sox from 1983-1989.
        Slugging the ball appears the better way to reach the 90-win plateau (without discussing pitching),
as Harvey’s Wallbangers in Milwaukee take on the fleet afoot, White Rat-led St. Louis Cardinals in an
exciting 7-game, 1982 World Series. (Manager Whitey Herzog a.k.a. the White Rat.)
                                                      52

         Milwaukee had a potent lineup of SS Robin Yount, 2B Paul Molitor, CF Gorman Thomas, LF Ben
Oglivie, 1B Cecil Cooper, and C Ted Simmons in meeting the power-poor Cardinals, with Ozzie Smith
and Keith Hernandez anchoring their infield, Lonnie Smith stealing 68 bases, and Bruce Sutter closing out
games. Whitey Ball won out.
         The 1987 Detroit Tigers win 98 games and have the statistically superior team to the upstart, 85-
win Minnesota Twins, who were outscored 806-786 in the regular season. Sparky Anderson’s Tigers, with
the experience of winning the 1984 World Series, should win on paper. But Minnesota’s crafty pitching
staff of Bert Blyleven and Frank Viola, and young dynamos Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Gary Gaetti,
propelled the Twins over Detroit, 4-1 in the ALCS. They win in an exciting 7-game series against the
speedy Cardinals. Mediocrity won out.




  3B Paul Molitor led the American League in               SS Robin Yount led the American League in
  scoring (136) while swiping 41 bases and batting         Slugging (.578), scored 129 runs and batted .331
  .302 in 1982 for the Brewers. Molitor hit .355 in        in 1982. Yount hit .414 in the 1982 World Series.
  the World Series, all singles. He was inducted in        He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999
  the Hall of Fame in 2004. (Paul Morse, White             and is bronzed outside of Milwaukee’s Miller
  House photo)                                             Park. (Courtesy of Matt Schilder)

Table 2.1.7. Top 5 Hitting Teams based Slugging and On-base Percentages in the Clinton Era
  Era Year Team                    SLG OBP W R AB H 2B 3B HR BB
Clinton 2003 Boston Red Sox        0.491 0.360 95 961 5769 1667 371 40 238 620
Clinton 1997 Seattle Mariners      0.485 0.355 90 925 5614 1574 312 21 264 626
Clinton 1994 Cleveland Indians 0.484 0.351 66* 679 4022 1165 240 20 167 382
Clinton 1996 Seattle Mariners      0.484 0.366 85 993 5668 1625 343 19 245 670
Clinton 2001 Colorado Rockies      0.483 0.354 73 923 5690 1663 324 61 213 511
                                                           53

     Era      Year Team                    SLG OBP       W      R      AB H       2B    3B   HR BB
    Clinton   1994 New York Yankees        0.462 0.374   70*   670    3986 1155   238   16   139 530
    Clinton   1999 Cleveland Indians       0.467 0.373   97    1009   5634 1629   309   32   209 743
    Clinton   1996 Cleveland Indians       0.475 0.369   99    952    5681 1665   335   23   218 671
    Clinton   2000 Cleveland Indians       0.470 0.367   90    950    5683 1639   310   30   221 685
    Clinton   1994 Chicago White Sox       0.444 0.366   67    633    3942 1133   175   39   121 497

Repeat Offenders?
The 2003 Boston Red Sox set the record for highest slugging percentage in MLB history, breaking the
1927 Yankees 76-year record. They lost a heartbreaking 7-game ALCS to the Yankees, with a home run
coming from another less-than-stellar performer in 3B Aaron Boone, reminiscent of SS Bucky Dent in
1978. (Ray Boone, Aaron’s grandfather, was a long-time Red Sox scout who scouted out Curt Schilling.
Ray was also traded for Tito Francona, father of Terry Francona, the 2-time World Series championship
manager of the Sox.)2 Next season: Hollywood green lights Fever Pitch and the Sox make it a true story.

The Aqua Marine Machine: The 1996-97
Mariners family roots come from the 1970s
Cincinnati dominating offenses. CF Ken Griffey, Jr.
led the team with 49 and 56 dingers with 140 RBIs
both years. RF Jay Buhner: Averaged 42 home runs
and 123 RBIs. A young SS, Alex Rodriguez, pitched
in only 36 home runs in 1996 while scoring 141
runs and banging in 123 RBIs. 1B Paul Sorrento: 27
HR and 88 RBI norm for the season. Catcher Dan
Wilson a respectable 15 jacks and 75 RBIs. DH
Edgar Martinez wore out pitchers with a .328
average, 27 yard ropes, and 105 RBIs. But for all the
runs, and behind-the-scenes drama, the Mariners
wound up shipwrecked short of their ultimate prize.

Right: Ichiro Suzuki hitting a rope. Brought in
after the heyday of Seattle offenses, Ichiro showed
everyone that foreign players are effective. He hit
.350 with 242 hits in his ‘rookie’ year and has never
let up. (Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison)




The Tomahawking Tribe: The Cleveland Indians consistently pounded the ball and reached base at
excellent levels, only to see the Yankees from 1996-2000, win 4 World Series. Not surprisingly, the
Yankees are on the list during this period of greatness. (In 1994 – the strike interrupted a Yankee run to
the title with Cleveland in hot pursuit.) Roberto Alomar hit 20 home runs, 40 doubles, walked 80 times
and stole 30 bases from 1999 to 2001, becoming the prototype second sacker of the 21st century. Alberte
Belle, not a poster child for good behavior, hit 98 home runs in 1995-96, with and without cork. He also

2
    Shaughnessy Dan. Reversing the Curse: Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company; 2005. 10.
                                                    54

put 23 stolen bases in the books in 1993. Guys like Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez – who pulverized over
500 home runs – played for the Tribe at the Jake.

      The 2001 Colorado Rockies reflect slugging does not win even half the games, without pitching.
Something they solved through the use of a humidor, eventually.

(See Appendix: Team Statistics by Era for each Teams Win%, Runs Scored, Allowed, and Attendance
records.)




Jacobs Field: While Camden Yards gets the publicity as the most successful new retro park, the Jake
played host to the best franchise resurrection in baseball history. Cleveland was a doormat so long that
Hollywood made a very successful movie about them, and it came true…soon enough.
(Courtesy of Paul M Walsh.)
                                                               55

                        2.2. Pitching: The Changing Role of Pitchers by Era
Manager Connie Mack was prone to assign a percentage to the parts of the game. “Pitching is 70% of the
ballgame,” was uttered likely while Mack had Lefty Grove as his top starter. Others in the business of
pitching proclamations have assigned 30, 40, or 90% of the deciding factor to the art of pitching in the
defeating opponents. More likely, the outcomes of the games have much to contribute to the perception
of the importance of pitching. In a 2-1 ballgame, obviously pitching seems paramount in the close, low
scoring clash, unless, one saw numerous blunders on the bases, or great glove work rescuing either side’s
mound twirler. Meanwhile a 12-9 “softball game” might have been a pitching duel, except for one inning,
or late inning blowups by both sides’ relievers. It all depends – the pitchers have the final say until the ball
is thrown.

Softball Meet Hardball
         In those very early days of the sport, it was considered important for the pitcher “to get the ball
over” for the hitter’s benefit. A pitcher was selected for his skill at aiming ‘high’ or ‘low’, with little
attempts made to be overpowering to those early men of the bat. Pitchers were special only because they
could be “accurate and precise” and influence hitters’ outcomes more than anything else, but not to
eviscerate scoring completely. The fielders were still very raw – and fans celebrated games for their unusual
plays and new feats achieved by the players. Such experimentation and experience came hand in hand.
         But as money influenced where guys played, how they played, and to what end, competition grew
fierce, and rules changed the aspects of a pitcher’s guile and gifts, likely, the most of all. No doubt, as one
man’s particular skill was found, he exploited it to his ultimate personal gain. If such a skill was too
overpowering – a great fastball, a trick pitch, a windup that befuddled batters, or ‘additives’ to the ball – a
rule change was sure to follow.
         Just a few of these rules to promote offenses over a pitcher’s newly acquired gifts:

       1880: A Walk on eight balls, instead of nine; catcher must catch the ball on a fly for a strikeout.
       1881: Pitcher’s box (mound1) located 50 feet, instead of 45 feet away.
       1882: A Walk on seven balls.
       1883: A foul ball caught on first bounce no longer an out.
       1884: Pitcher’s motion limited to a shoulder-high delivery; instead of passing below the hip.
              o Walk on six balls.
       1885: A bat can be flat on one side.
       1886: Walk on 7 balls.
       1887: Batters no longer allowed to call out a ‘high’ or ‘low’ pitch.
              o Strike Zone defined: top of shoulder to bottom of the knee.
              o Walk on five ball pitches.
              o Strike out on four strikes instead of three, where the first “called” third strike did not
                  count.
       1889: Walk on four balls.
       1893: Pitching distance increased to 60 feet six inches.
              o Bat must be completely round.
       1895: Bat diameter increased to 2 ¾ inches from 2 ½ inches.
       1900: Home plate from 12-inch square to a pentagon 17 inches wide.
       1903: Pitching mound no higher than 15 inches above home plate.
          – From The Baseball Encyclopedia, Seventh Edition (MacMillan)

1
    Technically, the usage of a “mound” did not come until at least the 1890s.
                                                                 56

Transition to Young
         The entire decade of the 1880s was a time of transition if you threw a baseball to a hitter. The rules
changed yearly; and a young catcher in Connie Mack was there to see it all transform right before his
tactical mind. Pitchers were obviously gaining the upper hand: able to get strikeouts before the walks.
         In 1886, Matthew Aloysius “Matches” Kilroy sent 513 men back to the dugout on strikeouts in the
old American Association. Thomas “Toad” Ramsey racked up 499 strikeouts for Louisville the same
season. Charley “Old Hoss” Radbourn put 441 men back on the bench in 1884 in the National League,
claiming the triple crown of pitching: 60 wins, 1.38 ERA and the “backward Ks” to boot.
         But the 1887 season was a defining moment in baseball history: pitchers never garnered more than
383 strikeouts again – after six men did it in three seasons in three leagues – and the rules were changing
drastically across the board. Coincidentally, the racial barrier was erected in almost the same breath. (Could
certain frustrations with rules changes in the game have extended into the allowance of African-Americans
to integrate in the game without hassles?)

        The move backwards to the odd distance of 60 feet six inches in 1893 came after Cy Young led the
Cleveland Spiders with a 36-11 record and 1.93 ERA while participating in postseason playoffs against the
Boston Beaneaters in 1892, losing 5-0 to their 1890s dynasty. Young’s sub 2.00 ERA was nearly ½ run
better than the next best pitcher, and carried Cleveland to a league leading 2.41 ERA, again outclassing
their nearest rival, Boston, by nearly a half-run (2.86).
        In that first season after the change, 1893, no team carried an ERA below 4.00. Young’s ERA
adjusted to double his prior year’s work: 3.94, still good for 4th in the entire 12-team National League. Cy
Young proved resilient to any changes made over the next 20 years. Age was his only enemy.
        It took several years before other pitchers got back to even with the batters. And the game
reflected that as it modernized and developed.

Brown, Mathewson, and Waddell
The decade of the Aughts brought fearless pitching back to the limelight as the legal team of Mordecai
Brown, Christy Mathewson, and Rube Waddell ruled the bump and handed down their decisions. (You
lose.)
         George ‘Rube’ Waddell (1876-1914) was Connie Mack’s first superstar – and uncontrollable one
at that. Waddell never met a day exactly the same way. He would get urges to do whatever came to his
mind: play a pickup game with children on a game day; hop a train and skip town and out on his bills; sit
between innings with the fans; or do handsprings on the field just to amuse. Holding him to his word, or a
contract, nothing doing. That Mack kept Rube is a tribute to his enormous talent. Rube brought the
strikeout back to life with 349 punchouts in 1904 with 25 wins to boot. Got them all via a jughandle curve
and the Zeus-like fire from his lefty fingertips. Instinctual. Raw. And never dull. Rube totaled four-twenty
win seasons and seven league strikeout titles under Mack, but injured himself, then bounce around until
his death via tuberculosis. Rube would die on April Fools Day, and entered the HOF in 1946, smiling.
         Christy Mathewson (1880-1925) was the best pitcher of the entire decade. He came into the
game at a time when roughnecks, umpire baiting, fights, and decorum was at an all-time low. Mathewson
was well-breed, and erudite, while carrying a big stick (or arm) like Teddy Roosevelt. While attending
Bucknell with an emphasis on glee club, the literary society, as well as football, Mathewson was sought by
Connie Mack, attempting to ply him over to the A’s. Luckily, for the National League, Mathewson found
his way to New York and John McGraw via owner Andrew Freedman’s legal threats.2
         Mathewson from 1903 -1911 won at least 24 games eight times, going four times over 30. His
ERA was under 2.30 in all of those eight seasons. Matty’s best pitch: a fadeaway, a screwball, for a

2
    Macht Norman L. Connie Mack and The Early Years of Baseball. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2007. 221-225.
                                                      57

man never prone to screwing around on the mound, or off. (Unless with McGraw at the theatre.) Matty
went to war, suffered from being gassed, and died before his name was inducted amongst the
immortals of baseball. But no one ever doubted he belonged, as the initial class of 1936 reflects.
        Mordecai Peter ‘Three-Finger’ Brown (1876-1948) gave his best to the Chicago Cubs –
participating in their first four NL championships and only World Series wins. A typical Indiana farm boy
that actually garnered advantage from the mangling of his hand – missing his entire index finger with no
use of his pinky – he mastered the Giants from 1906 to 1910 winning over 25 games four times.




Three Fingers, no problem: Brown’s hand, a gnarled wonder, got him into the Hall in 1949.

The Big Bam Effect
As discussed in Hitting (Section 2.1.), a change in the offensive output by teams during the early 1920s
came an opposite affect in the pitching effectiveness of Coolidge Era pitchers measured by ERA (Earned
Run Average.) No longer was it a league norm to have 4 or 5 pitchers with ERAs under 2.25 in a season
like most of the Taft years saw. (In 1913, the Chicago White Sox had 3 pitchers (Cicotte, Scott, and
Russell) that had ERAs under 2.00 while throwing in excess of 260 innings. They repeated this unique
statistic again in 1917 with Cicotte, Faber, and Russell throwing over 180 innings apiece.)
         Instead, during the first few seasons of the ‘live ball’ era, the best Earned Run Averages jumped by
at least ½ run over the normal leaders in the Taft era (1908-1921). Along with that significant modification
came the shortening of the duration of the starters’ performances.
         Once again, the significant rise in Earned Run Average can be seen in the starting in 1920 in both
Leagues. During this time, starting pitchers length of pitching outings decreased from 8 innings to well
under 7.50 innings per start. (Determined by taking (Total Appearances made – Games Started) x 1.66 (a
fair estimate of an average relief outing in 1910-1935 for a usual starter and subtracting these ‘extra’ innings
from typical starters.))
         For years, workhorse pitchers in both leagues existed, sometimes pitching doubleheaders against
any logical reasoning to do so. (‘Iron Joe’ McGinnity did this feat five times. Numerous others in both
MLB and Negro Leagues were acquainted to this utilization of their talents.) But as offenses took an up
tick, managers became more conscious (or saw it didn’t make sense to leave a guy on the mound to get
shelled) of utilizing relief pitchers (or even starters between games.)
         Maybe a more significant issue was the lack of necessity to overpower hitters for much of the time
frame. Pitchers pitched to contact; and the hitters looked to make contact. Not every time for certain, but
the need to blow away hitters may have been seen as fairly unimportant, if a defense played well. With that
said, a talented pitcher could save his best stuff for the difficult situations in the late innings. And top-
flight managers still used their workhorses as much as possible.
         Still, most pitching staffs pitched a significant number of complete games – due to the lack of true
‘specialists’ that got hitters out in close games. It was not a duty to be sought out – relief pitching –
                                                                                       58

because the usefulness, as of yet, was not seen, or even yet determined truly effective. A few of the early
successful warriors (and oft one-year wonders) in mop-up relief/closing games:

                         •            1913 – Brooklyn Dodger, Bull Wagner, 70 2/3 IP, 5.48 ERA, 18 games
                         •            1914 – Chicago White Sox, Bill Lathrop, 47 2/3 IP, 2.64 ERA, 19 games
                         •            1915 – New York Giants, Ferdie Schupp, 54 2/3 IP, 5.10 ERA, 23 games
                         •            1916 – New York Yankees, Slim Love, 47 2/3 IP, 4.91 ERA, 20 games
                         •            1921 – New York Giants, Slim Sallee, 96 1/3, 3.64 ERA, 37 games, 2 saves
                         •            1921 – St. Louis Cardinals, Lou North, 86 1/3, 3.54 ERA, 40 games, 7 saves
                         •            1922 & 23 – New York Giants, Claude Jonnard, 192 IP, 3.55 ERA, 10 saves
                         •            1925 – Washington Senators, Firpo Marberry (flame thrower), 93 1/3 IP, 3.47 ERA, 15 saves
                         •            1928 – St. Louis Cardinals, Hal Haid, 47.0 IP, 2.30 ERA, 5 saves
                         •            1931 – Brooklyn Dodgers, Jack Quinn (spitballer)3, 64 1/3 IP, 2.66 ERA, 15 saves

Graph 2.2.1. Starters IP and Earned Run Average by Year (minimum 10 starts by pitcher)

                                           Graph 2.2.1.: Starters IP and Earned Run Average by Year (minimum 10 starts by pitcher)

                                8.5

                                8.0

                                7.5

                                7.0          Starters IP per
                                             game goes down
                                6.5          as relievers become
  IP per Start/ERA for Season




                                             an alternative
                                6.0
                                                                                                                                           AL ERA
                                5.5
                                                                                                                                           NL ERA
                                              ERA Average increase
                                                                                                                                           AL Outing
                                5.0           came with the offensive                                                                      NL Outing
                                              explosion
                                4.5

                                4.0

                                3.5

                                3.0

                                2.5

                                2.0
                                   10
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                                                                                Year

         Rarely did more than 15 pitchers per season amass innings solely as a relief pitcher. In many cases,
Off Starters came in to ‘mop up’ for the their counterparts. By the end of the FDR era (1950), the

                         3
                          James B, Neyer R. The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers and Pitches. New York:
                         Simon & Schuster; 2004. 348.
                                                                                    59

unswerving usage (by a few managers) of a middle reliever/closer type was consistently seen as top starters
decreased their innings pitched, relief appearances between starts, and more innings pitched by the 5th-9th
best pitchers on the staff on many teams.
        The change in roles had only just begun.

Graph 2.2.2. Relief Pitchers and Total Saves (1920-1950)

                                                          G ra p h 2 .2 .2 .: R e lie f P itc h e rs a n d T o ta l S a v e s



                    30                                                                                                               140




                                                                                                                                     120
                    25
                                                                                                                                                         AL


                                                                                                                                                         NL
                                                                                                                                     100

                    20                                                                                                                                   T o ta l
                                                                                                                                                         Saves
  No. of Pitchers




                                                                                                                                     80




                                                                                                                                           Total Saves
                    15


                                                                                                                                     60



                    10

                                                                                                                                     40




                     5
                                                                                                                                     20




                     0                                                                                                               0
                      0


                             2


                                    4


                                           6


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                                                         0


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                                                                            Y ear




       In one of Bill James’s more interesting passages (Valuing Relievers, Historical Baseball Abstract, page
232-239), the evolving role of the relief pitcher was defined by five different patterns of usage via a
computer simulation:

               •         Clint Brown pattern: starting pitcher gets shelled and the reliever was not tired. Normally the
                         reliever got into over 55 games and pitch over 105 innings and amass ten saves. This was the
                         FDR Era pattern (mid-1930s to early 1950s) for guys like Clyde Shoun, Joe Page, or Ace Adams.
                                                                60

      •   Elroy Face type: saved for later innings in a close game. Never pitch more than 3 innings, obtain
          1-2 days between longer appearances and come in when the game was +/- 2 runs. This pattern
          started in the IKE Era (1950-1962) and relievers got into 60 games for 96 innings and
          generated 15 saves.

          2nd generation of closers during the 1950s:
                  Cardinals – Al ‘Cotton’ Brazle (51-54)
                  Yankees – Luis ‘Yo-Yo’ Arroyo (60-62)
                  Reds-White Sox – Jim ‘Professor’ Brosnan (60-63)
                  Yankees – Ryne Duren (58-60)
                  Cubs – Don Elston (58-62)
                  Pirates –Elroy Face (56-67)
                  Giants – Marvin Grissom (54-58)
                  Cubs-Reds –Bill Henry (58-63)
                  Boston – Ellis ‘Old Folks’ Kinder (51-55)
                  Brooklyn/LA – Clem Labine (53-59)
                  Cardinals/Cubs/Giants/Yankees/Royals – Lindy McDaniel (59-75)
                  Giants/Cards/Indians/Orioles/White Sox/Angels/Braves/Cubs/Dodgers – Hoyt Wilhelm
                  (52-72)

      •   Hoyt Wilhelm scenario: Matches up well with the LBJ era (1963-1977) where as in James
          thought, relievers were “worked to death.”4 These relievers pitched in over 70 games for 128
          innings and recorded 24 saves. The reliever replaced the starter out of preferring the bullpen
          ace’s stuff in the crucial situation to the starter’s ability to get outs in a close game, whether up or
          behind. Guaranteed to work ever other game at least 1-to-2 innings. Mike Marshall, Ted
          Abernathy, Mudcat Grant, Sparky Lyle, Wilbur Wood, and Wilhelm were all put in this workhorse
          mode.

      •    Bruce Sutter bullpen ace: From the late 1970s to the early 1990s (Reagan era), a reliever only
          came in “save” situations, never with the game tied or the trailing. With less work than the
          Wilhelm model (61 games, 111 innings, but 38 saves), these guys could pile up huge save
          numbers and eventually were paid in lockstep with the glamour of the position as “the closer.”
          Rollie Fingers, Lee Smith, Goose Goosage and Dave Righetti were utilized in this way.

      •   Robb Nen modern, 1-inning type: In the Clinton era (1992-2005) and likely beyond, top
          relievers only see the ninth inning of games in which their teams are ahead. Trevor Hoffman, Billy
          Wagner, Mariano Rivera, Armando Benitez, Jose Mesa, Billy Koch, Troy Percival, Roberto
          Hernandez and John Wetteland, all fit this mold. According to James (2001), his model produced
          stats of 77 games, 91 innings, 41 saves in this usage.

      With usual allowances for extreme situations, James’ study concludes that:
    1. 100 runs saved by a top reliever impacts a team greater than 100 runs by a starter.
    2. The number varies between 36% to 97% more. But it is at least 70% more important for a reliever to
       stop those late inning runs compared to a starters’ contribution.
    3. The latest usage (1992-2005) is not the best answer.

4
 James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
234.
                                                              61

    4. The pitchers in the LBJ era were likely the best utilized: more innings, number of situations decided
       under their control and being used in tied games. According to the James’ model, the top relievers up
       to 7.4% of the time can affect a tied game. More than any other scenario usually presented. (From –2
       runs to +3 runs for the home team.) Likely 65 games for 110 innings is adequate usage for The
       Closer to see.

          In The Boys on October, an applicable quote describes the role and importance of a closer:

          “…Everything he does is magnified. The failures of his teammates may be of greater or lesser
          importance, or none at all, depending on the situation. But if he fails, then by definition the game is
          lost…It is among the most nerve-racking of occupations, the perpetual pressure cooker, and not
          only must the closer embrace it but he must convert something like 80 percent of his save
          opportunities, or he’ll be replaced. Few are up to the task, and those who can5 hack it are highly
          prized.”

       On the flipside, starters are essential for anything a MLB team will do to contend for a pennant.
And their work on the bump is tied directly to their ability to adapt, overcome adversity, and prepare for
unusual circumstances. In Men at Work by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George F. Will, Tony LaRussa
and Jim Lefebvre determined there are six ways to make a starting pitcher vulnerable. Specifically:

      1) Leadoff batter in the game. A Starter has just warmed up, come back down and has different
         conditions: a batter, an umpire and a different mound. The starter has no feel for what pitches will
         work and a batter can make him work right out the box via a walk, bunt, or a home run on a
         mistake.
      2) Two quick outs in an inning. Pitchers let up after this condition. Closing out the inning can
         become difficult for the unfocused.
      3) The fifth inning – decision time for a starter. Starters may stress aiming the ball, lower velocity
         in getting too fine, and let their mechanics go. Conscious of the bullpen being able to pick him up.
      4) Unprepared physical. Poor conditioning and inability to repeat his throwing motion. Loses
         location of pitches and dramatic drop in velocity.
      5) Unprepared mentally. Not aware of what the batter likes or fielders’ positioning with regard to
         pitchers’ strength or weaknesses. Giving a batter advantages by pitching to his strongest hitting
         zone.
      6) Unable to overcome adversity. When defense fails behind you. Or a ‘strike’ call is called a ball.
         Or a sure double play is just a force out. Pitchers lose concentration and live in the past on the
         mound. The inability to get back in a normal rhythm.6

         Many pitchers that have successfully mastered these pinpointed weaknesses in their games have
racked up significant victories in their careers. However, some of the best have been noted to have one, or
more, of these flaws in their games at various points in their careers.
         Orel Hershiser better known as the ‘Surgeon’ for his ability to slice up an order and think ahead of
the hitters usually, was not always so attentive to the little things. His fielding, wild pitches, balks, hit
batters, and throws to the bases are rated amongst the worst in baseball history. (Bill James, Historical
Abstract, 2001.) Late in his career, hitting batters and throwing wild ones happen at least once every other game.
Early on though, Hershiser put together a consecutive scoreless inning streak in 1988 that spanned 7

5
  Hornig Doug. The Boys of October: How the 1975 Boston Red Sox Embodied Baseball’s Ideals – and Restored Our Spirits. Chicago:
Contemporary Books; 2003. 74.
6
  Will George F. Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company; 1990. 24-25.
                                                                62

games and broke Don Drysdale 58 + innings record. (Who also broke Walter Johnson’s 56 innings of
donuts in 1913.)

        Robert Moses ‘Lefty’ Grove was known for his explosive temperament, hotheaded demeanor, and
win-at-all-costs attitude. A true fireballer, with a knack for explosions when the game went south, Grove
could go from in steely control on the mound to a loss of composure in a matter of a batter, if a teammate
blew a play. But his stuff overwhelmed most batters as his 300-141 record attests. This after starting out at
age 25 as a true wild lefty that had control problems (5.98 walks per nine innings in 1925 after being
purchased for a then record $100,600 from Jack Dunn and the most powerful minor league team of the
1920s, the Baltimore Orioles.)

        Nolan Ryan, likely the best-conditioned pitcher of his generation (#4), also was one of the wildest,
giving up walks at a 4.67 per nine-inning clip for his career. In the 1970s, Nolan’s walks per 9 innings were
regular above 5.5 and sometimes over 6. As he aged though, he found the plate more regularly, improving
to the 3.5 per game neighborhood. After 1984, at age 37, Ryan’s number of walks became manageable and
K/BB ratio was the best in his career at nearly 2.8 to 1. (Nolan was also not afraid to fight a batter after
hitting him with ‘The Express’: Chicago White Sox 3B Robin Ventura once was taught a lesson on how to
take a plunking.)

         Warren Spahn, who won 363 games, never forgot what a batter liked (#5.) In Baseball’s Hall of
Fame, Jerry Brondfield recounts a conversation with Johnny Sain, teammate and quality pitcher with the
Braves: “…He was a great fielder off the mound. He had a terrific pickoff move to first. He was the only
pitcher alive who ever picked Jackie Robinson off first – twice in one game. He also had a memory like an
elephant. One of the league’s best hitters once got a double off a fastball Spahn had thrown him high and
inside. The guy didn’t see a fastball, high and inside, off Spahn for the next 10 years.”7 Spahn’s successful
preparation (#5) led to twenty wins a season for thirteen years. This is not a surprise considering his
coolness under fire as he received a battlefield commission from sergeant to lieutenant during the battle
for the Rhine River in WWII.8
         But even Spahn had a nemesis in Willie Mays and the home run. Mays tagged him for 18 home
runs after starting out 0 for 21 against Spahn.9 Spahn, always around the plate, regularly saw 25 home runs
a year hit off him but also typically walk around 2.5 batters/game yearly. Spahn counterbalanced some of
this flaw by being able to hit better than nearly any other pitcher of his era. (9 times Spahn recorded
double-digit RBIs and had 35 total homers in his career.)
         Spahn won more games than any other lefty in modern baseball history.

        Sandy Koufax spent the first six seasons of his career trying to overcome severe control problems
and the quiet opinions of HOF manager Walter Alston. Starting in 1961, Koufax quit overthrowing and
aiming the ball and found his command via a ‘rocking motion’10 of a plus fastball and a powerful curveball
to the devastation of the National League. From 1962-1966, he lead the league in ERA, posting 3 seasons
under 2.00 while winning 25 games or more three times. In 57 innings pitched in the World Series, Koufax
posted a 0.95 ERA, 4-3 record, with 61 Ks against a meager 11 walks.

        On the opposite end, 350-game winner Roger Clemens and HOF Bob Gibson are/were known
for their knack of taking everything done on a ball field as an outlet to become more pissed off and using
7
  Brondfield Jerry. Baseball’s Hall of Fame. New York: Scholastic Inc.; 1983. 97.
8
  Brondfield Jerry. Baseball’s Hall of Fame. New York: Scholastic Inc.; 1983. 95.
9
  James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
850.
10
   Myers Doug, Gola Mark. The Complete Book of Pitching. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2000.
                                                          63

batters as punch out bags. (Anti-Rule #6) Making them angry through verbal sparring or smart play will
only make them more determined to put a batter on his back or their whiffing futilely at a Gibson or
Clemens delivery. (Or throwing a broken bat back at an opposing hitter…) Gibson also could beat you
with his bat (20 RBIs) and his legs (5 SB) in a single season.
         That Gibson developed this hard nose attitude after living in a housing project, being raised by his
mother (his father died before his birth), driven relentlessly by his older brother Josh, going to Creighton
University as a two-sport athlete, and being offered $4,000 to play for Cardinals is not at all unusual for a
1950s talented black youth. Grit came with background.
         Gibson was also offered $4,000 to play for Abe Saperstein’s Harlem Globetrotters. Luckily he
stayed with baseball.
         When Chris Speier, a young Giants shortstop, mouthed off to Gibson, Speier garnered only more
attention after he later backed down. The result: he got some chin music from a 95+ MPH flame-throwing
Gibson.11
         Gibson had a purpose with every pitch – he rarely wasted the effort on throwing the ball if it did
not have an intention, like a criminal. He gamed the hitter; run a fastball way inside on power hitters like
Aaron, Mays, Banks, or McCovey. (Depending on the situation.) But this was done to set up the guy for
any perceived weakness away. And his greatest intimidation never came from a stare down contest – just
his stuff versus a batter’s best estimation of what will come next.
         He soon won too often for the owners’ liking.
         When Gibson contorted the confrontation so much, the owners changed the mound, and strike
zone in 1969, he suffered, a bit – as anyone does who had mastered the dominating men who hit balls 450
feet regularly. Gibson never came within an earned run of his 1.12 ERA mastery in 1968.

         In Empires and Idiots, Mike Vacarro reflects this particular inside drive in certain pitchers, “If Clemens
had earned a reputation as the modern pitcher most likely to adhere to baseball’s old code of frontier
justice…then Pedro [Martinez] was the heir apparent, Bob Gibson to Clemen’s Don Drysdale.”12
         Drysdale plunked 18 and 17 batters in 1959 and 1966, about 1 every other start while also clocking
29 home runs in his career. Abusing both batters and opposing pitchers with his play.
         1951 New York Giants ace Sal ‘The Barber’ Maglie was also a strict adherent of this frontier justice
philosophy. Sal finished with a .657 lifetime winning percentage in a 10-year career.
         As professor and author of Dollar Sign on the Muscle Kevin Kerrane relates on Sal Maglie, “Another
scheming meanie was Sal Maglie, who avoided getting to know the hitters personally, ‘I might like them,’
he said, ‘and then I might not want to throw at them.’ Maglie earned his nickname by giving batters close
shaves; his control was so fine that he could scare them without hitting them.”13 Maglie also looked the
part of intimidator. With classic mobster good looks, he compiled a 59-18 record from 1950 to 1952 during
the Giants heyday.

The Many Roles of the Slabmen
        Undoubtedly, many pitchers could be discussed for their ability to succeed, or fail, in a certain roles
while in the big leagues. Over the course of the last 100 years, the variation from starter, to long reliever, to
middle reliever to the closer has seen its fair share of adjustments to usage, value, and quality in those
roles. And every pitcher, at one time or another, has had a cup of coffee in them.
Diagram 2.2.1. The Change in Pitching Statistics by his Role on a Team by Era


11
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 272.
12
   Vaccaro Mike. Emperors and Idiots: The Hundred-Year Rivalry Between the Yankees and Red Sox, from the Very
Beginning to the end of The Curse. New York: Doubleday; 2005. 34.
13
   Kerrane Kevin. The Hurlers: Pitching Power and Precision. New Berlin, Wisconsin: Redefinition Books; 1989. 24-25.
                                                                64

                                                    Pitchers by Role
        Starters: 18 or more Starts, >=60% Appearances               Part-time Starters &
              as Starters<=10% Saves, <=5 Saves                      Long Relief: Less than 18 Starts, Between 25%
                                                                     to 100% As Starters, <=10% Saves, <=5 Saves
      Earned Run Average, IP per game, Relief Appearance Avg.          Earned Run Average
     Reagan          3.76           6.22           1.90                  Reagan       4.53
     Clinton         4.22           6.05           1.16                  Clinton      5.24
     Coolidge        3.85           6.30           6.81                  Coolidge     4.69
      FDR            3.63           6.31           5.63                   FDR         4.33
       IKE           3.64           6.08           5.20                    IKE        4.48
       LBJ           3.40           6.32           3.09                    LBJ        4.22
       Taft          2.75           6.63           7.46                    Taft       3.41


         Middle Relief: Less than 18 Starts, Less                    Closers: Less than 25% Starts, > 10% Saves,
         than 25% Starts, <=10% Saves, <=5 Saves                     >=5 Saves
                                                                       % of Seasons Pitched, ERA, SV per season
          % of Innings Pitched, Earned Run Average                   Reagan       10.5%         3.06        16.12
            Reagan          15.2%           4.12                     Clinton       6.8%         3.36        22.97
             Clinton        24.1%           4.51                     Coolidge     1.1%          3.64        8.75
            Coolidge         8.5%           5.30                      FDR         2.4%          3.45        10.10
              FDR           10.1%           4.85                       IKE         6.8%         3.26        11.21
              IKE           11.6%           4.67                       LBJ        10.2%         2.92        13.09
              LBJ           11.8%           4.15                       Taft       0.2%          2.95        7.00
              Taft           3.9%           4.35




        In looking at the role pitchers play in a game, from starter to the closer, the affects made in their
roles have significantly modified the game of baseball. As offense has come to dominate the game, the
specialization of the pitcher has introduced weaknesses that in the past were not nearly as prevalent. (As the
prior discussion of relievers’ usage pointed out.)
        In defining the roles of the pitchers, this author categorized them based on their season-to-season
usage for each time frame using the following criteria:
             Starters: 18 or more starts, greater than 60% of appearances as starters, less than (or equal)
             10% saves and less than 5 saves
             Long relief, part-time, 5th Starters: less than 18 starts, 25% or more starts, less than (or
             equal) 10% saves and less than 5 saves
             Middle Relief: Less than 18 starts, less than 25% starts, less than (or equal) 10% saves and
             less than 5 saves
             Closers: Less than 25% starts, greater than 10% saves, and more than 5 saves
             Remaining pitchers: those than did not meet these criteria
                                                      65

Table 2.2.1. Number of Pitching Seasons Amassed by Era and Pitching Role
                             Middle
   Era      All Closers       Relief Long Relief Starters Remaining
 Reagan 6136        643        2220        1451     1466     356
 Clinton 8587       586        4270        1883     1639     209
Coolidge 2987       32          923        892       784     356
  FDR      3376     82         1065        1058      818     353
  IKE      3792     256        1314        981       836     405
   LBJ     5045     517        1717        1126     1259     426
  Taft     3159      5          727        1298      837     292
  Total 33082 2121            12236        8689     7639    2397
Table 2.2.2. Percentage of Pitchers by Role by Era
                             Middle
   Era      All Closers       Relief Long Relief Starters Remaining
 Reagan N/A 10.5%             36.2%      23.6%     23.9%    5.8%
 Clinton N/A 6.8%             49.7%      21.9%     19.1%    2.4%
Coolidge N/A 1.1%             30.9%      29.9%     26.2% 11.9%
  FDR      N/A 2.4%           31.5%      31.3%     24.2% 10.5%
  IKE      N/A 6.8%           34.7%      25.9%     22.0% 10.7%
   LBJ     N/A 10.2%          34.0%      22.3%     25.0%    8.4%
  Taft     N/A 0.2%           23.0%       41.1%    26.5%    9.2%

        These tables reflect the growth of mediocrity in the Clinton Era as middle relievers make up nearly
50% of a pitching staff whereas Starters are becoming a smaller and smaller group. Big league teams are no
longer bringing up rookies as starting pitching solutions, but just “fill ins” for mop up relief and the bridge
between the starters and closers.
        Long Relief (which include part-time starters, injured starters and half-season performers) has also
shrunk. From the 1922 to 1991, Starters and Long Relief made up between 47.5% and 56.1% of a MLB
pitching staff. This number has shrunk to 41% in the Clinton Era. As a result, their values have increased
as measured by the innings pitched to number employed in that role reflects.
        However, a team that utilizes the bullpen well, and can come up with two or three men that
consistently get the other team out, without allowing runs aplenty, will become the crème brûlée of league.
And this will take a team deep in the playoffs if the team has the requisite hitting and starting pitching.


Table 2.2.3. Percent of Game Pitched
                             Middle
   Era       All   Closers   Relief Long Relief Starters Remaining
 Reagan N/A 10.5%            15.2%    15.2%     54.4%      4.7%
 Clinton N/A         6.5%    24.1%    16.3%     50.8%      2.3%
Coolidge N/A         1.1%     8.5%    19.1%     55.8% 15.5%
  FDR      N/A       2.5%    10.1%    21.0%     54.2% 12.2%
  IKE      N/A       7.2%    11.6%    17.9%     52.2% 11.3%
  LBJ      N/A 10.2%         11.8%    13.9%     57.8%      6.2%
  Taft     N/A       0.2%     3.9%    23.8%     60.9% 11.2%
                                                      66

Table 2.2.4. Ratio of Innings Pitch to Number Employed in that Role
                               Middle
   Era       All    Closers    Relief Long Relief Starters Remaining
 Reagan N/A          1.00       0.42       0.64     2.28      0.81
 Clinton N/A         0.95       0.49       0.74    2.66       0.96
Coolidge N/A         1.06       0.27       0.64     2.13      1.30
  FDR      N/A       1.03       0.32       0.67     2.24      1.17
  IKE      N/A       1.06       0.33       0.69     2.37      1.05
  LBJ      N/A       1.00       0.35       0.62     2.32      0.74
  Taft     N/A        1.32      0.17       0.58     2.30      1.21

        The value of a starter in terms of innings pitched has roughly been 2.2 to 1 over a closer. However, we
can see that in the Clinton era, closers value decreased to below 1.0 while starters are now at a premium
(2.66.) Middle relief value was nearly non-existent in the Taft era (the role was not defined until the
1930s), but even the increase in innings pitched by these failed starters and closers has not brought them
up to par with the remaining staff.

Table 2.2.5. HR% by Role by Era
                            Middle
   Era       All Closers     Relief       Long Relief Starters Remaining
 Reagan 9.09% 7.98%          8.89%          9.58%     9.19% 9.03%
 Clinton 11.41% 10.46% 11.28%              12.48% 11.23% 11.02%
Coolidge 4.74% 3.12%         5.18%          4.81%     4.64% 4.89%
  FDR     5.92% 5.46%       6.29%           6.06%     5.86% 5.66%
  IKE     9.79% 9.11%       10.05%         10.02% 9.78% 9.62%
  LBJ     8.88% 7.70%        9.10%          9.42%     8.86% 9.05%
  Taft    2.13% 1.83%        2.71%          2.08%     2.08% 2.29%

         An interesting result of this analysis is that Closers in all eras were stingy about giving up home
runs in comparison to their counterparts. Not a surprise to see when you understand that managers are
unlikely to put a pitcher in that will continue to give up home runs at the tail end of the ballgame. The last
two generations, Reagan and Clinton, has seen plenty of Failed Starters (Long Relievers) that allow the long
ball to fly out. But for the first time, Closers in the Clinton Era allowed home runs hit percentage above
10%.

Table 2.2.6. Starter Usage by Era
 Starters Avg. GP IP           IP/G         GS Avg.        RA
 Reagan 30.68 190.99            6.22         28.78         1.90
 Clinton 29.19 176.74           6.05         28.03         1.16
Coolidge 34.68 218.63           6.30         27.87         6.81
  FDR      32.40 204.37         6.31         26.78         5.63
  IKE      33.55 203.96         6.08         28.35         5.20
   LBJ     33.51 211.74         6.32         30.42         3.09
   Taft    35.94 238.27         6.63         28.48         7.46

       Once again, Starters are losing innings per season not only per game but also in games started
average. Relief Appearances (RA) by starters are becoming a rarity. This lose of quality innings pitched out
                                                      67

of the bullpen by starters, taxes the guys that are all ready shown to be the least valuable and most prone to
failure.
         No surprise that among the best era for pitchers (LBJ: 1964-1977) reflects that starters were in an
average of 30.42 games for 211 innings, counting relief appearances. While the top relievers generated a
2.92 ERA (best among all eras) including the dead ball Taft era.

Table 2.2.7. Earned Run Average by Era and Role
                             Middle
   Era       All   Closers   Relief Long Relief Starters Remaining
Reagan      3.87     3.06     4.12        4.53    3.76     3.88
Clinton     4.41     3.36     4.51        5.24   4.22      4.42
Coolidge 4.16        3.64     5.30        4.69   3.85      4.07
FDR         3.92     3.45     4.85        4.33   3.63      3.81
IKE         3.92     3.26     4.67        4.48   3.64      3.95
LBJ         3.57     2.92     4.15        4.22    3.40     3.61
Taft        2.99     2.95     4.35        3.41    2.75     2.93

        The two eras that have seen the greatest surges in offenses, have also seen it in the same areas.
Earned Runs against starters, failed starters, middle relief and remaining pitchers are indicative of an
across-the-board failing.
        For 28 years, from 1936 to 1963, the earned run average in baseball was 3.92. For the same time
frame, full-time Starters had nearly identical Earned Run Averages (3.63.)

         Table 2.2.8. below reflects that a very few pitchers have adapted well to the dual concept of usage
out of the bullpen to go along with starting pitching duties. In earlier times, Taft and Coolidge specifically,
many more pitchers amass 4 or more saves to go along with over 20 starts in a season. However, very few
excelled at this usage after WWII.
         HOF Lefty Grove was used a great deal out of the pen, amassing 51 saves and 31 wins from 1925
to 1933 under manager Connie Mack. Grove became a stopper in the 1929 World Series, pitching both
games he appeared in out of the pen against the right-hand heavy Chicago Cubs in securing the World
title.
         Dizzy Dean pulled off an amassing feat in 1936: leading the league in complete games (28), innings
pitched (315) and saves (11) while finishing second (24) behind “The Meal Ticket”, Carl Hubbell, in wins
(at 26.) Hubbell was no stranger to the bullpen, leading the league in saves (8) and ERA (2.30) in 1934.
         After this era (1908-1935), bullpen work for starters never reached the same levels, but two men
did achieve stardom out of the pen as ‘converted’ quality starters.

         Dennis Eckersley became the model of effectiveness as a converted starter and this led to a HOF
induction. The first to ever amass over 150 wins and over 350 saves, the ‘Eck’ utilized impeccable control
to stifle offenses in the ninth. Very few matched his ability to keep runners off the base paths as an 18-1
K/BB ratio reflects during his time as a Oakland A’s closer.

         For over 15 years, Atlanta’s John Smoltz, a #1 starter on most any pitching staff, was the first to
go from starter-to-closer back-to-starter in a matter of 4 seasons. In 2007, he surpassed the 200-win barrier
to go with 150 saves in a career. His ticket to the HOF is equally secured when he retires.
         In recent years, utilizing hard-throwing or specialty-pitch closers that are new to the big leagues
(less than 3 years) has become much more frequent. As the cost to acquire top-end closers is upwards of
                                                                 68

$8-10 million for 1-inning outings, 65-70 times a season, the ability to convert young minor league talent,
who can either:
       Throw over 95 MPH, locate it well and get strikeouts
       Throw a plus 2nd pitch (usually a hard slider or split finger fastball) that strikeouts batters
       Actually command 3 pitches; just not extremely well on any of them
       Handle pressure well in tight situations, usually after proving themselves as a middle relievers

         This has become an effective way to get power arms up from the minors, who might not pan out
as starters. However, many that get put in this pipeline wash out as the graph below reflects by the number
of closers that are arbitration eligible compared to non-arbitration closers. Yet it does seem that many
teams can get by with younger arms as by 2005-2006, the young guns are becoming a dominating force out of
the bullpen. (Boston Red Sox Jonathan Papelbon was scheduled to be starter, but was used expertly out of
the bullpen in 2006 and 2007.)

Table 2.2.8. Combo Pitchers in History (Starter/Closers)
Era        Year         Name       GP GS CG         IP     Wins   Losses   SV ERA      IP/G HRA    SO    BB    BFP
Taft       1911   Mordecai Brown   53   27   21   270.00    21        11   13   2.80   5.09   5    129   55    1108
Taft       1912   Ed Walsh         62   41   32   393.00    27        17   10   2.15   6.34   6    254   94    1564
Taft       1913   Chief Bender     48   21   14   236.67    21        10   13   2.21   4.93   2    135   59    975
Taft       1913   Larry Cheney     54   36   25   305.00    21        14   11   2.57   5.65   7    136   98    1255
Taft       1915   Tom Hughes       50   25   17   280.33    16        14   9    2.12   5.61   4    171   58    1069
Taft       1916   Bob Shawkey      53   27   21   276.67    24        14   8    2.21   5.22   4    122   81    1064
Taft       1917   Jim Bagby        49   37   26   320.67    23        13   7    1.96   6.54   6    83    73    1266
Taft       1920   Pete Alexander   46   40   33   363.33    27        14   5    1.91   7.90   8    173   69    1447
Coolidge   1926   Lefty Grove      45   33   20   258.00    13        13   6    2.51   5.73   6    194   101   1072
Coolidge   1927   Lefty Grove      51   28   14   262.33    20        13   9    3.19   5.14   6    174   79    1106
Coolidge   1929   Firpo Marberry   49   26   16   250.33    19        12   11   3.06   5.11   6    121   69    1028
Coolidge   1930   Lefty Grove      50   32   22   291.00    28        5    9    2.54   5.82   8    209   60    1191
Coolidge   1932   Lefty Grove      44   30   27   291.67    25        10   7    2.84   6.63   13   188   79    1207
Coolidge   1933   Carl Hubbell     45   33   22   308.67    23        12   5    1.66   6.86   6    156   47    1206
Coolidge   1934   Dizzy Dean       50   33   24   311.67    30        7    7    2.66   6.23   14   195   75    1291
FDR        1936   Dizzy Dean       51   34   28   315.00    24        13   11   3.17   6.18   21   195   53    1303
FDR        1940   Bob Feller       43   37   31   320.33    27        11   4    2.61   7.45   13   261   118   1304
FDR        1937   Cliff Melton     46   27   14   248.00    20        9    7    2.61   5.39   9    142   55    1004
FDR        1943   Dizzy Trout      44   30   18   246.67    20        12   6    2.48   5.61   6    111   101   1019
IKE        1951   Sal Maglie       42   37   22   298.00    23        6    4    2.93   7.10   27   146   86    1210
IKE        1951   Mike Garcia      47   30   15   254.00    20        13   6    3.15   5.40   10   118   82    1066
IKE        1952   Allie Reynolds   35   29   24   244.33    20        8    6    2.06   6.98   10   160   97    1000
IKE        1952   Bob Lemon        42   36   28   309.67    22        11   4    2.50   7.37   15   131   105   1252
LBJ        1964   Dean Chance      46   35   15   278.33    20        9    4    1.65   6.05   7    207   86    1093
LBJ        1965   Sam McDowell     42   35   14   273.00    17        11   4    2.18   6.50   9    325   132   1116
LBJ        1968   Stan Williams    44   24   6    194.33    13        11   9    2.50   4.42   14   147   51    796
Reagan     1988   Tim Belcher      36   27   4    179.67    12        6    4    2.91   4.99   8    152   51    719
Reagan     1986   Scott Garrelts   53   18   2    173.67    13        9    10   3.11   3.28   17   125   74    717
Reagan     1980   Jerry Reuss      37   29   10   229.33    18        6    3    2.51   6.20   12   111   40    907
Clinton    1992   Curt Schilling   42   26   10   226.33    14        11   2    2.35   5.39   11   147   59    895
Clinton    2002   Tim Wakefield    45   15   0    163.33    11        5    3    2.81   3.63   15   134   51    657
                                                            69

                                  Graph 2.2.3. Modern Closers (based on Arbitration Eligibility)
                                         Closers by Years of MLB Service (over 20 saves in a season)


                                                      2.66
                                          Non FA                                             33.6        ERA




                                  2006




                                                              7
                                                                                                         SV
                                         ARB, FA       3.20
                                                                                              34.9       Closers
                                         eligible




                                                                     15
                                                       3.01
                                          Non FA                                             33.5


                                  2005




                                                             6
                                         ARB, FA      2.77
                                                                                                  36.1
                                         eligible




                                                                          19
                                                       3.24
                                          Non FA                                    25.5
                                  2004
                           Year




                                                     2
                                         ARB, FA       3.01
                                                                                                    37.2
                                         eligible




                                                                          20
                                                         4.37
                                          Non FA                                           32.3
                                  2003




                                                      3



                                         ARB, FA       3.25
                                                                                           32.0
                                         eligible



                                                                          20
                                                     1.98
                                          Non FA                                                     38.5
                                  2002




                                                     2




                                         ARB, FA       2.99
                                                                                                  36.0
                                         eligible                              23

Richard ‘Goose’                              No. of Closers, Avg. Saves and Avg. ERA
Gossage: Was the
stopper for the 1978
Bronx Zoo. (Courtesy
of Peter Roan)


John Smoltz: Aside
from top pitcher in
baseball, he is also a
scratch golfer. With his
teammates Greg
Maddux and Tom
Glavine, they make up
the best
golfing/pitching trio to
ever play Georgia’s best
links. (Photo: With
permission of John
Adams.)
                                                     70

        These skilled men go in, night in and night out, to face down potentially the most feared batters in
a close game. Usually, there is no time to setup a batter in one plate appearance; you must go at the hitter.
You expect runners on base to get huge leads.

        And managers will show little patience…and not for very long.

        A closer must produce results under a harsh spotlight.

        And failure is rewarded never.

Best Pitching Teams by Era
During each era, team pitching has been uniquely important to the overall ability of any team to win
games. A league-leading ERA or Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio has led many of best teams to win
championships.
         Similar to the Top 5 Team On-base Percentage and Slugging Average section, these two statistics are
tied to changes in the game of baseball in how it was played and those most successful at the adjustment
are very often competing for their league pennant or a World Series title.

(Note: Bullpen size is tied to 20 or more appearances (outside of starts) and Total Saves is the amount
those men obtained in that sometimes thankless role. CG (Complete Games), SHO (Team Shutouts) and
HRA (Home Run allowed) are also listed for comparisons.)



Table 2.2.9. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio Taft Era
                                                          15-
                            Team                    Team game Bullpen Total    Hits
Year           Team         ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1917   Chicago White Sox     2.16    1.25 100 78 22  21    4     1      9   10 1236
1916   Boston Braves         2.19    1.98 89 97 23   11    3     1      5   24 1206
1919   Chicago Cubs          2.21    1.68 75 80 21    5    2     2      3   14 1127
1919   Cincinnati Reds       2.23    1.37 96 89 23    9    3     1      3   21 1104
1909   New York Giants       2.27    1.85 92 105 17  15    4     1      6   28 1248

                                                          15
                            Team                    Team game Bullpen Total    Hits
Year           Team         ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1911   New York Giants       2.69    2.09 99 95 19   13    3     1      5   33 1267
1913   New York Giants       2.42    2.07 101 82 12  17    3     1      5   38 1276
1916   Boston Braves         2.19    1.98 89 97 23   11    3     1      5   24 1206
1915   New York Giants       3.11    1.96 69 78 15    9    1     3      2   40 1350
1912   New York Giants       2.58    1.93 103 93 8   15    3     1      2   36 1352
                                                        71

                                                                          In what would be their last
                                                                  World Series victory until 2005, the
                                                                  1917 Chicago White Sox had many of
                                                                  the same faces on the 1919 World
                                                                  Series team. Their opponent: the
                                                                  Cincinnati Reds makes it here. Eddie
                                                                  Cicotte, Red Faber, Lefty Williams, and
                                                                  Reb Russell all won 15 games in 1917 –
                                                                  with Cicotte the ace of both the teams.

                                                                  (The 8 Black Sox: Eddie Cicotte,
                                                                  Claude ‘Lefty’ Williams, Fred McMullin,
                                                                  Buck Weaver, Swede Risberg, Happy
                                                                  Felsch, Chick Gandil, and Joe Jackson.)


In 1919, Eddie Collins was playing 2nd base for the Sox. He led
the other group of players (HOF catcher Ray Schalk included)
that played to win against Cincinnati. (Courtesy of the Bain
Collection, Library of Congress.)

      The New York Giants were led by possibly the
best pitcher of the early Taft era: Christy
Mathewson. From 1903 to 1913, Mathewson
topped the NL in wins four times, ERA five times
and strikeouts five times, with the pitching triple
crown in 1908. The 1911 and 1913 New York
Giants lost the World Series to the $100,000 infield
of the Philadelphia A’s Connie Mack. (Who then
dismantled that dynasty by 1915, finishing last at 43-
109.)
(Right: McGraw (left) consults Mathewson on
game preparations and after-game activities. As
both were friends long after Christy stop throwing
his famed fadeaway. (Courtesy of the McGreevey
Collection, Library of Congress.))

         During this time, the usage of bullpen men
was relatively rare, with only 1 man usually
obtaining 20 relief appearances. The difference
between team saves (team SV) and bullpen saves
(total SV) is fairly significant. Most teams utilized
‘off starters’ to accomplish the task of closing out
games. (Guys like Iron Joe McGinnity tossed both
halves of a doubleheader.)
                                                        72

Table 2.2.10. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio Coolidge Era
                                                           15
                             Team                    Team game Bullpen Total    Hits
Year            Team         ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1933   New York Giants        2.71    1.39 91 75 23   15    3     2      9   61 1280
1933   Chicago Cubs           2.93    1.18 86 95 16    9    3     2      1   51 1316
1933   Boston Braves          2.96    1.08 83 85 15   16    3     1      0   54 1391
1924   Cincinnati Reds        3.12    1.54 83 77 14    9    3     2      7   30 1408
1934   New York Giants        3.19    1.42 93 68 13   30    3     4     21   75 1384
Table 2.2.10a. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio Coolidge Era
                                                           15
                             Team                    Team game Bullpen Total
Year             Team        ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA              Hits Allow
1935   Pittsburgh Pirates     3.42    1.76 86 76 15   11    2     1      6   63                1428
1934   St. Louis Cardinals    3.69    1.68 95 78 15   16    3     2      2   77                1463
1935   St. Louis Cardinals    3.52    1.60 96 73 10   18    3     1      2   68                1445
1924   Brooklyn Robins        3.64    1.58 92 97 10    5    2     1      1   58                1432
1924   Cincinnati Reds        3.12    1.54 83 77 14    9    3     2      7   30                1408

1934 National League: The Meal Ticket versus The Gas House Gang. The New York Giants had the
screwball stylings of Carl Hubbell, ‘Fat Freddie’ Fitzsimmons, ‘Prince Hal’ Schumacher, Master Melvin
Ott, and Bill Terry, while the Cardinals had 30-game winner Jay ‘Dizzy’ Dean, Paul ‘Daffy’ Dean, ‘The
Fordam Flash’ Frankie Frisch, Leo ‘The Lip’ Durocher, Johnny ‘Pepper’ Martin, James ‘Ripper’ Collins
and Joe ‘Ducky’ Medwick. Nicknames were never in short supply in these early days of baseball. The
Cardinals won the Series – and created a lasting legacy – in player-manager Frankie Frisch’s only first
place finish while managing.


Table 2.2.11. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio FDR Era
                                                                15
                             Team                         Team game Bullpen Total    Hits
Year             Team        ERA     K/BB    Wins   CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1942   St. Louis Cardinals    2.55    1.38   106    70 18  15    2     3      6   49 1192
1943   St. Louis Cardinals    2.57    1.34   105    94 21  15    2     2      2   33 1246
1944   St. Louis Cardinals    2.67    1.36   105    89 26  12    4     2      7   55 1228
1942   Cincinnati Reds        2.82    1.17    76    80 12   8    3     2      8   47 1213
1942   Brooklyn Dodgers       2.84    1.24   104    67 16  24    4     3     17   73 1205

                                                           15
                             Team                    Team game Bullpen Total     Hits
Year            Team         ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1946   Detroit Tigers         3.22    1.80 92 94 18   15    2     1      4   97 1277
1940   Brooklyn Dodgers       3.50    1.63 88 65 17   14    2     4      7   101 1366
1937   New York Giants        3.43    1.62 95 67 11   17    2     2      3   85 1341
1936   Pittsburgh Pirates     3.89    1.47 84 67 5    12    2     2      3   74 1475
1945   Chicago Cubs           2.98    1.41 98 86 15   14    3     1      2   57 1301

       Cardinals dominated World War II era baseball – winning two World Series titles in 1942 and
1944. With Mort Cooper benefiting from a weaken National League (dropping his ERA from low 3’s to
                                                           73

the sub 2.30 ERA) and lefty Max Lanier getting his best seasons during this stretch, the Cardinals were the
crème of the baseball crop, utilizing the Rickey-developed farm system products.
         The best pitching took place in the early days after declaration of war. This is often tied to the fact
the ball was altered due to war constraints on materials needed to make the interior of the ball.

           1945 Cubs: the last time the Wrigley tenants appeared in the fall classic.

       Johnny Vander Meer. Still the only man to pitch back-to-back no-hitters in MLB history and
anchored the 1942 Cincinnati Reds staff.

Table 2.2.12. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio IKE Era
                                                              15
                                Team                    Team game Bullpen Total     Hits
Year              Team          ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1954     Cleveland Indians       2.78    1.40 111 77 12  36    4     3     27   89 1220
1963     Los Angeles Dodgers     2.85    2.72 99 51 24   29    3     4     24   111 1329
1963     Chicago White Sox       2.97    2.12 94 49 21   39    2     3     36   100 1311
1957     New York Yankees        3.00    1.40 98 41 13   42    1     3     27   110 1198
1954     Chicago White Sox       3.05    1.36 94 60 23   33    3     4     21   94 1255

         Considered among the greatest pitching staffs of all-time, the 1954 Indians found the World Series
a different animal. With Early Winn, Bob Lemon, Mike Garcia, Art Houtteman, and Bob Feller throwing,
the Indians put away the Yankees in the American League. Long-time FDR era catcher Al Lopez managed
the 1954 Indians and the 1963 White Sox – reflecting his superior management of pitching staffs.
Bob Lemon: Was a converted outfielder (as his 37 lifetime home runs reflect) and won 20 games seven
times in Cleveland. He managed the 1978 Yankees to their last World Series title until Joe Torre took over
in 1996.
American League Mastery with a Price: In 1957, the Yankees put together their usually good offense
with an exceptional pitching staff that had 7 pitchers with over 100 innings pitched. But the reason for this
was as David Halberstam states in October 1964, “A twenty game winner, management believed, had too
much leverage with the club. In the Weiss-Stengel years, Yankee pitchers rarely won twenty games, and
there was a reason for it. It was better to let them win fifteen or, at most, eighteen, which meant the team
could still win the pennant, but management would retain maximum leverage in negotiations the following
year. That was as much a part of the Yankee tradition as winning…great Yankee pitchers [such] as Vic
Raschi and Allie Reynolds had considered their contract struggles with Weiss to be virtual battles…”14

1963: Reflects the change in the strike zone as pitchers took the ball and put batters on the defensive.

Table 2.2.12a. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio IKE Era
                                                              15
                                Team                    Team game Bullpen Total     Hits
Year               Team         ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1963     Los Angeles Dodgers     2.85    2.72 99 51 24   29    3     4     24   111 1329
1963     Cincinnati Reds         3.29    2.47 86 55 22   36    3     3     29   117 1307
1963     Chicago Cubs            3.08    2.13 82 45 15   28    1     3     26   119 1357
1963     Chicago White Sox       2.97    2.12 94 49 21   39    2     3     36   100 1311
1963     St. Louis Cardinals     3.32    2.11 93 49 17   32    3     4     26   124 1329


14
     Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 40-41.
                                                    74


                                                       1963 Dodgers: Sandy Koufax (25 wins), Don
                                                       Drysdale (19) and Johnny Podres (14) got it done
                                                       on the mound while Maury Wills (.302) and Tommy
                                                       Davis (.326) were the lean mean part of the
                                                       Dodgers’ offense.

                                                       The 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers power pitched their
                                                       way past their beleaguered opponents. With money
                                                       starters Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Johnny
                                                       Podres and a lethal bullpen headed by Ron
                                                       Perranoski, the Dodgers took sweet revenge on the
                                                       Yankees, beating them 4-0 in the World Series while
                                                       using just those four pitchers.




(Source: New York Public Library)

Outside the Hall of Fame:
Johnny Podres deals to Roy
Campanella on the brick road
to immortality in sport. In
Brooklyn’s lone series win,
Podres threw an 8-hit shutout
to close out the Yankees in
1955. His backstop hit two
home runs in that series. In
1963, he was the game two
starter against the same
nemesis: the Yankees.
(Courtesy of Amy Borden)




         Once again, a shift in the play (expanding the strike zone) shows up in the amount of strikeouts to
walks. A marked change resulted in an immediate advantage to pitchers that the hitters adjusted too slowly,
as six years later the mound and strike zone were both adjusted to assist hitters back to their prior peaks.
                                                    75


Table 2.2.13. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio LBJ Era
                                                            15
                              Team                    Team game Bullpen Total    Hits
Year             Team         ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1967   Chicago White Sox       2.45    1.99 89 36 24   39    2     5     39   87 1197
1968   St. Louis Cardinals     2.49    2.59 97 63 30   32    2     4     29   82 1282
1972   Baltimore Orioles       2.53    1.99 80 62 20   21    3     4     21   85 1116
1972   Oakland Athletics       2.58    2.06 93 42 23   43    3     4     43   96 1170
1966   Los Angeles Dodgers     2.62    3.04 95 52 20   35    2     4     33   84 1287

                                                            15
                              Team                    Team game Bullpen Total     Hits
Year           Team           ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1966   Los Angeles Dodgers     2.62    3.04 95 52 20   35    2     4     33   84 1287
1967   Minnesota Twins         3.14    2.75 91 58 18   24    2     4     23   115 1336
1968   San Francisco Giants    2.71    2.74 88 77 20   16    2     3     13   86 1302
1966   San Francisco Giants    3.24    2.71 93 52 14   27    2     5     25   140 1370
1965   San Francisco Giants    3.20    2.60 95 42 17   42    2     6     37   137 1325

Some pitchers that appeared on these seven teams (bold denotes HOF member):
      1965, 1966 and 1968 Giants: Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Lindy McDaniel
      1966 Dodgers: Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton, Claude Osteen, Ron Perranoski, Phil
      Reagan
      1967 Twins: Jim Kaat, Jim Perry, Dean Chance, Mudcat Grant
      1967 White Sox: Tommy John, Wilbur Wood, Hoyt Wilhelm
      1968 Cardinals: Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton
      1972 Orioles: Jim Palmer, Pat Dobson, Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, Doyle Alexander
      1972 A’s: Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman, Blue Moon Odom, Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers

        1960s Giants were as talented as any team during this era. It just so happened that the Dodgers
were also talented.
        The 1967 Twins had 16-time gold glover Jim Kaat and Gaylord Perry’s older brother Jim throwing
for them with a Mudcat closing out the games. They ran into The Impossible Dream.
         The 1967 White Sox had the man that changed surgery success on a damaged arm in John, a
rubber-armed Wilbur Wood, who threw 376 2/3 innings, the most since the Taft Era, and Hoyt Wilhelm,
who appeared in 1,070 games (5th All-time), winning 123 in relief (1st).
        1968 Cardinals had the man that changed the pitching mound: Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA.
        1972 Orioles included the 4-twenty game winners from the 1971 Orioles. Only one garnered
unusual acclaim (Palmer), as he also never allowed a grand slam home run in his pitcher career.
        1972 A’s had 8 pitchers with ERAs under 3.00. Hunter won 21, Holtzman posted 19, Odom
another 15 as Vida Blue struggled to a 6-10 record with a 2.80 ERA reflecting some tough luck. Rollie
Fingers, Bob Locker, and Dickie Knowles each saved 10 games with a sub-2.5 ERA out of the pen. The
A’s would win 3 championships in a row under renowned baseball skinflint owner Charlie O. Finley.

        This era represents a treasure trove of great pitching game in and game out. Christopher Gehringer
completed a study on the Quality Start (QS) for 50 seasons – 1957-2006. The results reflect what many
eyes saw during the time: a lot of low-scoring games with starters going into the 7th or 8th innings.
                                                                  76

        Gehringer used information compiled from Retrosheet.org that tabulates all events that happened per
game. With that he figured the amount of games where both teams saw a both pitchers throw at least six
innings, allowing three or fewer earned runs, the created definition of a QS by sportswriter John Lowe.
        The results below15:

Table 2.2.14. Top % QS for Both Pitchers (Quality Starts (1957-2006), Christopher Gehringer)
Year        TW    TL QSW% QS Total QS Games QS Both NO 1 Pitch Both Pitch
1968       1277   722 63.88 1999     1351    648      703       48.0%
1972       1459   759 65.78 2218     1531    687      844       44.9%
1971       1448   760 65.58 2208     1532    676      856       44.1%
1963       1208   604 66.67 1812     1265    547      718       43.2%
1976       1435   737 66.07 2172     1522    650      872       42.7%
1967       1200   625 65.75 1825     1284    541      743       42.1%
1978       1559   779 66.68 2338     1646    692      954       42.0%
1965       1157   594 66.08 1751     1238    513      725       41.4%
1960        839   429 66.17 1268      897    371      526       41.4%
1988       1575   794 66.48 2369     1677    692      985       41.3%

        Even with the evolution in relief, the starters in the LBJ Era were getting it done as they dominated
the top 10 of 49 seasons studied. (1999 was omitted.)

Top Pitchers of the LBJ Era




Fergie Jenkins and Rollie Fingers: After a
couple of seasons of working out the bugs, both
defined what a starter and a reliever was in the
LBJ Era. Jenkins led the National League 3 times
in starts made, 4 times in complete games. A 7-
time 20 game winner. Fingers, led the American
League in appearances 3 times, throwing 130
innings out of the pen. In 3 World Series he
amassed 16 appearances, 2 wins, and 6 saves.
Now, as pictured, they do fantasy-fan camps and
                                                 (Both pictures courtesy of Barbara Moore.)
share stories that last a lifetime.

15
     Gehringer Christopher. Quality Starts (1957-2006). Newark, Delware: www.Retrosheet.org ; 2006. 5
                                                    77


Table 2.2.15. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio Reagan Era
                                                           15
                             Team                    Team game Bullpen Total     Hits
Year           Team          ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1988   New York Mets          2.91    2.72 100 31 22  46    3     3     45   78 1253
1989   Los Angeles Dodgers    2.95    2.09 77 25 19   36    2     6     34   95 1278
1985   Los Angeles Dodgers    2.96    2.12 95 37 21   36    2     4     31   102 1280
1988   Los Angeles Dodgers    2.96    2.18 94 32 24   49    2     5     43   84 1291
1991   Los Angeles Dodgers    3.06    2.06 93 15 14   40    1     7     37   96 1312




Tommy Lasorda, LA Legend: A company man if ever there was, he guided the Dodgers to glory in the
California sun. (Photo: Courtesy of Chad J. McNeeley, USN assigned to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.)

The Dodgers once again lead the pack as the best pitching staff of the Reagan Era. During the late 1980s,
they had such names as Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Tim Belcher and Bob Welch starting, and
Jay Howell closing out under manager Tommy Lasorda, one-time Dodger pitcher in the 1950s.
        Known for his skyward look at only 20 years old, Fernando Valenzuela won the Cy Young and
Rookie of the Year in 1981, leading the league in innings pitched, then struggling through a complete game
1981 World Series win that once again got revenge on the Yankees. 1988 saw Orel Hershiser go on a
scoreless inning streak that propelled the Dodgers to a division title, NL Pennant, and World Series win.
(In 1985, The Surgeon was likely better.)

Strikeout Kings: In one of the few times he did not lead a pitching staff in strikeouts, Nolan Ryan (194)
trailed Mike Scott (306) in the Houston Astros closest taste of a World Series, until 2005.
                                                       78

The 1988 Mets had David Cone (20), Doc Gooden (18) and Ron Darling (17) leading the staff in wins,
with Randy Myers (26), Roger McDowell (16) and Terry Leach (3) as a quality 3-headed dragon from the
bullpen. (The 1990 Reds used The Nasty Boys of Randy Myers (31), Norm Charlton (11) and Rob Dibble
(2) to win their only post Big Red Machine World Series.)

Table 2.2.15a. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio Reagan Era
                                                               15
                                 Team                    Team game Bullpen Total     Hits
Year              Team           ERA     K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
1990     New York Mets            3.42    2.74 91 18 14   41    2     6     40   119 1339
1988     New York Mets            2.91    2.72 100 31 22  46    3     3     45   78 1253
1983     Philadelphia Phillies    3.34    2.35 90 20 10   41    2     5     40   111 1429
1991     Pittsburgh Pirates       3.44    2.29 98 18 11   51    3     7     45   117 1411
1986     Houston Astros           3.15    2.22 96 18 19   51    2     6     51   116 1203

        1983 Phillies round out the list, facing off against the Baltimore Orioles in their last gasp at World
Series glory. In game three of the World Series, for two innings, Jim Palmer and Steve Carlton toed the
same rubber. From 1970-1979, Jim Palmer (186) and Steve Carlton (178) were among the top winning
pitchers, first and third respectively.

Table 2.2.16. 1970s Pitching Stars
Pitcher        Games Wins SO BB IP ERA                   K/BB    K/9    Bert Blyleven: With his 12-to-6
Jim Palmer      355  186 1,559 861 2,745 2.58             1.81   5.11   hammer (curveball), Blyleven
Gaylord Perry   369 184 1,907 758 2,905 2.92              2.52   5.91   baffled many, many hitters during
Steve Carlton   368  178 2,097 960 2,747 3.18             2.18   6.87   his 22-year career. His fame
Tom Seaver      348 178 2,304 741 2,652 2.61              3.11   7.82   problem: overlooked by writers
Fergie Jenkins  360 178 1,841 518 2,707 3.38              3.55   6.12   who saw his competition in larger
Catfish Hunter 329 169 1,309 606 2,399 3.17               2.16   4.91   markets, as Blyleven pitched in
Don Sutton      352 166 1,767 660 2,557 3.07              2.68   6.22
                                                                        Minnesota, Texas, Pittsburgh,
Phil Niekro     406 164 1,866 920 2,881 3.26              2.03   5.83
                                                                        Cleveland and back in Minnesota.
                                                                        He went 5-1 in post season with 2
Nolan Ryan      348 155 2,678 1,515 2,465 3.14            1.77   9.78
                                                                        World Series titles.
Vida Blue       330 155 1,600 780 2,399 3.07              2.05   6.00
Bert Blyleven   353 148 2,082 711 2,625 2.88              2.93   7.14

        Of this list, only Vida Blue and Bert Blyleven are absent from the Hall of Fame. Blyleven is
deserving given his statistical leadership on this list (3rd in ERA, 3rd in K/BB, 3rd in K/9), and an often
pointed out lack of run support during his starts by various sabermetric researchers.16 Inclusion in the Hall
was also reached in Gehringer’s study of quality starts as Blyleven was on every list of note with HOF
pitchers surrounding him.

        Whereas the Dodgers dominated the Reagan Era, the Atlanta Braves owned the Clinton Era behind
Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Steve Avery. The Braves went to the playoffs yearly; only
to find that winning a championship was not as easy as it was for the Yankees, doing it only once. Three
Braves pitchers (Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz) will be inducted into the Hall of Fame sometime after 2013
season. (Possibly, they should enter together in one class – a tribute to their greatness and friendship on and
off the field.)

16
     Study done by Bill James.
                                                           79


Table 2.2.17. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio Clinton Era
                                                                 15
                              Team                         Team game Bullpen Total     Hits
Year         Team             ERA     K/BB    Wins   CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
2002      Atlanta Braves       3.13    1.91   101     3 15  57    3     8     57   123 1302
1992      Atlanta Braves       3.14    1.94    98    26 24  41    3     6     37   89 1321
1993      Atlanta Braves       3.14    2.16   104    18 16  46    4     7     46   101 1297
2003 Los Angeles Dodgers       3.16    2.45    85     3 17  58    1     5     57   127 1254
1997      Atlanta Braves       3.18    2.66   101    21 17  37    3     8     36   111 1319

Table 2.2.16a. Top 5 Pitching Teams by ERA and Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio Clinton Era
                                                        15
                              Team                Team game Bullpen Total   Hits
Year           Team           ERA K/BB Wins CG SHO SV winners Size   SV HRA Allow
       Arizona
2002   Diamondbacks           3.92    3.10     98    14   10    40   2       9      40   170   1361
2003   New York Yankees       4.02    2.98    101    8    12    49   4       7      48   145   1512
2002   New York Yankees       3.87    2.82    103    9    11    53   2       4      50   144   1441
2001   Arizona Diamondbacks   3.87    2.81     92    12   13    34   2       7      31   195   1352
1994   Montreal Expos         3.56    2.80    74*    4     2    46   1       5      43   100   970




                                       Randy Johnson: Intimidating throughout the Clinton Era, Johnson
Curt Shilling: Power pitcher           commanded respect with high-90s gas. Here, after several trades, he
turned powerful professional           joins the 300-win club as a Giant. (Both pictures courtesy of Wikipedia
blogger. Boston’s 2004                 Creative Commons.)
championship comes via a gutsy
performance on a surgically
repaired, bloodied ankle.

         Curt Shilling and Randy Johnson provided the healthy strikeouts for 2001 and 2002
Diamondbacks, leading to their lone championship. The 1994 Expos were likely the best team in the
either league that year – with a young Pedro Martinez and a bullpen of Mel Rojas and John Wetteland
                                                      80

supported by outfielders Marquis Grissom, Moises Alou, and Larry Walker. It was curtains for the Expos,
however. They never seriously challenged again for a championship, moving to Washington after the 2004
season. The Yankees lived off the power arms of Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, and Mariano Rivera and
the craftiness of Orlando Hernandez, David Wells, and Andy Pettitte, all generating strikeouts and wins.

                                                                             Roger Clemens (1962- ): Has
                                                                             struck out 20 batters in a outing,
                                                                             won more than 350 games,
                                                                             appeared in 6 World Series, and
                                                                             had secured his place in history
                                                                             as one of the most feared and
                                                                             (then) respected pitchers of his
                                                                             time. The Rocket brought a
                                                                             ‘Texas attitude’ to his game, and
                                                                             at 45, was still throwing better
                                                                             than men half his age.
                                                                             (Note: George Mitchell report
                                                                             names him as a steroid user.)



The Rocket: When Roger beat the Twins for his 350th win, the
manager Joe Torre was front row as he was 24 years prior in catching
Warren Spahn’s 350th win on September 29, 1963. (Keith Allison)

Spelling Relief
By the last quarter century, bullpen sizes were up to at least 6 men throwing in 20 or more games in relief,
even among the best pitching staffs. For the mediocre ones, managers have consistently used anyone that
can eat up innings after their starters throw barely 6 innings. And those are typically the good starters. The
average and bad starters will go 4 or 5 innings at best, turn it over to middle relief, who turn it to setup
men, then the coveted closers. Box scores have HOLDS as a new category – the ability to keep a lead safe.
        The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks are the closest to giving up 200 home runs while likely being one
of the better pitching staffs. This was due to the lack of other hits allowed, keeping their ERA in line with
the better staffs of this generation. Nevertheless, it reflects too the emphasis for power hitting at all costs,
swinging for the downs, and striking out frequently, as we will see happen after strike zone tinkering
begins in 1950. (See: Ike Era)
                                                    81




  George Thomas ‘Tom Terrific’ Seaver. Finished his career with 311 wins, 2.86 ERA and 3,640
strikeouts. His first five seasons are among the best in modern history: 2.34 ERA, 95 Wins, 1,379 IP,
   1,155 Strikeouts versus 352 Walks. Only Bob Gibson was in his league between 1967 and 1971.
                                     (Courtesy of Sharon Chapman.)
                                                              82

           2.3. Fielding: Errors Made, Changes to the Craft and The Best Ever
Around the same time as Ruth’s home run barrage started, in 1920, fielding averages improved by a mark
contrast to prior years. The results of the gloves only furthered the modernizing impetus in the game – as
the errors of the past were uniquely tied to ball, glove, field, and training.
          In the late 19th century, great fielding was praised so much by legendary writer Henry Chadwick
not because it was usually good; but because it was not uncommon to see double-digit errors in an era
without gloves, or padding. The Philadelphia Quakers in 1883 average over 6.39 errors per game in the
National League. The Baltimore Orioles of the American Association committed 624 errors in 96 games in
the same year. Fifteen teams between 1895 and 1903 racked up over 400 errors. Good (or clean) fielding
just stuck out in the imagination during these error-prone games – because it was a rarity.
          Sometimes, the usage of a glove by a player was chided by opposing players and fans alike. But as
the century flipped, the first twenty seasons of twentieth century saw glove innovations become an
individual-to-individual concern. Most players utilized several gloves dependent upon the situation,
whether warming up before hand, or in regular game play. The practice of leaving gloves on the field was
still in vogue. Players likely improved skills as much by their designs, or by their managers, as not.

        In 1919, Bill Doak, a veteran spitball pitcher for the Cardinals, took to modifying his glove by
removing padding, enlarging the thumb, soaking the glove and shaping it in what is still the usual method
to create a pocket.1 He approached the Rawlings Sporting Goods Company in St. Louis, assisted by their
production chief William P. Whitely2, in creating the first modern glove that met the primary functional
requirement: to catch the baseball. The design made it possible to catch the ball just in the pocket area
created. In 1920, Rawlings came out with the $10 “Premier Players’ Glove” and soon, the Doak Model
became a Rawlings staple for many years to come. With this innovation taking place at the same time as
the offensive outburst discussed, it is likely that fielding became easier due to the cleaner, more visible and
less-variably weighted baseballs than in years past, allowing a player the convenience of throwing a truer
sphere that was easier to see in its flight. So while hitter’s averages were skyrocketing over .300, fielding
percentages were rising in lockstep. And errors were now based nearly on skill (or a lack thereof), not the
ball’s whims, or the nightmarish fielding surfaces. (That still annoy many a player…)

          Most people have seen old films of the small shoddy mitts used in the early years and asked, “How
did they field baseballs with those?” Given the errors seen in both leagues, and the number of unearned
runs and players hitting over .400 pre-1920 (who could have benefited from a friendly scorekeeper, such
as writer Dan Daniels during DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak3), one could surmise that fielding was very
much an inherent ability. Meaning, the raw talent drove the ability more than just practice and technique.
          One can imagine that the typical white farm boys seen in baseball then concentrated on hitting
first, played whatever position suited their innate skills, and improvement came either by natural maturity,
through game play, or not at all. Biomechanical and video training were not envisioned, so only the old-
timers, who themselves had even less to work with, could likely teach only the very best and intuitive
players. The old school probably did not work much with marginal talents that, under a different paradigm
(existing in the future of baseball) would emphasize better fundamentals, and the baseball schools to crop
up much, much later. (The first Little League World Series took place in 1939. So by early 1950s, the crop
of youngsters raised with formal leagues improved the minimum playing levels on defense.)


1
 Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 55.
2
 Biography Project of SABR, Steinberg Steven. Bill Doak Biography. Unknown: www.bioprojsabr.org ; 2007. Last Accessed: February
16, 2007.
3
    Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 162-163.
                                                            83

Table 2.3.1. .400 Hitters with over 400 AB           Even men like Branch Rickey seem more concerned
Year           Player           AB H          BA     with a players’ stability (marriage and family meant a
1884 Fred Dunlap                449 185      0.412   more malleable player at contract time) and whether
1887 Tip O'Neill                517 225      0.435   the guy had a speedy, athletic body.
1887 Pete Browning              547 220      0.402
                                                          Such speed is nearly vital – or rather, reaction time –
1894 Sam Thompson               437 178      0.407
1894 Ed Delahanty               489 199      0.407
                                                     to making the instinctual play seem routine. A player at
1894 Billy Hamilton             544 220      0.404   3rd base has as little time to field a sharp liner to his left
1894 Hugh Duffy                 539 237      0.440   or right as a batter does in hitting the ball - .40 seconds
1895 Jesse Burkett              550 225      0.409   from time of impact to the fielder. (120+ MPH
1895 Ed Delahanty               480 194      0.404   baseball hit 85 feet that can knuckle, dive, and rise is
1896 Jesse Burkett              586 240      0.410   just as hard as a 95-MPH heater to do something
1896 Hughie Jennings            521 209      0.401   extraordinary with it. Making supreme body
1897 Willie Keeler              564 239      0.424   coordination at the hot corner paramount to success.)
1899 Ed Delahanty               581 238      0.410        As pitchers and fielders have become more
1901 Nap Lajoie                 544 232      0.426   specialized, with snazzy names for pitches (circle
1911 Ty Cobb                    591 248      0.420
                                                     change, split-finger fastball, knuckle curve, palm ball), a
1911 Joe Jackson                571 233      0.408
                                                     different glove for each position, batting averages have
1912 Ty Cobb                    553 226      0.409
1920 George Sisler              631 257      0.407   rarely topped .400 after the Doak innovation. In
1922 Ty Cobb                    526 211      0.401   essence, by 1941, with “the greatest hitter who ever
1922 George Sisler              586 246      0.420   lived” going for .406, that was the end of .400. (Only a
1922 Rogers Hornsby             623 250      0.401   handful have carried above a .370 BA for a season –
1923 Harry Heilmann             524 211      0.403   great hitters all – Rod Carew, George Brett, Tony
1924 Rogers Hornsby             536 227      0.424   Gwynn, Barry Bonds, Larry Walker, and Ichiro Suzuki
1925 Rogers Hornsby             504 203      0.403   of the LBJ, Reagan, Clinton and Bush Eras.) But alas,
1930 Bill Terry                 633 254      0.401   none reached the promise land of .400 hitting in MLB.
1941 Ted Williams               456 185      0.406   Their speed and the opposing glove men stand as
                                                     barriers to the goal. But it will happen, someday.


In the graph below, the reduction in the % of Unearned Runs to Runs Scored started in 1920. Also, the
% of Unearned Runs to Errors Made by fielders stabilizes, staying between 54% and 62% of Unearned
Runs per Error for the vast majority of the modern baseball history since 1920 season. With Doak’s glove,
whiter and cleaner baseballs, fielding evolved, and improved, throughout the last century.
        Given these improvements to defense, most players in the major leagues must be minimally
competent to play one position. (Unless they become just a lifetime designated hitter, unlikely, as a twenty
year old has to show enough to be consider for The Show. Though if a team can carry a non-fielder, it has
to have several versatile players elsewhere: the Pete Rose/Darrell Evans types.)

         As a result, the ability to standout as a defensive star for any period, even a season, does get notice
in the record books. Some players are known for their gloves, even in the ever-changing emphasis of a
position being a defensive standout to evolving into an offensive producer. (In Appendix 9.1., the best
statistics by era and position are listed.)
                                                                                                 84

Graph 2.3.1. Unearned Runs% and Ratio of Unearned Runs to Errors Made
                                                     Graph 2.3.1.: Unearn Run % and Ratio of Unearn Runs to Errors Made

                          78%
                          74%
                          70%
                          66%
                          62%
                          58%
 Ratio and Unearn Run %




                          54%
                          50%
                                                                                                                                                        AL Ratio
                                              Ratio of Unearn Runs to Errors Made
                          46%                                                                         Since 1920, neither league has had a              AL% Unearned
                                              has varied year to year, but has
                          42%                 remained between .66 and .51 for                        rise in the % of Unearned Runs to                 NL Ratio
                                              nearly 85 years (3 times going below                    Runs Scored above the 20% Mark .                  NL% Unearned
                          38%                                                                         Since 1990, this number has been
                                              that range - 1940, 1980-81 NL )
                          34%                                                                         under 10% consistently .

                          30%
                          26%
                          22%
                          18%
                          14%
                          10%
                                1903

                                       1905

                                              1907

                                                     1909

                                                            1911

                                                                   1913

                                                                          1915

                                                                                 1917

                                                                                        1919

                                                                                               1921

                                                                                                       1923

                                                                                                              1925

                                                                                                                     1927

                                                                                                                            1929

                                                                                                                                   1931

                                                                                                                                          1933

                                                                                                                                                 1935
                                                                                        Year
                                                    85

Diagram 2.3.1. An All-Defensive Team Across All Eras

                     The Best Gloves, All-Time
                                            Willie Mays
                                           Tris Speaker
                                          Taylor Douthit
                                          Richie Ashburn
                                          Dom DiMaggio
             Willie Wilson                                            Roberto Clemente
                                           Andruw Jones
             Joe Jackson                    Paul Blair                      Ichiro Suzuki
             Barry Bonds                                                      Al Kaline
                                           Kirby Puckett                     Paul Waner
           Rickey Henderson
                                            Max Carey                       Dwight Evans
                                                                             Dave Parker
                                 Ozzie Smith
                                 Luis Aparicio            Bill Mazeroski
                                  Robin Yount             Burgess Whitehead
                                 Arky Vaughan             Nellie Fox
                                 Dave Bancroft            Joe Morgan
                                  Dick Bartell            Ryne Sandberg
                                 Travis Jackson           Bobby Grich

            Brooks Robinson                 Greg Maddux
            Mike Schmidt                      Jim Kaat
            Harlond Clift                                              Vic Power
            George Kell
                                             Bob Gibson                Keith Hernandez
            Darrell Evans                                              Eddie Murray
            Scott Rolen                                                George Sisler
            Clete Boyer
            Terry Pendelton                 Johnny Bench
            Graig Nettles                  Ivan Rodriguez
                                            Jim Sundberg
                                              Ray Schalk
                                             Gary Carter               Note: Based on reputation
                                            Charles Johnson            and lifetime fielding statistics


        Not only is this group a defensive powerhouse, quite a few had great all-round ability that changed
the tides of historic games. Brooks Robinson glove stymied the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970 World Series.
Mazeroski, in game seven of the 1960 World Series, accomplished what every kid dreams of in their
backyard. Roberto Clemente was immortalized during his 1971 World Series exploits. Ozzie Smith, back-
flipping playoff heroics in 1985, was the engine of the 80s Cards; Willie Mays and ‘The Catch’ in 1954;
Richie Ashburn arm saved the ‘Whiz Kids’ in 1950; Kirby Puckett robbing a sure extra-base hit, then goin’
deep in 1991 World Series game six; and Johnny Bench closing out the 1976 World Series with two
homers, winning the series MVP. Morgan, Gibson, Sandberg, Bonds, Yount, and Carter, took their
franchises to previously unattainable, or rare plateaus during their best years.
                                                                 86

      Meanwhile, Rickey Henderson stole over 1,000 bases as a gun-for-hire in Reagan/Clinton eras.
And Mike Schmidt was the face of the Phillies franchise for nearly two decades.
      Their skills with the mitt (and the bat) make for legacies not forgotten.

Table 2.3.2. Gold Glove Selections from 1957-2008
          P: Greg Maddux: 18                    C: Ivan Rodriguez: 13                  1B: Keith Hernandez: 11
          Jim Kaat: 16                          Johnny Bench: 10                       Don Mattingly: 9
          Bob Gibson: 9                         Jim Sundberg: 6                        George Scott: 8
                                                Gary Carter:3                          Vic Power: 7
                                                Charles Johnson: 4                     J.T. Snow: 6
                                                                                       Eddie Murray: 3
          2B: Roberto Alomar: 10                SS: Ozzie Smith: 13                    3B: Brooks Robinson: 16
          Ryne Sandberg: 9                      Omar Vizquel: 11                       Mike Schmidt: 10
          Frank White: 9                        Luis Aparicio: 9                       Scott Rolen: 7
          Bill Mazeroski: 8                     Dave Concepcion: 5                     Buddy Bell: 6
          Joe Morgan: 5
          Bobby Grich: 4
          Nellie Fox: 3
          LF: Barry Bonds: 8                    CF: Willie Mays: 12                    RF: Roberto Clemente: 12
          Dave Winfield: 7                      Andruw Jones: 10                       Al Kaline: 10
          Rickey Henderson: 1                   Ken Griffey, Jr.: 9                    Ichiro Suzuki: 8
                                                                                       Dave Parker: 3

A few quotes on the best fielders in baseball history from Jim Kaplan’s The Fielders
:
Vic Power: “Some people didn’t like the way Vic Power played baseball. He caught everything one-
handed…They called him a showboat, and a loafer. He was a black player in the 1950s who refused to be
silent in the face of heckling and abuse, so he saw plenty of beanballs and fights. But Power was a
marvelous first baseman…Power signed with the Yankees in 1950, and hit .349 in Class AAA in 1953, but
wasn’t brought up to the majors despite the fact that two Yankees first baseman were sidelined in
August…[the Yankees] didn’t have a black player on its major league roster until Elston Howard.”4

Bill Mazeroski and Roberto Clemente: “From 1956 to 1970 the two greatest glovemen in the history of
their positions – second baseman Bill Mazeroski and right fielder Roberto Clemente – started together for
the Pirates…‘Clemente broke in a new glove every year,’ says Mazeroski.‘ It was a habit he got into. I used
only three or four in my career…’ ” 5

Ozzie Smith: “St. Louis shortstop Ozzie Smith is not only the best gloveman in the game today [circa
1987] but, almost unique among modern ballplayers, Smith has a sense of history. In fact, the “Wiz”
displays a collection of old gloves at his St. Louis restaurant. ‘You had to be talented to use these gloves,’
says Smith. ‘They make you appreciate the old ballplayers.’…[Smith] uses the Trapp-Eze so-called six-
finger model that Rawlings introduced in 1959, temporarily discontinued…With its small, tight webbing
and stubby fingers bent in like the hand of an arthritis victim, the glove is constructed to catch the ball in
the palm, the way fielders use to.” 6


4
  Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 132.
5
  Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 73.
6
  Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 63-64.
                                                                   87

Johnny Bench: After Paul Richards introduced an oversized mitt to handled Hoyt Wilhelm’s dancing
knuckler, “Hundley-Bench model [was introduced.] Popularized by Cubs’ Randy Hundley and Reds’
Johnny Bench, the trimmed-down glove has a long pocket and a central hinge that makes the glove close
upon impact…Changing gloves, Bench further modernized the position by catching one-handed like a
squatting first basemen.” (Manny Sanguillen and Tony Pena of the Pittsburgh Pirates took the one-hand,
and added the leg-under the butt mode with one leg propped up in a seemingly causal style, creating a low
target with a crab-like snap of the glove. Pittsburgh got to the 1971 and 1979 World Series under Manny.)

Willie Mays: “Willie Mays made a number of gloveless grabs, including one a Roberto Clemente line drive
in Forbes Field’s deep center, which Pittsburgh executive Branch Rickey called the greatest play he’d ever
seen.”7

A Modern Ball and Glove (Wikipedia Commons)




7
    Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 136-137.
                                                     88

                                                                Roberto Clemente (1934-1972):
                                                                Considered by writers as having the
                                                                best right field arm. He was liable to
                                                                throw out people from the warning
                                                                track backing up. And singles turned
                                                                into outs, if a runner was too lazy to
                                                                first. He could do everything else on
                                                                a baseball field too. Hit for average,
                                                                power, and ran the bases well. He
                                                                was proud, and intelligent, and
                                                                dominated the 1971 World Series,
                                                                taking the Pirates to a title – and
                                                                obtaining the WS MVP.

                                                                Clemente died tragically on New
                                                                Year’s Eve 1972, ending up with
                                                                exactly 3,000 hits. A credit to
                                                                baseball, and humanity.




                                                                Ozzie Smith: The Wizard of Oz is
                                                                known for his stretch-parallel-to-the-
                                                                ground maneuvers and the back
                                                                handsprings out to his position.
                                                                Smith made weak-hitting shortstops
                                                                everywhere work on every skill
                                                                needed to prove superior worth as a
                                                                defensive stopper. To date, no one
                                                                has topped the Wizard’s glove work
                                                                in the past 30 years. (Picture:
                                                                Courtesy of Jay Scott)




Typical Skills Needed by Fielding Legends (1980 – Present)
It is difficult to surmise the legacies of the glove men prior to 1950. Just about anything in that era comes
from sports scribes that did not always report the truth – if they wanted to remain ‘best boy’ in the
ownership’s stable of promoters of the team’s exploits. So, this author is at loggerheads to the task of
defining who really was the best ever in the field – while acknowledging many pre-Ike era players had skills
worthy of note. (And based on uniform reporting, could determine the impacts of their individual gloves.)
                                                       89

        Highlights in the 1960s and 1970s certainly help narrow the field of the best leather men. But
again, the author was but a child, and those remembrances, while possible, were not made with any
experiences to measure against, or any discerning on my part then. Thus, the focus is on what one can
remember via afternoons at the ball yard, or watching telecasts of the field magic practitioners, or the stats.
        Additionally, each position on the field has its necessities and trademark touches to be analyzed
and viewed through more lenses than one can fathom. Interview five guys in (or out of) the professional
game, and you will get five opinions. Here is but one.

Glamour and Glove Masters
The best and most memorable plays usually take place at two positions: centerfield and shortstop. These
men have the most athleticism generally on the field. They cover ground with ease; have unusual hand-eye-
feet coordination, even for a sport that obviously demands it. People watch these positions because,
simply, the deciding action takes place around their gloves – more often than other positions.
         Centerfielders top talents are reaction to the crack of the bat, ranging left, right, or straight back to
a place inches from a home run. Awareness of the quirks of a field as they climb up walls, dive for short
liners or dying pop-ups, and the desire to cut down distances by knowing the batters and the pitcher’s skill
set. Good ones stand out – fearless, and trained to get anything in the zip code of the ballpark. Their
ability to cut down runners (like all outfielders) lend aura to their special skill sets.

        Best Centerfielders of the modern ESPN era seen (in no particular order): Mike Cameron,
Curtis Granderson, Eric Davis, Ken Griffey, Jr., Kirby Puckett, Brett Butler, Devon White, Andre
Dawson, Dwayne Murphy, Andruw Jones, Jim Edmonds, and Kenny Lofton. If you name some modern
game-saving catches, Devon White and Kirby Puckett go on that list with World Series-altering glove
work. Dawson, when in Montreal, was as complete a defensive outfielder as desired.

         While the centerfielders get the glory of over-the-shoulder catches, scaling walls, or diving in to
convert a single to an out, the shortstops get their hands dirty on hot smatches, dribblers that are hits-in-
process, and the behind-the-base grounders that carry them to short centerfield. Shortstops are born –
their gifts are so unique – to field balls in ways that conjure, “how the hell did he do that?” Shortstops
rarely can bobble a ball – a runner beats a hesitation – so the ability to cleanly transfer a one-hop shot, or
scoop a dying quall of a grounder is a matter of practice and genetically soft hands. A slow-footed
shortstop is not an option to a team’s defense. Smart positioning and arm strength can get back what age
takes, but it takes special skills to last long at the marquee position of fielding. (Shortest span of years
played with 500 games amassed in an Era: 9.26 years compared to 10.65 for catchers.)

         Best SS of the modern ESPN era observed (in no particular order): Ozzie Smith, Robin
Yount, Omar Viquel, Jack Wilson, Rafael Furcal, Miguel Tejada, and Alex Rodriguez. Growing up around
Chicago, Smith was the pesky fire under all those hot-kettle St. Louis Cardinals teams. The Wizard (again)
is in a class by himself of acrobatic maneuvers. Yount was also a top-tier centerfielder. Furcal has a cannon
arm – and never fails to use it. A-Rod was a better shortstop than Jeter, and yet, moved to 3rd base upon
his arrival in New York. (Jeter should have moved, if any sabermetricians had their call on it. A-Rod is
now a great defensive hot corner man.)

Lunch Pail Positions
Not to take away from their tasks, but the 2nd basemen, left fielder, and 1st basemen are the steady Eddies
of the fielding group. They carry out the seemingly uneventful – while avoiding the tragic.

         Second base can be an artful dance for the best. Athletic men can carve out a niche alongside a
classic shortstop, giving a team a top keystone combo that shuts down rallies via the double play. The
                                                     90

ability to avoid runners and spikes, range far behind second, or cover up for a statute-like first bagger,
makes second baggers the shortstop-lite position. Agility and soft hands will give a two-bagger a long run
at the position.

         Best 2B of the modern ESPN era observed (in no particular order): Chase Utley, Orlando
Hudson, Craig Biggio, Carlos Baerga, Roberto Alomar, Jody Reed, and Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg in his
early years was agile and completely confident in his throws – rarely ever making an error. Biggio and
Alomar will join Sandberg in the Hall soon enough. Utley became the Reggie Jackson of the Philadelphia
Phillies in 2009, slamming home runs.

        Left field. Since Manny Ramirez has stayed in the majors with left field play that can be describe
with his name being his name, left fielders often get a bad rap. Yet, many have combined their prodigious
power (or speed) with a competitive spirit with the glove.

       Best LF: Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Carl Crawford, Willie Wilson, and Tim Raines.
Crawford had an incredible year in 2009 under new fielding measures – generating over 100 plays out of
his zone. (See next topic.)

         First basemen should be integral pieces to a defense. Their range and responses to balls hit to their
right, their ability to catch errand throws in the dirt, and make smart cut-offs and throw to bases on bunts
can change the entire perspective of a close game. Any athletic guy “stuck” at the bag for long will give
teams a decided edge on tasks a muscle man, that moves timber better than their feet, struggles to
accomplish. So the guys with the best feet and arm make noticeable what is usually their task: catch the ball
on the bag.

         Best 1st Basemen: Albert Pujols, Will Clark, Don Mattingly, J.T. Snow, and Mark Grace. Bias may
slip in here. Grace was a master at scooping up the rocket throws of Shawon Dunston – lasers that only a
few MLB pitchers could throw regularly. (Grace also led Carter Era in assists per game.) J.T. Snow was
smooth and never seemed overly challenged. Pujols started as a rotating corner man – 3rd and left field.
Obviously he can throw, and ranges better than nearly anyone in the modern game – and does it as a
righty at a lefty-dominant position.

Guns, Guts, Grit and Gumption
Right Field. If you find that many times you watch more intently on flies to right field with runners on
second or third, it is because the man in right throws tracers to the bases and men fall under their fire. Or
they don’t – to a fan’s chagrin. Guys in right must be able to launch a baseball 250-300 feet on a dime at
90 plus MPH. Stopping runners from going first to third makes for happy managers that often see a big
inning in the making with merry-go-round hits to the outfield.

        Best Right Fielders: Ichiro Suzuki, Vladimir Guerrero, Jesse Barfield, Dave Winfield, Dwight
Evans, Tony Gwynn, Dave Parker, J.D. Drew, and Jeff Francoeur. Ichiro is the gold-yen standard of
excellence. After the 2010 season, his HOF credentials are complete. Vladimir was murder on runners
while he played in Montreal. Dwight Evans in Boston was a master in that weird right field park.
Francoeur makes throws that scare off runners from any advancing to the next base. Dave Parker was
another with a claim check on the best arm in the league for a spell.
        In a 2000 sabermetric-styled paper on defensive work on singles to the outfield with runners on
base, Clem Comly created average run equivalent method (ARM). In his analysis of 1959-1987 players the
following were above par at holding or cutting down runners:
                                                       91

Table 2.3.4. ARM Rating (1959 – 1987, Clem Comly)
Left Field                      Center Field                  Right Field
1. Carl Yastremski (-56)        1. Dwayne Murphy (-38)        1. Johnny Callison (-39)
2. Jim Rice (-26)               2. Cesar Cedeno (-35)         2. Jesse Barfield (-38)
3. Willie Wilson (-24)          4. Andre Dawson (-29)         3. Roberto Clemente (-34)
7. Tim Raines (-19)             8. Willie Mays (-26)          6. Dwight Evans (-25)
8. Rickey Henderson (-18)       9. Dale Murphy (-25)          10. Dave Parker (-18)
10. George Bell (-15)           10. Willie Davis (-24)        11. Dave Winfield (-17)
Note: Yaz & Rice both played home games in Fenway Park – with its short left field.

         3rd Base. Growing up, the author wanted to be Brooks Robinson. Problem was: I was left-handed.
So, Mike Squires was my model for attempting to play 3rd base. (Squires played 14 games at the hot corner
for the Chi Sox. I also played about 30 games in Babe Ruth/High School at the position. Brutally on my
part.)
         No position has a stranger mix of plays to manage than third. One play you take a bullet right at
your face. Next, you charge a dribbler throwing off balance. Then, a foul pop carries you into the stands.
Finally, you are off the line, and a firm two-hopper goes past the bag, you corral it, then throw a 140-foot
strike to nip a speed merchant. High choppers that make you bare hand, or short scoop, or bunts to the
line you must decide to let go foul, or attempt a play on. Positioning – you change with every batter and
pitch. You must be on your toes, or risk permanent bodily injury that only a hockey mom could love.
         The best make it look effortless to dive to the front side or scoop up a bullet on a short hop, but
you will never see a .980 fielding averages for a season. Throws, and petty scorers, that have never played
the position, will keep any guy from getting to .985 in a complete season.

        Best hot corner guys: Mike Schmidt, Terry Pendleton, George Brett, Buddy Bell, Gary Gaetti,
Eric Chavez, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Zimmerman, Adrian Beltre, and Scott Rolen. Pretty much any guy that
stays there for most of their career should get a medal for guts. Honorable mention: Ken Caminiti had
some great plays while at the top of his game.

         Catchers. If third is brutal for the types of balls seen, then catchers have that setup with regularity,
and on purpose. You are the human target for all balls and runners alike. It takes a certain, identifiable grit
to put on ‘the tools of ignorance’, and succeed. Also, smarts, aggressiveness, control of the game and your
emotions, and communication to all players is just a short list of catcher’s responsibilities and attributes.
Knowledge of 100s of hitters, and their weaknesses, possession of the pitching staff’s confidence, and a
rifle arm are handy to making a quality, defensive-minded backstop.
         To add to this dilemma, rating catchers defensively is hard, if not impossible. How responsible are
they for a pitcher’s ERA or strikeouts? How much are they responsible for stolen base when a pitcher is
horrid at holding them on? Bunts? Framing pitches? Wild pitches? Calling the game?
         Many names can go into the hopper – just because the team they played on had success – and
many defensive/game-calling experts are only part-timers because a team carries them for the intent to
supplement, or teach, the younger and more offensively-talented backstop how to become a superior
catcher. These elder guys hang on because the position lacks the complete guys that can handle more than
130 games. (Overwork and knee problems are a ban too.)

       The best backstops defensively: Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, Bob Boone, Jim Sundberg,
Yadier Molina, Tony Pena, Brad Ausmus, Rick Dempsey, Carlton Fisk, Lance Parrish, and Joe Mauer.
Mauer just signed an 8-year contract worth more than all the other catchers combined earnings on this list
because he is better with a bat than all the others on this list. (Hitting .365/.444/1.031 will get you close to
                                                                92

$20 million plus per year in 2010.) Note: Bench, Fisk and I-Rod have the stats for a career to undermine
the argument – but Mauer has eight years to prove his worth.
        Jim Weigand recently compiled an excellent and current analysis of catchers’ arms in 2009 that
covers over 50 years of base running negation. Weigand’s list puts this facet of catching in a proper light.
Johnny Bench and Ivan Rodriguez have long runs as the best throwers in the game, both taking that title
seven times straight. Bob Boone has five top seasons; Jim Sundberg twice takes the crown; and Yadier
Molina gets top arm in 2007 and 2008 with Mauer taking a second in 2007.
        The top 20 catchers’ arms: Rodriguez, Bench, Howard, Battey, Munson, Karkovice, Boone,
Crandell, Azcue, Macfarlane, Santiago, Martinez, Roseboro, Yeager, Matheny, Dempsey, Wilson, Valle,
Sundberg and Ausmus.8 (Note: Mauer has not amassed enough outs in the box to get a lifetime rating.)

         Pitchers. Two names: Greg Maddux and Jim Kaat.
         If a pitcher can make plays on bunts, cover the base on grounders on the right side, and keep from
becoming a vegetable on hot smashes through the box, he is adequate. Maddux was the master at making
his presence on the mound – fielding anything close. This made up for his notorious inability to stop base
stealers.

Sabermetric Fever, Catch It!
The future of baseball statistics lies in rating fielding exploits. The task has never truly been apart of a
regular statisticians’ job to report on how many balls did the centerfielder save from becoming runs so far
this season. Or how many were saved by the shortstop? Or what is the best Revised Zone Rating (RZR)
and Out of Zone (OOZ) ever achieved – in the modern era? Or Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR)? Or
Plus/Minus Rating? Or the best Defensive Efficiency Ratio (DER) by a team?
          As technical and recording advancements in mapping out the ball field came about, this stat area
will come to be the most exploited for what could be only a marginal gain in team effectiveness. (As teams
took to the sabermetric field, the math majors and stat heads gobbled up low-hanging fruit rather quickly.
Now, the plantation has experiments in fielding, pitching, and scouting in the hopper – many men with
stalks of quantitative ideas to process.)
          It is an area with many top minds breaking down the events on the field. The percentages of fly
balls, liners, or ground balls populate websites like The Hardball Times so a ordinary fan can see why his
pitcher is getting beat up like a rag doll regularly. Baseball Info Solutions, Inc. and John Dewan’s Fielding
Bible offers up a plus/minus system for rating the best by position, driving a perspective on the award for
the best fielders.
          In but one overview of the history and development of these new ideas, Dave Studeman reflects,
via a table, one burgeoning system (Revised Zone Rating) mid-2007 season:

Table 2.3.4. Revised Zone Rating Mid-2007 MLB Season (The Hardball Times)
Pos Balls in Zone Play Made             % Made       OOZ     % OOZ
1B      2779         2083                0.750        425    20.4%
2B      5113         4292                0.839        654    15.2%
3B      4518         3093                0.685       744     24.1%
SS      5281         4349                0.824        816    18.8%
LF      3825         3264                0.853        686    21.0%
CF      5100         4570                0.896       867     19.0%
RF      3941         3428                0.870        688    20.1%
       30557        25079                0.821       4880    19.5%


8
    Weigand Jim. Rating Catchers’ Arms. Unknown: www.retrosheet.org ; 2009. 6.
                                                      93

        As discussed before, third sackers seemed to have a greater amount of zones (and plays) to cover –
where they are significantly less likely to get these plays completed on average. Meanwhile, the
centerfielder will accomplish his tasks about 90% of the time. Also, a hot corner man gets about a quarter
of his chances outside his zone responsibility – significant – when compared to second or shortstop.

        Zones? The field has been broken down into 78 fielding zones (Litchman, 2003) where some
fielding methodologies use only a select group of zones, or types of hits, or fielders (pitcher and catchers
are excluded) for analysis. From there, each method compiles various stats on players and position
averages to decide who is sticking out – and outlier – and who is consistently at the top, or bottom, and
hopefully, why that is.

One Fielding Example Put to Practice: The 2010 Seattle Mariners
New Mariner GM Jack Zduriencik must see some use in these new statistics based on his trade
acquisitions, and the current path of the Mariners on the field. In 2009, Seattle was #2 overall in team
defensive efficiency at (.712) which is the ability to turn balls into outs of those in play – minus home runs,
but adding in foul pops.
          Zduriencik’s team had improved by 24 wins from 2008 to 2009, and many GMs would have went
out to add pop to their lineup. Seattle did the opposite, acquiring lefty Cliff Lee from Philadelphia to
counterbalance Felix Hernandez in a dual-ace, combo package. Pitching, check.
          Once a super sub, Chone Figgins brings the best glove in the American League in 2009, and better
speed and patience at the bat. Jack Wilson for years was the best Pittsburgh player, and now, has the
chance to prove his worth to a better team. In the mid-Aughts, Wilson’s glove was the best in the NL.
Centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez proved talented alongside Suzuki in right. Both got to all the balls you
expect an outfielder to catch; and many you don’t. Gutierrez’s Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) was also the
best in the majors. (Athlon Sports, 2010 Preview.)
          Milton Bradley. Once: a talented prospect. A 20-20 man. Now: a man without country. He roams
outfields in the hopes he can resurrect his once promising career. Yet, given his poor work ethic, he can
still catch a baseball adequately in left field. (Seattle dumped RHP Carlos Silva on the Cubs for Bradley.)
          Overall, the emphasis on defense plus players, power pitching, with potential offensive breakouts
of Kotchman, Gutierrez, and Wilson could put the Mariners in the playoffs. If SP Eric Bedard comes back
to his 2007 Baltimore form – they will have 3 dangerous arms to rain on any New York juggernaut’s
parade.
          Yet, the prove will have to wait. (Seattle was handicapped by a low-scoring offense in 2009.)

Table 2.3.5. 2009 Fielding Statistics Under RZR System
Position                    RZR (Revised Zone)        OOZ      Notes
1B Casey Kotchman                   –                   –      27 yr. old – bounced around in 2009.
2B Jose Lopez                     .793                 36      Better in 2008 – consistent in four seasons.
3B Chone Figgins                  .749                 96      Played for Angels in 2009. Led AL in RZR.
SS Jack Wilson                    .816                 76      33 yr. old – statistics from 2007
LF Milton Bradley                 .917                 42      Amassed in Cubs’ RF in 2009
CF Franklin Gutierrez             .965                 113     1st season in Seattle was 2009. Best in MLB.
RF Ichiro Suzuki                  .951                 83      Franchise player – perennial Gold Glove

        It will be up to the math majors to determine if fielding excellence can be turned into winning ways
in the future. Much of the value has yet to be included in the everyday stat lines of the 21st century player.
And as such, the analysts will create their own measures, tweaked (and tweeted) out to the ether of the
Internet. The best teams will incorporate the new knowledge. (See: FDR Era, General Managers.)
                                                                 94

                                        2.4. Equality: The Negro Leagues
On the cusp of one of the most difficult eras in United States history, the development of the game of
baseball was separated by race very early on. The infant professional leagues throughout the country soon
employed stringent rules as to who could play on a baseball field, starting in late 1860s, and climaxing in
1887. In those days, shortly after the Civil War, racial issues in the Deep South (and beyond) engendered
the type of bitterness and hatred that the game of baseball only brought too early on to a harsh light and
continued to shine negatively well into the 20th century; and even exists on to this very day in hiring
policies and practices surrounding many management positions in nearly all professional sports.
        As such, the development of a ‘separate’ league became a constant struggle for Negro ballplayers
even knowing their abilities were the equal of anyone playing. As one story told in My Turn at Bat by Ted
Williams reflects, the Negro Leagues certainly did have talent:

           “…He [a friend of Williams] told about seeing Walter Johnson pitch an exhibition game against an
           all-Negro All-Star team at a little park in New Haven where you were so close you could hear the
           players talking. He said in the first inning one of the Negro players got up and called out to
           Johnson, ‘Mr. Johnson, I sure heard plenty about that fastball. You throw it, Mr. Johnson, and I’m
           gonna hit it right out of this park.’ And he did, and the game ended 1-0…Six or seven years later I
           finally met Walter Johnson in Washington. What an impressive man. Big, lean, strong-looking,
           soft-spoken… ‘I’ve got a friend in San Diego who says he saw you pitch against this Negro team in
           New Haven…’ and Johnson began nodding his head. ‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘That sure is right. He
           hit that ball a mile.’”1

        This certainly reflects the prowess of the players, and sometimes, the outright nerve of black
ballplayers. Though they could not play in the Majors, they could challenge and beat Hall of Fame talent
such as the ‘Big Train.’ More importantly, it reflects the courage to stand up to a legend even knowing
Johnson was partly the reason (if by complacency alone) a black ballplayer could not be in the Majors.
        Equally trying for black ballplayers was the search for stalwart men for league administration,
financial backing, organizing teams, leasing fields, attracting crowds, and finding teams to play for profit
(or to break even on the venture). At the very least, these necessities were difficult, and sometimes,
ultimately barriers to constructing a consistently playable schedule between a small group of teams. Adding
to those travails, traveling to and from cities, and staying overnight in segregated circumstances, and one
can image the frustrations a black man endured in the late 1800s and well into the 20th century through
competing in a sport they loved well beyond just ‘the game’ of it.

The Developers of the Negro Leagues
Amongst the pioneers of baseball stand men that are rarely mentioned in the breath of MLB greats, but
were no less important to the games development of ideas, promotions, history, and ballplayers of equal to
any white ballplayer discussed is Andrew ‘Rube’ Foster (1879-1930). Considered the founding father of
the Negro National League, Foster’s nickname comes from the pitching defeat of Rube Waddell and the
Philadelphia A’s in a 1902 exhibition game; but his true on-the-field greatness comes from his consistent
southfork pitching for more than twenty seasons, his managerial virtuosity, and the origination of the first
professional Negro League in 1920.


1
    Williams T, Underwood J. My Turn at Bat: The Story of My Life. New York: Simon Schuster; 1969. 18-19.
                                                                    95

                                                   Foster started out life in Calvert, Texas, the
                                           son of a minister and studied in that calling, before
                                           garnering attention in baseball with the Forth Worth
                                           Yellow Jackets. At 22, he joined up with Frank
                                           Leland’s Chicago Giants where he came to the
                                           awareness of the burgeoning black sports press in
                                           throwing submarine fastballs and screwballs that
                                           mystified black and white hitters alike.2 His early
                                           success as a player was soon rewarded with a
                                           managerial stake that lead to more prominence in
                                           the semi-pro leagues and barnstorming tours that
                                           many black teams engaged in. Foster’s Leland
                                           Giants racked up records of
                                           (134-21-3), (110-10), and (123-6) in 1905, 1907 and
            Andrew ‘Rube’ Foster           1910, respectively. Oddly, Cap Anson, the
Star Pitcher, Manager and Founder of Negro progenitor of the color line, was an opposing
                  Leagues                  operator in the Chicago semipro baseball league
                                           Foster dominated.3


        During the first decade of 20th century, Foster’s name garnered enough respect to get a date with
the only Chicago Cubs dynasty in 1909. The 3-game series saw exciting play and controversy. With Foster
pitching game two, the Leland Giants had the 1908 World Champs down 5-2 going into the ninth. But the
Cubs rallied to a 5-5 tie as 3B Frank ‘Wildfire’ Shulte had managed to get third with two outs. Foster,
clever, but tired, had apparently called time to discuss options for himself pitching, and subbing in game
three starter Pat Dougherty. But with several non-players and Cubs teams close to the field riding the
umpire, Shulte took advantage of Foster’s distraction, stealing home, and winning the game. Bets on the
series when south – cancelled due to protests – and the last game went 1-0 to the Cubs. Though each
game was won by the champs, they refused to play again against the Leland Giants.4

           Amongst Foster’s other contributions to the game, he is well known for:
             1. The irascible, but ever-compelling, John McGraw5 sought out his pitching and managing
                techniques;
             2. Foster wrote about “how to pitch” in Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball and likely
                tutored greats such as Christy Mathewson and ‘Iron Joe’ McGinnity in the art of the
                fadeaway (screwball) by several accounts (later debunked);
             3. He was an entrepreneur in a time when blacks were held back socially and financially;
             4. And he held together his league through a stern business sense.6




2
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 137.
3
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 138.
4
    Riley James A. The Negro Leagues. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers; 1997. 27-29.
5
  Neil Lanctot tells of a change of heart by John McGraw in the 1930s (pg. 204) regarding blacks integration in baseball. McGraw’s
death in 1934 is attributed to Uremia and leads to the clinical onset of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anorexia, weight loss, muscle cramps,
pruritus, mental status changes, visual disturbances, and increased thirst. These mental status changes came shortly before his passing
would partly explain his vacillation on the race issue.
6
  Loverro T. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 98-99.
                                                               96

         As Jerry Malloy points out in his introduction to Sol White’s History about Foster’s contributions
to the game: “…Foster had a career that would rival in variety and magnitude the achievements of white
baseball’s Al Spalding and Charles Comiskey combined, even serving as commissioner, unlike Spalding
and Comiskey.”7 An example of his keen management ability took place on August 22, 1923, when he
employed his Chicago American Giants players to bunt over and over again to 3rd base in forcing Bob
Miller to field the baseball unsuccessfully. This tactic won the game (11-5) after trailing going into the 7th
inning by three runs.8
         Foster’s founding of the Negro National League in February 1920 at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas
City9, with the first season starting in May 1920, came about during a revived healthy climate for all of
professional baseball. (The emergence of ‘The Bambino’ after the Black Sox Scandal.) Foster’s ability to
bring together those eight teams led to many firsts: playing games in Ebbets Field, a Negro World Series,
and the quick formation of a rival league.
          Within that first month, the Bacharach Giants were using Ebbets Field to showcase their talents
versus a white semi-pro team in sweeping a doubleheader. By July, two black teams, the Bacharach and
Lincoln Giants, played again at Ebbets before 15,000 fans with ace pitchers Smokey Joe Williams and Dick
Redding putting on a show. 10 The first season ended with the Chicago American Giants, Foster’s team,
winning the league, and the replacement of the Dayton Marcos by a Columbus, Ohio team. (To reflect the
difficulty of starting a professional league: Foster moved HOF Oscar Charleston from the Chicago
Americans to the Indianapolis ABCs for competitive balance reasons and also lent money to troubled
franchises.11 Charleston was also a hometown hero in Indianapolis.)
          By the mid-1920s the league attendance for eight teams, who owned or rented their own fields
(aside from the Cuban All Stars who had no home games), totaled more than 4 million.12 This rivals both
the National and American Leagues in attendance during that period. With that kind of fan support, in late
October 1923, the American Giants played the MLB Detroit Tigers in a three-game series, splitting two
and calling one because of darkness. Both sides were missing key players – Ty Cobb, Cristobal Torriente
and Oscar Charleston – but played on at Chicago’s Schorling’s Park.13 This clearly reflects that good teams
always play regardless of color.
         As Bill Hageman reports in Baseball Between the Wars, “...Giants manager John McGraw reportedly
told Foster, ‘If I had a bucket of whitewash that wouldn’t wash off, you wouldn’t have five players left
tomorrow.’”14 An average squad of Negro Leaguers had between fourteen and sixteen players – and under
McGraw’s hatched plan – nine players would be of major league-caliber in the early 1920s when McGraw’s
New York Giants were four-time World Series participators.
         But it was Rube Foster that held together these teams with an energy that was beyond what many
other men (white or black) ever amassed. Sadly, Foster succumbed to the pressures of holding together
this league in 1926, with a ‘mental incapacitation’ from which he never recovered. (It is not a certainty why
his ‘alleged violent episode’ would solely do this. But psychology was a different field in the 1920s). Foster
died on December 9, 1930 while still in a Kankakee, Illinois mental institution. But his recognition as the

7
  White S, Malloy J. Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball, With Other Documents on the Early Black Game, 1886 – 1936. Lincoln,
Nebraska: The University of Nebraska Press; 1995. xlii.
8
  Hauser Christopher. The Negro Leagues Chronology: Events in Organized Baseball, 1920 –1948. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland
& Company, Inc; 2006. 18.
9
  O’Neil B, Wulf S, Conrads D, Burns K. I Was Right on Time. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.; 1996. 76.
10
   Hauser Christopher. The Negro Leagues Chronology: Events in Organized Baseball, 1920 –1948. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland & Company, Inc; 2006. 7.
11
   McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 139.
12
   Loverro T. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 99.
13
   Hauser Christopher. The Negro Leagues Chronology: Events in Organized Baseball, 1920 –1948. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland & Company, Inc; 2006. 19.
14
   Hageman Bill. Baseball Between the Wars: A Pictorial Tribute to the Men Who Made the Game in Chicago From 1909 to 1947.
Chicago: Contemporary Books; 2001. 54.
                                                                  97

‘Father of the Negro Leagues’ is undoubtedly well earned and his legacy extended to the pinnacles of
baseball immortality with his admittance to Cooperstown in 1981.

                             Table 2.4.1. Rube Foster’s 1920 Negro National League
                                      Kansas City Monarchs             St. Louis Giants
                                       Indianapolis ABCs           Chicago American Giants
                                         Chicago Giants                Cuban All Stars
                                          Detroit Stars                Dayton Marcos



        Edward W. Bolden became the rival of Rube Foster’s National League when he formed the
Eastern Colored League in mid-December 1922. Foster tried initially to recruit Bolden’s Hilldale team, a
powerful, independent Negro team formed professionally in the mid 1910s, but Bolden and Foster soon
came to loggerheads. Foster and other franchises in the Negro National League soon employed an
attorney to stop players from jumping contracts, a usual problem of any rival league formation.15
        After reaching a truce, Bolden’s Hilldale team, winner of the Eastern Colored League, played the
Negro National League Kansas City Monarchs in October 1924 to a ten-game World Series losing to the
Monarchs 5 to 4, with a tie.16 This ‘traveling World Series’ reported various attendance levels of 8,800 to
5,366 to only 584 fans, but it was partly successful in maintaining the peace between the two men.
        Like Rube Foster, Bolden too suffered under the pressures of operating the league and go through
a breakdown.17 As the Great Depression approached, so did the collapse of the Eastern League in 1928,
only to be reinvented in the form of the American Negro League in 1929, but failed after just one season.
Bolden’s major contribution to the Negro Leagues was the consistent overall support as an owner,
manager, financier, and developer of leagues until his death in 1950, even though he experienced periods
of hesitation due to the fragility of league finances, and his own. He did this all while starting out as a U.S.
Post Office worker.18


                              Table 2.4.2. Ed Bolden’s 1923 Eastern Colored League
                         Atlantic City Bacharach Giants                    New York Lincoln Giants
                             Brooklyn Royal Giants                           Baltimore Black Sox
                                Philadelphia Stars                               Cuban Stars
                            Hilldale Daisies (Giants)                       Washington Potomacs




15
   Hauser Christopher. The Negro Leagues Chronology: Events in Organized Baseball, 1920 –1948. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland & Company, Inc; 2006. 20.
16
   Loverro T. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 136.
17
   Loverro T. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 26.
18
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 5.
                                                                  98

William “Gus” Greenlee, owner of the Pittsburgh
Crawfords, and former of the 2nd Negro National League
(NNL) (after the institutionalization of Rube Foster), was
a savvy entrepreneur, first and foremost, but gave his vast
energies to promoting baseball too. Born in Marion, North
Carolina, with two brothers that were trained as medical
doctors, whereas, the always-close-to-trouble Gus, applied
his intellect to wheeling and dealing on the streets. (An
innate skill; while using his superior intellect in a much
different trade.)
     In Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black
Institution, Neil Lanctot tells the story of Greenlee’s rise in
prominence from North Carolina, the move to Pittsburgh
before WWI, where he worked as a taxi driver, then joined
the war effort in an infantry regiment, wounded at St.
Mihiel, France as part of the 367th Regiment (92nd                             Gus Greenlee – Owner & Founder
Division).19

         After that, he became, like many others of that time, a dealer in illegal spirits. His cohort, a Latrobe
Brewery owner, Joe Tito, assisted him into the “numbers racket.” His involvement with the boxing world,
nightclubs, top black entertainers, and the hotel industry led him to become the most successful off-the-
field figure in the Negro Leagues in the 1930s. Gus wielded power (and made enemies, Cumberland Posey,
for one) in keeping the National Negro League afloat in the 1933. As Neil Lanctot notes, “Greenlee coped
with a number of difficulties during the 1930s, including weak administration, individualistic owners,
inadequate financing, and uneven support.”
         Greenlee mirrored and improved upon the Major League All-Star game in promoting the East-
West Game at Comiskey Park in 1933 that let the fans decide on the players involved for more than
twenty East-West tilts. This fan voting still exists to this very day in the MLB All-Star game. Attendance at
these mid-season classics exceeded more than 50,000 fans on a few occasions, outdoing the MLB all-star
in attendance in the same time period.
         Gus also built Greenlee Field in 1932, a 7,500-seat, lighted stadium in Pittsburgh. With the
independent ownership of the field, Greenlee imported the best players and cull together a HOF-led
dynasty. Catcher Josh Gibson, centerfielder Cool Papa Bell, 3rd baseman Judy Johnson, outfielder Oscar
Charleston and pitcher Satchel Paige played on the 1934-1936 Pittsburgh Crawfords. (Many of these
players came from the 1930-1932, Posey-owned Homestead Grays, another perennial and independent
powerhouse throughout the Negro League era.)
         With Greelee’s outside interest in professional boxing, considered a far more lucrative venture in
the 1930s economy than baseball (black or white due to its gambling gains), Greenlee ultimately sold his
field in Pittsburgh in December 1938 for $38,000 and the site was eventually made into a housing project.20
He dedicated more time to developing prizefighters for bouts, including one match with heavyweight
champion Joe Louis. Greenlee though fell on hard times personally; left the Pittsburgh Crawfords in
disarray; and failed to make payroll payments to his players late in the 1938 season. From there on, his
influence in black baseball was negligible after that tumultuous period until the mid-1940s, though
Greenlee remained a lesser figure through the formation of new Pittsburgh Crawford team in the 1940s.21

19
   Lester Larry. Black’s Baseball National Showcase: The East-West All-Star Game, 1933-1953. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska
Press; 2001. 9.
20
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 78.
21
   Loverro T. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 121.
                                                                99

        After various owners forestalled numerous rejoinders to the Negro Leagues, who Greenlee had
assisted significantly in developing the NNL, Greenlee founded the United States Baseball League (USL)
in 1945. With reported, if uncertain financial backing by Branch Rickey, Greenlee’s new league failed to
materialize into an equally competitive league, and only lasted two seasons.
        Soon after, Gus Greenlee developed health problems, including a heart attack, and died in 1952 at
the age of fifty-six, as “The Guiding Light of Modern Negro Baseball. ”22

                                         Sol White (1868-1955) was the first historian of black baseball. In
                                         publishing a small volume about the background of black baseball
                                         players on the professional circuit in 1907, White left behind an
                                         original viewpoint on the teams that existed in various leagues over
                                         a twenty-year span. Born in 1868, Sol had the fortune (or
                                         misfortune) to see the development of the ‘color line’ in baseball in
                                         the late 1880s while playing for Pittsburgh Keystones in the
                                         original Colored League. For years the line had existed; but a few
                                         ballplayers, namely Bud Fowler, Fleet and Weldy Walker, and
                                         George Stovey had played well for various teams in the American
                                         Association, International League and Eastern League. But that
                                         was ended in 1887.
          Sol White
     Player and Historian




         White’s volume on baseball describes the feats of many players; addresses the pay disparities in
light of equal talent; the difficulties faced by managers of teams; the growth of Jim Crow laws and the
effects on traveling as a Negro baseball team; and how blacks should look to approach the game. As one
passage reflects, “Base ball is a legitimate profession. As much so as any other vocation, and should be
fostered by owners and players alike…It should be taken seriously by the colored player, as honest efforts
with great ability will open an avenue in the near future wherein he may walk hand-in-hand with the
opposite race in the greatest of all American games – base ball.”23 As it turned out, it would be another
forty years before this reality would come to pass.
         White detailed the successes of various teams in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Specifically, the
Gorhams of New York City, who were owned by Ambrose Davis, the first African American to own a
baseball team in 1889. This team later was known as the Big Gorhams (1891) and dominated all comers to
the extent that Sol White considered it the best team of the 19th century. (George Stovey and George
Williams were two players of note on this team.)24
         His interest in baseball extended from player to player/manager to manager, then owner. He
played for the Cuban-X Giants, Page Fence Giants, and Chicago Columbia Giants in the 1890s. At 34, he
co-founded the Philadelphia Giants in 1902 with H. Walter Schlichter, a sportswriter. For the remainder of


22
   Lester Larry. Black’s Baseball National Showcase: The East-West All-Star Game, 1933-1953. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska
Press; 2001. 9.
23
   White Sol, Malloy Jerry. Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball, With Other Documents on the Early Black Game, 1886 – 1936.
Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of Nebraska Press; 1995. 67.
24
   White Sol, Malloy Jerry. Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball, With Other Documents on the Early Black Game, 1886 – 1936.
Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of Nebraska Press; 1995. xxx-xxxi.
                                                                 100

the decade, he played for and managed his Philadelphia team to success. In the 1920s, White would
manage the Cleveland Browns and Newark Stars.
        Sol White died on August 26, 1955 in New York City25 at 87, having seen Jackie Robinson, Don
Newcombe, Willie Mays, and Henry Aaron take over supremacy in the sport he loved so much. White
likely would have commented uniquely on their adventures, if time, age, and remembrance had allowed.

The Ownership Woes of the Negro Leagues
        Many other men (and women) of differing backgrounds (and races) contributed to the formation
and continuation of Negro League Baseball. Effa Manley, Charles Isham Taylor, Dr. W. Rollo Wilson,
Cumberland ‘Cum’ Posey, Alex (Alejandro) Pompez, James Leslie Wilkinson, Abe Saperstein (Harlem
Globetrotters founder), and Tom Baird provided the necessary perseverance in keeping leagues alive. The
onerous task of building schedules, planning travel, and obtaining players made all that participated weary
of the entire enterprise – but nevertheless, the idea persisted through numerous incarnations and revising
of team placements, often with profit being marginal, if at all.
        In the late 19th century, baseball franchises served decidedly different purposes than as a profit-
making venture solely of its own merit. As Malloy writes, three main reasons usually existed:
        1. Corporate advertising (Page Fence Giants were an ad arm for the Page Fence Co.)
        2. Prestige of a Social Club (Columbia Social Club)
        3. Promote a business venture (John W. Conner Royal Café & Palm)26

         This particular trend continued in Gus Greenlee’s heavy mixture of sports, live entertainment, and
society types that could be seen at the Crawford Grill of the 1930s. The comprising of several distinct, yet
integral, parts to a Negro business was instrumental to the survival of many black enterprises, especially in
Depression Era economies. Versatile, paradigm-breaking, and innovative ideas were employed to make it.
         But the lack of profit (as a baseball operation alone) was largely due to the small number of cities
that contained significant black populations, financial backing, and preferences of ownerships that
confined teams to very limited areas. As Neil Lanctot tabulates in Negro League Baseball, only New York,
Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, and Birmingham had populations over 100,000 African
Americans in 1930.27 By 1940, this listed included Memphis and Washington D.C., but Detroit did not
have any Negro League presence. This shifting landscape was not very different from the early National
League changes due to ownership whims, but an added constraint was that Southern and Western teams
faced hardships of both distance of travel, and discord, in playing interracial games in socially inhospitable
climates with it never too unlikely that payments for the games played could be withheld.
         Many times to gain profit playing semi-pro/pro white teams (even MLB greats like Ruth, Gehrig,
Foxx and countless others) overrode the prospect of playing a schedule of league games. Barnstorming
was engaged mid-season as a financial boost, to the disgust of fans and black media reporters. As one
passage in Neil Lanctot’s recent analysis of the Negro Leagues reflects, “Fast losing support from
sportswriters and fans, black professional baseball appeared largely incapable of growth and an increasingly
questionable investment as the Depression continued.”28
         Neil Lanctot also offers this astute summary of the game:
                 “Black and white professional baseball, however, had never remained completely separate.
                 As early as the 1900s, black teams had leased major league parks for occasional
                 appearances and increasingly rented other Organized Baseball facilities. Moreover, since
25
   White S, Malloy J. Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball, With Other Documents on the Early Black Game, 1886 – 1936. Lincoln,
Nebraska: The University of Nebraska Press; 1995. xlvi.
26
   White S, Malloy J. Sol White’s History of Colored Baseball, With Other Documents on the Early Black Game, 1886 – 1936. Lincoln,
Nebraska: The University of Nebraska Press; 1995. xxxix.
27
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 14.
28
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 55.
                                                                 101

                   the 1880s, white major and minor league players had supplemented their income…against
                   black clubs. By the early 1920s, several black teams had defeated largely intact white
                   professional teams in postseason series, generating positive publicity and respect from
                   white participants and fans…major league baseball eventually restricted postseason
                   participation…and limiting barnstorming squads to no more than three players from a
                   single team. While opportunities for interracial professional competition
                   continued…generally involved white “all-star” teams varying widely in quality.”29

        These ownerships squabble often over booking of teams in parks, the cut of the gate, and the
administration of the league by less-than-likeable men, in the opinion of (sometimes) envious owners.
Racial conflict also arose due to white owners and promoters (like Nat Strong) seen as exploiting black
teams for greater profits than from similar white teams. This all took place before, during, and after the
harshest economic climate in our nation’s history (the Great Depression), which is more telling of the
perseverance needed to survive the travails of both racism, and an ever-changing business model. A lack of
patience was evident with nearly all owners, black or white. (See: Dynasties – The Real Philadelphia Story)

Promoter/owner Alex (Alejandro) Pompez
improved slightly the climate of Negro League
baseball upon the death of Nat Strong in
January 1935, whose stronghold on
promotions of nearly all semi-pro/pro baseball
in New York, aside from the majors, is
evidenced in Neil Lanctot’s Negro League
Baseball:



                                                                               Alex Pompez – Owner

        “…the involvement of Nat Strong in black baseball had particularly frustrated sportswriters and
        owners…he had been involved in booking and promoting since the 1890s and eventually
        controlled a number of white semipro parks in the metropolitan New York area. Black clubs
        looking for profitable games…had little choice but to deal with Strong…Strong’s openly exploitive
        tactics and seemingly mercenary attitude toward black baseball drew steady criticism…Strong was
        primarily driven by profit and had little interest in developing the industry into a stable
        institution...By the 1930s, Strong was openly hostile to any organization that might potentially cut
        his bookings by weaning black teams away from their reliance on independent games with white
        semi-pros.”30
        As a quick response to Strong’s death, Alex Pompez, born in (Key West, Florida31 or Havana,
Cuba32) in 1890, was able to uplift the New York Cubans through a refurbished field, with lights, and
integrating players of various backgrounds in Harlem during the 1935 season. (204th and Nagle Avenue
was the field location.33) Pompez’s fledgling venture into baseball immortality started out in the mid-1910s
as a promoter of the Cuban Stars, made up of nearly all Cuban islanders. With the constant travel of the
29
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
208.
30
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 24-
25.
31
   http://www.baseball-reference.com/ - Biography of Alex Pompez. Last Accessed: October 12, 2006.
32
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 42.
33
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 43.
                                                                 102

Cuban Stars in the initial Eastern Colored League, profitability of the baseball franchise became too
difficult. As a result, Pompez returned to a numbers racket that generated upwards of $8,000 per day34 in
the Depression Era. But could not resist the game after Nat Strong’s death. (Strong also was the initial
owner of the Brooklyn Royal Giants in the Eastern Colored League, formed in December 1922.35)
         Pompez’s money and desire to improve baseball though were almost immediately hampered by his
numbers involvement (and ties to Dutch Schultz) that raised the eyebrows of prosecutor Thomas Dewey,
future governor of New York, and near President according to the famous and erroneous headline, Dewey
Wins!!! Soon, Pompez’s indictment in May 1936 caused him to flee the jurisdiction, first to France, then
Mexico, before coming back to the United States with guarantees of a light sentence, and his full
cooperation with the law.36 After a hiatus of two years, he fielded the New York Cubans once again in
1939.37
         Financing that came from illegal means, with Gus Greenlee and Alex Pompez being the leading
figures in that particular arena, continuously hampered the business of black baseball. As a result of
prosecutorial crackdowns on illegal activities, Greenlee firesaled his juggernaut Pittsburgh Crawfords in
1937. In losing Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Jimmy Crutchfield, and Harry Kincannon for various players
back, and money, the primary motivator, Greenlee lost influence in these leagues. Greenlee’s players also
reflected this obvious uncertainty by jumping to the dictator-controlled Dominican Republic for better pay
and treatment in 1937. As Satchel Paige, then a Crawford, explained in Negro League Baseball: “the
opportunity of a colored baseball player on these islands are the same or almost the same as those enjoyed
by the white major league players in the States. That’s something to think about, you know.”38
         Pompez meanwhile was cleaning up his act, or at least able to state that as his goal in the wake of
his testimony in a mob trial. His ultimate testimony to this objective was in his ability to return to baseball
– even after suffering the loss of his refurbished stadium to demolition – and reestablishing the New York
Cubans. Other owners, especially Effa Manley of the Newark Eagles, resisted any open-armed approach,
but lost the battle as Alex was back.
         By the late 1940s, with the Negro Leagues in decline, Pompez was asked by the New York Giants
owner Horace Stoneham to farm out his talent to the Giants organization. As an astute man and talent
evaluator, with Cuban ties, Pompez assisted in the transplanting of Latin American stars Juan Marichal and
Orlando Cepeda to the Giants39, Tony Oliva to the Twins, and Saturnino Orestes Arrieta Armas ‘Minnie’
Minoso to the White Sox.40 (A few others: Jose Cardenal, Tito Fuentes, Jose Pagan, and the Alous, Matty,
Felipe, and Jesus.) Pompez continued and expanded this vital position well into the 1960s as the San
Francisco Giants head of international scouting, bringing over the 1st Japanese pitcher, Masanori
Murakami, who finished 5-1 with 3.43 ERA in a brief U.S. career. But it was a sign of things to come.
         In the early 1970s, Pompez was on the committee to elect Negro Leaguers to the Hall of Fame,
serving until 1974, his death. He was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in February
2006. Versatility and vitality kept Pompez scouting out opportunities while avoiding a personal downfall.

        Bill Veeck tells in the Hustler’s Handbook of how Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators,
wanted him to start Satchel Paige (while in Cleveland) to draw a larger gate to the park. This viewpoint is
further supported in Buck O’Neil’s I Was Right on Time:


34
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 43.
35
   Hauser Christopher. The Negro Leagues Chronology: Events in Organized Baseball, 1920 –1948. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland & Company, Inc; 2006. 15.
36
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 59-
60.
37
   http://www.baseball-reference.com/ - Biography of Alex Pompez. Last Accessed: October 12, 2006.
38
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 62.
39
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/ - Biography of Alex Pompez. Last Accessed: October 12, 2006.
40
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Minnie Minoso. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
                                                               103

          “The Washington Senators’ Clark Griffith was making a killing, because the Homestead Grays
         played in Griffith Stadium when the Senators were out of town. We [O’Neil’s team] would go in
         there and play the Grays and fill up the place; the Senators would come home and play any club
         other than the Yankees and they’d have twelve thousand people in there. We had’em hanging from
         the rafters. So he was probably making $100,000 off the rent and concessions with the Grays.”41

         This is but one example of a white owner knowing that Negro League players and the immortal
Satchel Paige were a consistent drawing card that could pad the bottom line of the ne’er-do-well Senators.
(Clark ‘The Old Fox’ Griffith was a turn-of-the-century right hand pitcher of significant talent too (240-
141, 3.31 ERA, 23 Shutouts), and understood what brought fans to the park.)
         A Negro League owner or executive fought internally and externally the powers of men, and many
times cut deals with dubious characters to field the games. Players knew it and understood it. The love of
the game really meant that for Negro League players, who, at the their best, had to be happy to make
modest sums, if crowds consistently watched.
         Nevertheless, a few ownerships made profits in some instances for several seasons. According to
Neil Lanctot, the Kansas City Monarchs were modestly profitable during the early 1940s. Over a five-year
stretch, the Monarchs reported a $260,000 total profit according to the ownership records of Thomas
Baird, their white co-owner.42 In Beyond the Shadow of the Senators, Brad Snyder notes the Homestead Grays
made a profit every year from 1912 to 1929.43
         Attempts by the Negro League ownerships to purchase home grounds were fairly consistent, going
back to 1922 in St. Louis with $27,000 spent on a park at Compton and Market Street.44 Yet, the ability to
maintain them or keep them independently owned was unsuccessful as can be seen in Greenlee Field
lasting less than a decade (1932-1938) even with a highly successful team and likely the best assemblage of
talent in the 1930s, white or black, in the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Most owners of Negro League teams were
renters of home grounds whether of major league caliber, minor league affiliates, or semi-pro fields.
         But the Negro Leagues were not just about the ballparks and ballgames. As noted, the convergence
of black enterprises just ‘came around’ the game of baseball. Black entertainers in music and poetry,
championship boxers, influential writers, and fledging politicians all took great interest and supported the
National Pastime. People like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, W.E.B. Dubois, Langston
Hughes, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Joe Louis, and many others were tied, if only
through similar travel and lodging circumstances, to the experiences of professional baseball players who
shared the same skin color, as Halberstam reflects: “There was a black world in Kansas City that white
people knew almost nothing about. It was centered at Eighteenth and Vine, where the famed Streets
Hotel, a grand hotel where all the best people stayed, was located. It was a beacon…of black
America…There would be Duke Ellington or Count Basie [joining Buck O’Neil] for breakfast…[But] it
was a curious bitterersweet life, he thought, to be denied so much and yet have so much.”45 Such
associations grew stronger because of the superior abilities that inhabited this ‘other side’ of the racial
divide, while facing many, if not all, the same struggles for equality in their chosen professions as the
ballplayers, who traveled on Pullmans or second-hand buses from New York to Austin to San Francisco
to Chicago. A nomadic and noble existence made tolerable by tales and shared nights in dusty towns.


41
   O’Neil B, Wulf S, Conrads D, Burns K. I Was Right on Time. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.; 1996. 167.
42
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
293.
43
   Snyder Brad. Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball. Chicago:
Contemporary Books; 2003. 40.
44
   Hauser Christopher. The Negro Leagues Chronology: Events in Organized Baseball, 1920 –1948. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland & Company, Inc; 2006. 12.
45
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 148.
                                                104




      1932 Crawfords: Oscar Charleston, Satchel Page, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, and Jud Wilson



Table 2.4.3. Greatest team ever assembled?
1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords       Position Played
James Cool Papa Bell (HOF)      Center field
Jimmy Crutchfield               Right field
Sam Bankhead                    Left field
Josh Gibson (HOF)               Catcher
Judy Johnson (HOF)              3rd Baseman
Oscar Charleston (HOF)          1st Baseman/Manager
Satchel Paige (HOF)             Right hand Pitcher
Leroy Matlock                   Left hand Pitcher
                                                               105

       As poet Langston Hughes wrote in A Dream Deferred, an applicable bittersweet viewpoint of what a
black ballplayers’ experiences and hopes could be defined as:

                                                What happens to a dream deferred?
                                                         Does it dry up
                                                     Like a raisin in the sun?

                                                          Or fester like a sore-
                                                            And then run?

                                                    Does it stink like rotten meat?
                                                     Or crust and sugar over –
                                                        like a syrupy sweet?

                                                            Maybe it just sags
                                                            like a heavy load.

                                                          Or does it explode?

       The Negro Leagues exploded into the conscience of white baseball, and forever affected the
record books, but only after the heavy load was lifted initially by Jackie Robinson’s back.

The Black Media and Sportswriters
         Influential to the times were the black print media. Media outlets like the Chicago Defender, Pittsburgh
Courier, Amsterdam News, Baltimore Afro American, Kansas City Call, and others, were the only voice of the
statistics and players of the Negro Leagues. They shared a bond too with the Negro Leagues. In many
cases, their writings are all we have left of what was the on-the-field statistical story of the black baseball.
         Among the short list of great African American sportswriters stand several key figures to the
growth, history, and legacy of the league.

       Dr. W. Rollo Wilson (1891? -1956) is often compared to Red Smith, an influential plain-speaking
HOF baseball writer. Dr. Wilson’s life was filled with a wide array of occupations – chemist, Pennsylvania
boxing commissioner, fight promoter, Negro National League commissioner, and corpsman in the U.S.
Navy in WW I – but sports writing was his ultimate passion carried out over thirty years.46
       From Jim Riesler’s Black Writers/Black Baseball, a few gems of Dr. Wilson:
       “Oscar [Charleston] can make a baseball do everything but talk.”47
       “Some folks say that umpires are not of the same species as you and me.”48
       “Some of these days, I’ll see a greater and more versatile ballplayer than the Cuban Stars’ Martin
       Dihigo, and when I do, I’ll write, wire or phone the details to each reader of this Column,
       collect.”49


46
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 114.
47
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 115.
48
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 116.
49
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 118.
                                                               106

         And of Oscar Charleston, once again: “…openly declared that he [Charleston] was a greater star
than Max Carey, then at the height of his days. They said he batter like a Cobb and fielded like a Speaker,
and there could be no greater praise in that era.”50
         Rollo Wilson’s poetic words on the entrance of Joshua Gibson into Negro League baseball due to
Buck Ewing’s finger injury: “The manager was at wit’s end and for someone to send in a sub. Up in the
grandstand was a young husky on his way home from work in the Edgar Thomson US Steel Mills. He was
attired in the garments of his calling, the hallmark of a horny-handed son of toil…He lumbered down on
the field, hobnailed shoes and all, and offered himself a living sacrifice to old Cum Posey. Since nothing
better could be done, Posey accepted his services.”51
         Wilson was among the first to push for integration of the baseball via columns written in 1934
during the East-West All Star Classic. He also envisioned a possible minor league affiliation with the
Majors and often pushed Commissioner Landis to make it a priority to make theses changes.52
         Dr. W. Rollo Wilson died outside Connie Mack stadium after watching the Philadelphia Eagles
play the Pittsburgh Steelers.53

Sam Lacy (1903-2003) started like many fans, playing baseball and
hoping for a career as a ballplayer. He spent his formative years
moving from Mystic, Connecticut to Washington, D.C., and soon
shagged flies as a teenager in the outfield of Griffith Stadium while
the likes Goose Goslin and Walter Johnson warming up in the late
1910s and early 1920s.54 As a ballplayer he competed early on
against top black players Oscar Charleston and Biz Mackey, but
soon found his calling in the world of reporting after graduating
from Howard University in 1923.



                                                                                        Sam Lacy: Nine Decades of
                                                                                         Writing for the Love of the
                                                                                                   Game
Being born to the 1st black police detective in the D.C. area, Henry Erskine, whose love for Senators saw
plenty of disappointment, Lacy’s sports reporting career endured the Great Depression, WWII, Korea,
Vietnam, Civil Rights, Space Exploration, The Internet, Globalization and both Iraqi campaigns. As a
writer and managing editor for the Washington Tribune, Chicago Defender and Baltimore Afro-American he
utilized his long relationship to the Washington Senators leading him to promote integration in the late
1930s via his columns, radio broadcasts and meetings with owner Clark Griffith.
         Griffith reflected the times, unable to change ‘what was’ and using excuses of destruction of the
Negro Leagues if integration was sought. In an interview with James Floto of Thediamondangle.com, Lacy
said, “I felt that not only were blacks being deprived of the opportunity to make some money, but that



50
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 120.
51
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 121-122.
52
   Wilson, W. Rollo. Landis Hears Baseball Talk. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Courier; 8 Sept. 1934, 2nd Sec.: 5.
53
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 113.
54
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 11.
                                                               107

whites were being deprived of the opportunity to see these fellows perform. I could see that both of them
were being cheated.”55
        In August 1939, Lacy wrote: “Since man first endowed with conscience and a sense of appreciation
he has felt keenly elated at the prospect of getting something. Why then, shouldn’t the colored player be
interrogated on the proposal to open the big league ball to him, something we think he wants, but never
bothered to ask him whether he does?”56 In a prior conversation with Clark Griffith, the owner of
Senators, Griffith made the comment that integration would cause confrontation and possibly cost the
Negro Leagues 400 jobs. Lacy retorted: “When Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation,
he put 400,000 of my people out of jobs, and life went on.”57 Such was the man Sam Lacy was.
        Lacy found baseball immortality in closely covering Jackie Robinson during his travels across the
South, and suffered much of the same indignities as Robinson. Lacy once had to type out his report on top
of a dugout in New Orleans because he was not allowed in the press box. But his cohorts soon joined
Sam as a protest to this policy.58
        Sam Lacy was the first black member of the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1948. Just
a year after Jackie cut his teeth in the majors. Lacy’s amazingly long career spanned nine decades, and saw
his induction into the writers’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998, fifty years after “acceptance” into
the BWAA. On May 8, 2003, shortly after submitting his handwritten column to the Afro-American, the 99-
year old Lacy passed away.

         Frank Young may have been the most retentive and biting columnist of this group. His career
started in 1907, before Sol White’s landmark publication and the ‘Birth of a Nation’ propaganda movie
depicting blacks as inferiors and savages. Therefore, Young’s gruff behavior was likely due to setting a
superb societal example and never letting his guard down while providing commentary on all black sports
for fifty years. He came to the burgeoning business of Chicago Defender, a shoestring operation at the start
that grew in less than a decade to nearly 250,000 in circulation.59
         Young utilized his columns to spell out in clear language what he believed, without over glorifying
any particular moment or achievement. The Fay Says byline got to the point, told of various situations in
one shot, and rarely pulled any punches as this sample suggests:
         “Mrs. Abe Manley, who owns the Newark Eagles with her husband, usually does a lot of talking.
         While in Chicago, she opposed and argued against every move that put 32,000 paid admissions in
         Chicago…the fortunate part of Mrs. Manley’s arguments was that the other club owners ignored
         her.
         Some of Mrs. Manley objections…are, as Shakespeare said in The Merchant of Venice, ‘like two
         grains of wheat lost in two bushels of chaff, you may seek all day ere you find them – and when
         you have found them they are not worth their search.’”60
         Young was also caring individual, donating to monies to students at the Tuskegee Institute in
Alabama, where George Washington Carver made his own history.

       Many others, such as Wendell Smith, Chester Washington and Randy Dixon, were also
instrumental in reporting both positive and negative viewpoints of the Negro Leagues. In reporting on

55
   Floto James. Biography of Sam Lacy. Unknown: www.thediamondangle.com ; 2006. Last accessed on June 18, 2007.
56
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 15.
57
   Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 171.
58
   Floto James. Biography of Sam Lacy. Unknown: www.thediamondangle.com ; 2006. Last accessed on June 18, 2007.
59
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 58-59.
60
   Reisler Jim. Black Writers/ Black Baseball: An Anthology of Articles from Black Sportswriters Who Covered the Negro Leagues.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc.; 1994. 59.
                                                            108

league members’ shortsightedness, internal disputes and open confrontations while the owners were
closing their ranks against ‘the bad press’, these reporters may have undermined their own goals in striving
for racial equality. (By giving indifferent people and racists a foothold that African-Americans cannot
operate a league or a business. They could, but struggled much like the National League did in its early
years.)
        Quotes like, “the Negro National League is a pitiful organization,”61 and “The Negro National
League is much ado about nothing,”62 only inflamed tensions in this love-hate relationship writers had with
the owners (and players.) As a result, even if in well-meaning critiques, the best sportswriters did
sometimes undercut the progress (such as it was) in getting equal footing for the players of the game.

Biographies of Famous Players
Buck O’Neil (1911–2006): Humble, entertaining and
quotable, John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil was born in
Carrabelle, Florida in early November 1911. He played first
base for and managed the Kansas City Monarchs, but he is
more visibly known for his contributions after his
meritorious service to the Negro Leagues as Ken Burns
reflected timelessly in his video documentary, Baseball.
         He scouted for the Chicago Cubs, signing Mr. Cub,
Ernie Banks, and scouted out the 2nd all-time leading theft
master on the base paths: Lou Brock. He has the important
distinction as the 1st black coach in the major leagues in June
1962, fifteen years after Jackie Robinson broke into the
majors as a ballplayer. But unfortunately, he was still held
back significantly under the backward Chicago Cubs
franchise that was truly atrocious in 1950s and early 1960s.




                                                                               Buck O’Neil
                                                                      1B-OF-Manager-MLB Scout
        Buck O’Neil was more than an able player in his youth, once leading the Negro Leagues in batting
average in the mid 1940s while playing against Hall of Fame catchers, Josh Gibson and Roy Campanella.
He also managed Hall of Fame pitchers Satchel Paige and Hilton Smith, and in doing so, won two Negro
League World Series titles.63 Much later, he became chairman of the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas
City, and a driving force behind the induction of great black ballplayers unable to play in the Majors and
numerous officials key to the survival of the Negro Leagues.
        Buck’s opinion of his play was always one of humility while uplifting of others that made the game
great. He was no less a great of the game because he firmly understood the gift of playing the game,
managing players, scouting out the gems, and passing on the love of the sport, even after being too old to
be invited to play in the Majors. But as he titled his book, I was Right on Time, speaking again to his


61
   Smith, Wendell. Dismukes Is Man For Baseball Czar--Smith. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Courier; May 18, 1940. 17.
62
   Dixon, Randy. Your Man’ Makes Discovery Baseball Meeting Is Merely a Scheme to Embarrass Newspapermen. Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh Courier; February 3, 1940. 16.
63
   Unknown. Buck O’Neil Biography. Unknown: www.historicbaseball.com; 2006. Last Accessed: January 13, 2007.
                                                               109

enjoyment of his experiences in baseball – black, white, or shades of gloriously colorful moments. He
gave it his all.
        Buck O’Neil passed away on October 6, 2006, in Kansas City, home to the Monarchs he once
managed, and the museum he helped to build for all Negro Leaguers. He did it all on time.

                                    Josh Gibson (1911–1947): Quite likely the greatest power hitting
                                    catcher, possibly any position, of all time, Gibson departed too soon,
                                    leaving behind a mythical story, more so than any other player, aside
                                    from Babe Ruth. (Estimated to have hit 800 home runs.)
                                            His journey to immortality started in Buena Vista, Georgia in
                                    1911 with the harsh reality of the antebellum South undoubtedly a
                                    compelling force for his family’s later move north to Pittsburgh (and
                                    Carnegie Steel) in the early 1920s. As www.historicbaseball.com quotes
                                    Gibson, “The greatest gift Dad gave me was to get me out of the
                                    South.”64 As he grew into his taut body, he found the love of baseball
                                    in the epicenter of black baseball: Pennsylvania.



      Joshua Gibson
       C-OF-1B-3B


         By 1930, Gibson at 19 was all ready displaying his rare talents, and soon achieved the moniker of
‘The Black Babe Ruth’ that speaks volumes of his hitting prowess. With little wasted motion, Gibson
stood flatfooted in the batter’s box, and generated enormous torque without striding out to the pitcher.65
To go along with his batting, his arm was a deterrent to likely base stealers, aside from Pittsburgh
teammate James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell.
         In the early 1930s, he topped the Babe’s totals by hitting 69, 75, and 84 home runs in barnstorming
tours and the Pittsburgh Crawfords.66 Fans and players who saw his monster home runs gave various
accounts of the distances – some in excess of 550 feet – with the one most talked about happening in
Yankee Stadium. As James Colzie, a 265-game winner in 21 years in the Negro Leagues, reflects in I Will
Never Forget by Brent Kelley, “…He hit the longest ball in Yankee Stadium. They say Babe Ruth and
Mickey Mantle hit the longest balls, but Josh Gibson hit the longest one. That’s before they brought it in
around 15 or 20 feet. He hit it like two tiers up in straightaway center field.”67 It was also said that Gibson
left the ‘House That Ruth Built’ (from the right side of the plate no less.) Stories surrounding Gibson’s
long taters are now only limited by survivors of that bygone era, but all projected them at over 500 feet.
         Gibson started off as a semi-pro, playing for the Crawford Colored Giants in 1929 at 18. As a
paying fan, Gibson filled in for Buck Ewing of the Negro League Crawfords in July 1930. He was fairly
raw as catcher; but gifted with enormous athletic ability that sharpened those dull initial skills quickly. By
the late 1930s, Josh’s defensive improved in most respects, as Robert Peterson’s Only the Ball Was White
points out the opinions of Walter Johnson, Roy Campanella, and Jimmy Crutchfield varied, but always
suggested his outstanding arm. Likely, the biggest flaw in Josh’s game was trouble with foul pop ups.


64
   Unknown. Josh Gibson Biography. Unknown: www.historicbaseball.com; 2006. Last Accessed: January 13, 2007.
65
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Joshua Gibson. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
66
   Unknown. Josh Gibson Biography. Unknown: www.historicbaseball.com; 2006. Last Accessed: January 13, 2007.
67
   Kelley Brent. I Will Never Forget: Interviews with 39 Former Negro League Players. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.;
2003. 25.
                                                               110

        But Gibson’s main attraction was the monster shots hit in games and batting practice that left
many in awe of his power.
        As Clark Griffith soon figured out, having the Homestead Grays (Gibson’s usual team in the late
1930s and 1940s) play games regularly made up for the abysmal Washington Senators attendance. Gibson
provided the show: hitting balls out of the stadium was a huge boost to normal attendance. As Kyle
McNary reflects in Black Baseball, “Gibson hit more balls into the left field bleachers in Griffith Stadium
(410 feet down the line) than the entire American League.” Along with his teammate, 1B Buck Leonard,
they were dubbed ‘Murderer’s Row’ mirroring (and surpassing) the Yankees in winning 9 straight Negro
National League titles.
        In 1936, Gibson dominated the Denver Post tournament, a nationwide gathering of top talent
aside from the Majors, hitting 5 home runs at over a .500 clip in 7 games (which his team won all seven.)68
        As with many heroes, their light goes out too quickly. Gibson is thought to have survived his last
few years with a brain tumor, refusing any operation, while playing through headaches, hypertension and
dizziness. In January 1943, he suffered from nervous breakdown.69 His skills defensively eroded, but
Gibson still hit home runs at a considerable rate over his career and led the Negro National League in that
category in his final two seasons. Shortly after turning 36, Gibson died at home with his family in 1947.
Joshua Gibson is enshrined in three HOFs: American, Mexican and Puerto Rican Halls of Fame.

                                                                      Satchel Paige (1906–1982): A man who
                                                                      started his MLB career in his 40s, Satchel
                                                                      Paige was known for his fastball, illegal
                                                                      hesitation pitch, and coming and going as
                                                                      it suited him. Being a man without country,
                                                                      since he rarely stayed put in one place,
                                                                      Paige was a nice fit on the Cleveland club,
                                                                      led by Bill Veeck Jr., that won the World
                                                                      Series in 1948. In Satchel’s first three
                                                                      games started in the majors, the attendance
                                                                      was a staggering 201,829.70


              Robert Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige
                   RHP –1B(rarely)

Growing up in Mobile, Alabama, destined to be recognized for his antics, ‘Satchel’ likely earned that
moniker via the five-finger discount road that led to five years71 in Mount Meigs reform school.72
(Historian Robert Peterson states Paige was nicknamed for carrying the mailbags used by the railroads.)
Leroy Paige, like George Herman Ruth did at a Baltimore reformatory, developed into a renowned
ballplayer. Both had fathers that were strictly blue-collar: Paige’s was a gardener; Ruth’s ran a bar.
        His legacy extended back into 1920s as a fastball pitcher with little control that got by on
overpowering talent. His first seasons were spent deep in the Jim Crow South playing in Mobile, then for
the Chattanooga Black Lookouts, and Birmingham Black Barons.73


68
   McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 142.
69
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Joshua Gibson. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
70
   Peterson Robert. Only the Ball Was White. London: Prentice-Hall International, Inc.; 1970. 140.
71
   Peterson Robert. Only the Ball Was White. London: Prentice-Hall International, Inc.; 1970. 140.
72
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Robert Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
73
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Robert Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
                                                                 111

        As he reached his prime, Satchel’s name came up in the Negro Leagues (or baseball in general)
when asking about who was the best pitcher. His records in the early 1930s for Pittsburgh Crawfords (32-7
and 31-4), his North Dakota barnstorming tour of 134 wins in 150 contests, or his out dueling Schoolboy
Rowe and a team of major leaguers reflects just how well he pitched. But beyond the won-loss records, his
showmanship and supreme confidence, was both exciting and abrasive.
         Paige squabbled with a wide variety of owners over contracts, took personal stances based on his
upbringing, and came and went as he desired. Due to his gate attraction, Paige was in constant demand.
The Newark Eagles owner Effa Manley once obtained a restraining order in 1938 against Paige leaving the
country for an opportunity to pitch in Venezuela.74 Soon after, he went to Mexico instead. He showed up
batters by removing his fielders, leaving only him, and usually, Biz Mackey as his battery mate. Those man-
to-boy encounters with his ‘bee ball’ or ‘jump ball’ were lopsided in favor of Paige. Paige led players in
contract jumping – with money (or a car) as the primary motivator. This was only after the low salaries in
the Negro Leagues provided the impetus to jump to the Dominican Republic: “if we got the dough that
we deserve, we wouldn’t want to run out on anybody.”75 As usual, money and material things usually made
the decision for the HOF pitcher than was later utilized by ever-the-shill owner Charlie O. Finley in the
mid 1960s at a record age of 59 years old. (Paige got through those 3 innings with little damage.) Satchel
Paige also refused to pitch in towns where he could not lodge or get a meal in a restaurant.76
        While on his Mexican excursion, a sore arm jeopardized his career where Paige struggled through a
couple seasons before coming back to nearly full strength. He added polish – throwing a curve ball more,
and employing the hesitation pitch – but his Prima Donna act was still intact, but tempered by subtle
maturity. He made his way to Kansas City (where he resided at his death in June 1982) and pitched for the
Monarchs for much of the 1940s, when not in the American League, or under Veeck’s management.
        Robert Leroy Satchel Paige pitched in five decades from 1926 to 1965, likely amassing over 10,000
innings pitched, more wins than Cy Young, and admiration from competitors and observers alike. Joe
DiMaggio, a lifetime .325 hitter, surmised he was the toughest pitcher he ever faced in West Coast
exhibitions.77 Ultimately though, Paige’s free spirit, his fastball and wit made his way and he never looked
back.

Satchel Paige’s Famous Words to Live By
   1. Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
   2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
   3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
   4. Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.
   5. Avoid running at all times.
   6. Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.78




74
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 74.
75
   Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004. 73.
76
   Peterson Robert. Only the Ball Was White. London: Prentice-Hall International, Inc.; 1970. 10
77
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Robert Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
78
   O’Neil B, Wulf S, Conrads D, Burns K. I Was Right on Time. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.; 1996. 220.
                                                             112

Willie Foster (1904–1978): Born in Calvert, Texas, the half-brother
of the Rube Foster was the premier lefty pitcher throughout much of
the 1920s and early 1930s. He first pitched for the Chicago American
Giants that Rube managed adroitly in the early days of the Negro
Leagues. Cumberland Posey thought he was the best lefty Negro
League pitcher. During Foster’s Hall-of-Fame career (1923-1938), he
utilized good heat, a fast curve, a superb change of pace, and
excellent control for the American Giants, Kansas City Monarchs,
Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords, and the Birmingham Black
Barons.
       Some comparisons are drawn to HOF Warren Spahn.
                                                                                    William H. Foster - LHP

        Just four days after his brother’s permanent institutionalization in September 1926, Willie threw a
one-hitter against the Indianapolis ABCs.79 Later that month, Foster carried his American Giants into the
1926 Negro League World Series by out pitching Wilbur ‘Bullet’ Joe Rogan in a two shutout performances
(5-0, 1-0) against the Kansas City Monarchs. Willie’s iron man performance, in pitching both sides of a
doubleheader, was duplicated by the losing pitcher Bullet Joe Rogan.80
        In 1927, Foster went 18-3 over the course of the season, again leading his team to the top of the
Negro Leagues.
        In the inaugural East-West All-Star game in 1933, Foster amassed the most votes from the fans
and dominated on the mound for the West squad with a complete game victory. Again, representing the
West squad in 1934, Foster represented the American Giants, dueled with Satchel Paige, but lost. Like
many others, Foster played in winter leagues in various locales with his Negro League counterparts,
racking up a solid winning percentage against Major League-caliber players.
        After his playing days were over, Foster went into coaching, and eventually landed back at his alma
mater as the baseball coach and Dean of Men at Alcorn College in Mississippi. He died in Lorman,
Mississippi in September 1978. Eighteen years later, he received the nod into the Major League Baseball
Hall of Fame. Foster, along with Paige, John Donaldson, “Bullet” Joe Rogan, and “Smokey” Joe Williams
were honored as the 1st team pitchers on the all-Negro League team in a 1952 Pittsburgh Courier poll.81




79
   Hauser Christopher. The Negro Leagues Chronology: Events in Organized Baseball, 1920 –1948. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland & Company, Inc; 2006. 40.
80
   Hauser Christopher. The Negro Leagues Chronology: Events in Organized Baseball, 1920 –1948. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland & Company, Inc; 2006. 43.
81
   McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 145.
                                                                 113

                                                Martin Dihigo (1905–1971): A man in 4 Baseball Hall of
                                                Fames (Cuban, US, Mexican, Venezuela), Dihigo makes the
                                                positional accomplishments of Pete Rose look run-of-the-mill.
                                                Born in Matanzas, Cuba, the 6’3” sleek-and-long ballplayer
                                                started off as a middle infielder, but soon found plenty of
                                                work as a power-hitting speedster with a cannon arm
                                                everywhere duty called. There was little, if anything, this man
                                                could not do on a baseball field. He pitched near the level of
                                                Satchel Paige, while hitting at a pace that only Josh Gibson
                                                could destroy. His versatility was exceptional and carried over
                                                to every league this man played in, which was in short,
                                                everywhere in the Western Hemisphere that baseball called
                                                home.
Martin Dihigo – 2B, SS, OF, 1B,
    3B, C, RHP, Manager
        His first season was 1923 playing for the Cuban Stars of Ed Bolden’s Eastern Colored League.
Before Dihigo reached his 21st birthday, he was the superstar of the league, leading or tying in home runs
and hitting a robust .421 and .370 in 1926 and 1927.82 As usual for these leagues, he was traded from the
Cuban Stars to Homestead Grays in the 1928 season. Getting only a season with the Grays, he was traded
again to Hilldale Daisies where he racked up a high .300 batting average.
        When his seasons in the United States were over, he went back to native Cuba to terrorize pitchers
in the 1920s with a .400+ batting average. Dihigo assaulted Cuban pitching over the course of 10 league
seasons, going nine times above a .300 BA.
        As he ‘aged’ to thirty, it appears pitching became a more fruitful hobby to take up consistently.
According to James Riley and the Negro League E-Museum website:
        “He remained primarily an everyday player until 1935-1936 with Santa Clara in the Cuban League.
        But once he made the transition to pitching, he had four consecutive seasons (1935-1939) of 11-2,
        14-10, 11-5, and 14-2. In the 1943-1944 winter season he was 8-1 with a 2.23 ERA. His control
        was good but not exceptional, nor was his strikeout ratio. His move to the mound was made when
        he was managing himself, winning consecutive Cuban championships in 1935-1936 with Santa
        Clara and with Marianao in 1936-1937. During the former season he had five base hits in the final
        game to overtake teammate Willie Wells for the batting title with a .358 average…
                 In 1937 he played in Santo Domingo with the Aquilas Cibaenas ballclub, where he was
        their leading hitter and ace pitcher. In a demonstration of both his versatility and ability, he
        finished near the top in both hitting and pitching, losing out to Satchel Paige in victories and to
        Josh Gibson in batting average. At the plate he tied for the league lead in home runs while
        finishing with a .351 batting average, third best in the league. On the mound his 6-4 record
        represented the second highest win total in the league and accounted for almost half of his team's
        victories in the 28-game season.”
        Dihigo was no stranger to major league ballplayers either. His talent was so well known that HOF
power hitter Johnny Mize stated other teams would walk Dihigo intentionally to get to him.83 He was also
well traveled, playing in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere
throughout Latin America. Undoubtedly, his play influenced fans in these locales to get their sons into the
game at an early age as his post-baseball appointment as the Minister of Sports by Fidel Castro strongly
suggests.

82
     http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Martin Dihigo. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
83
     http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Martin Dihigo. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
                                                                 114

            Dihigo died three days short of his 66th birthday in Cienfuegos, Cuba.84

                                        James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell (1903–1991): Is likely the fastest CF in
                                        baseball history with an incredulous clocking of 12 seconds around
                                        the bases.85 (Was once scheduled to race 1936 Olympic 100 and 200
                                        meter champion Jesse Owens in a match race.) James Bell is among
                                        the first players to switch hit solely to take greater advantage of his
                                        world-class speed from the left side, after starting out as solely right-
                                        hand hitter.
                                             Bell’s ancestry was born out of the Trail of Tears Cherokee Indian
                                        saga in the 1830s ordered by President Andrew Jackson, as Bell grew
                                        up in Starkville, Mississippi on a family farm.86

James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell
        CF- LHP

Bell started out as most do: on the sandlots and in the pickup games of youth. His teenage years saw him
work in St. Louis while improving his game to professional levels. Not surprisingly, his then strong lefty
arm, and wide array of pitches and releases led him first to duty off the mound.
         As the Negro Leagues took off in the early 1920s, a 19-year old Bell gained a reputation as
unflappable on the mound, winning games and striking out legends such as five-tool star Oscar
Charleston.87 Before he could make his name as a dominant pitcher (though he did, thanks to his St. Louis
Star manager Bill Gatewood), Cool Papa Bell was injured, converted to centerfield, and gained the truer
legacy that remains intact as the speedy, daring jitterbug of a leadoff man that defined much of the Negro
League style in many reflections. Bell was known to turn bunt singles into doubles; long singles into erred
triples; and madden catchers with his threats and feints to steal, only to easily swipe bases despite the
backstop’s best efforts.
         Cool Papa’s services were well used and well traveled throughout his career. Bell was the likely
table setter for three Negro League dynasties: the St. Louis Stars who won championships in the
depression-era of 1928, 1930, and 1931; the Hall of Fame laden Pittsburgh Crawfords teams, of l932-
1936, often called the best team ever in black baseball; and lastly, the Homestead Grays of 1943-1945 for
the backend of their nine consecutive championships.88 (See Appendix 9.2.) In the late 1930s, Bell took
his bat and speed south to Santo Domingo with Satchel Paige and hit .318 to help win the championship
for dictator Trujillo's team before moving to mainland Mexico and competing in the Mexican Leagues for
Tampico, Veracruz and Torreon.89 At 37, Bell won the Mexican League Triple Crown (.437, 12HR, 79RBI,
119 Runs, 28 SBs).90
         Without a doubt, Bell’s peskiness was evident in his consistently high batting and the stolen bases
racked up against his foes. For over twenty years (1922-1946), Bell’s batting averages were well above .300
plateau and his voting to every East-West All Star showcase he was eligible for, reflects the one-of-a-kind
talent and fan admiration Bell enjoyed.

84
     http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Martin Dihigo. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
85
     Numerous sources report this as a legitimate time. Willie Wilson was clocked at 13.3 seconds in modern times.
86
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
87
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
88
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
89
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
90
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
                                                              115

After the end of his baseball career he worked as a custodian and night security officer at the St. Louis City
Hall, retiring in 1970. Bell was honored for his long and distinguished baseball career by being inducted
into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. He passed away one month after his wife, Clara, died in
1991, due to heart attack.91

Ray Dandridge (1913– 1994): Inducted into the MLB
Hall of fame in 1987, third baseman-manager Ray
Dandridge of 1948 New York Cubans put on masterful
displays of fielding to go along with a solid contact bat.
Ray perfected the sidearm throw from his knees on
reaction plays that the hot corner provides all too often.
In starting out with the Detroit Stars in 1933, Ray soon
moved over to the Newark Eagles where he stayed for
much of his career in the United States as part of the
“Million Dollar infield” of Mule Suttles, Willie Wells, and
Dick Seay.
                                                                          Ray ‘Hooks’ Dandridge – 3B, SS, 2B

        He, like many of his contemporaries, went to Latin America for acceptance and money as he spent
nearly all of WWII playing in the Latin/Mexican Leagues as a HOF shortstop. Because of that penchant
for leaving the U.S., Effa Manley, owner of the Newark Eagles, threaten unsuccessfully to get his draft
status upgraded in 1945.92
        From BaseballLibrary.com: “Soon after Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Bill
Veeck contacted Dandridge about playing with the Cleveland Indians, but Dandridge refused to leave
Mexico without a bonus. Later, in 1949, at age thirty-five, he was signed by the New York Giants, and
assigned to their Triple-A farm club at Minneapolis. He batted .363 his first year there, and won the
league's MVP award in 1950, when he led Minneapolis [Millers] to the league championship. Despite his
achievements, the Giants did not immediately promote him to the parent club. (Their one opportunity:
Hank Thompson was injured via a spiking incident, but Dandridge was recovering from an
appendectomy.)
        While at Minneapolis, Dandridge provided advice and assistance to a young Willie Mays, who
never forgot the help, or the man. “Son, I played three games in one day. We made $35 a week and ate
hamburger. You’re gonna eat steak and you’re going to make a lot of money. You just keep it clean and be
a good boy.”93 Returning to Cooperstown for Dandridge's induction into the Hall of Fame (he was elected
by the Committee on Baseball Veterans in 1987), Mays stated, “Ray Dandridge helped me tremendously
when I came through Minneapolis. Sometimes you just can't overlook those things. Ray was a part of me
when I was coming along.”94
        When Dandridge was forty, he still hit .311. He was a smooth fielder, despite a bow legged stance
– with a least one wise crack being that a train could go between his legs, but a ground ball couldn’t. Due
to his age, and by extension, his race, Dandridge was kept from the Majors during the twilight of his
career. But Ray brought his experience to bear on the greatest centerfielder in the last 70 years in Mays.



91
   Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 20.
92
   Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 69.
93
   Hirsch James S. Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend. New York: Scribner; 2010. 72.
94
   www.BaseballLibrary.com. Ray Dandridge Biography. Unknown: The Idea Logical Company, Inc; 2002.
http://www.baseballlibrary.com. Last Accessed: July 12, 2006.
                                                                116

                                                                George ‘Mule’ Suttles (1901–1968): George
                                                                Suttles may have been the second greatest power
                                                                hitter in the Negro Leagues while playing an
                                                                average 1st sack. As James A. Riley tells us:

                                                                       “The prodigious home runs hit by the big
                                                                Louisiana native were powered by muscles
                                                                developed in the coal mines of Birmingham,
                                                                where Suttles played semi-pro ball on the mining
                                                                teams of the area. These teams formed the
                                                                nucleus for the Birmingham Black Barons in
                                                                later years, and Suttles’ older brother Charles was
                                                                also a good player but broke his leg in the mines
                                                                the same year that he was supposed to report to
                                                                the Negro National League.




              Mule Suttles – 1B & OF

         Suttles was more fortunate and began his professional career at age seventeen. He played twenty-
six years before bowing out as an active player, leaving behind a .338 lifetime average in league play. His
longevity may be attributed to his outlook on life, which he expressed, ‘Don't worry about the Mule going
blind, just load the wagon and give me the lines.’”95

         Even though he was swing-at-everything and strike-out-a-lot hitter96, Suttles was a patient, hitting
instructor, and frequently kept the mood light in onerous positions as were the times he played through. In
the East-West All Star games, Mule hit home runs off Martin Dihigo (among others) to secure victories
for the West. As a quote from the Pittsburgh Courier’s William Nunn included in Thom Loverro’s The
Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball reflects:
         “Suttles threw his mighty body in motion. His foot moved forward. His huge shoulder muscles
         bunched. Came a switch through the air, a crack as of a rifle, and a projectile hurled from a
         cannon, the ball started its meteoric flight. On a line it went. It was headed towards right center.
         [Cool Papa] Bell and [Josh] Gibson were away at the crack of the bat…That ball ticketed by Mule
         Suttles, CLEARED the distant fence in far away right center, landing 475 feet from home
         plate…”97
         In his barnstorming tours against MLB players saw him brutalize pitchers with hits and home runs
just the same, hitting 11 round trippers in 79 at-bats against those stars. In Havana, Cuba, Mule hit with his
estimated 40+ ounce bat a majestic home run that traveled nearly 200 yards (600 feet) to a where a plaque
resides to honor the feat.98
         George ‘Mule’ Suttles died of cancer in Newark, New Jersey in1968 and was inducted into the
HOF in 2006.

95
   http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Mule Suttles. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
96
   James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
188.
97
   Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 283.
98
   Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 283.
                                                                 117

                                                      Wilbur ‘Bullet Joe’ Rogan (1889–1967): Considered the
                                                      most versatile aside from Martin Dihigo, Bullet Joe could
                                                      bring five distinguishable pitches at a batter from a
                                                      sidearm/three-quarters arm slot: fastball, curve, forkball,
                                                      palmball, and spitter. Born in Oklahoma, his playing career
                                                      started in the pre-Negro League era (1908), but deterred him
                                                      very little as he played to nearly 50. Wilbur joined the Army
                                                      during WWI, serving his country for eight years while traveling
                                                      to the Philippines, Hawaii, and Arizona, and playing baseball
                                                      heavily during the armed forces hitch.99




       Joe Rogan – P/OF/Manager

        Soon after his military service was completed, Rogan became a star pitcher for the Kansas City
Monarchs from 1920-1938. (A young Casey Stengel, who recommended him to J.L Wilkinson, owner of
the Monarchs, scouted him out.) As an excellent fielding pitcher, true army veteran, and middle-of-the-
lineup hitter, Rogan managed the Monarchs by 1926 and much of their success happened under his watch.
(In 1926, he hit .583 in the playoffs while pitching both halves of the doubleheader against Willie Foster.
Unfortunately, Foster got the better of his Kansas City team.)
        James A. Riley reflects that various opinions existed on Bullet Joe, the manager: “A knowledgeable
manager, he provide capable leadership and continued as manager of the Monarchs during his twilight
years, until his retirement in 1938. During this time he was variously described as easygoing, jolly, quiet,
and gentlemanly by some observers, but characterized by others as arrogant, uncooperative, and
demanding of his players.”
        From baseball-reference.com: “His 52 complete games is the CWL record and he ranks second in
innings (516, trailing Satchel Paige and strikeouts (351, trailing Paige). He is 5th with 5 shutouts and third
with 42 wins (behind Paige and Chet Brewer). A Satchel Paige quote in the book, Blackball Stars: “Joe
Rogan was one of the world's greatest pitchers. ...He was a chunky little guy, but he could throw hard. He
could throw as hard as Smokey Joe Williams-yeah.”100
        Rogan played alongside Adolfo Luque, a Cuban pitcher that passed for white in the MLB Braves
and Reds organization for a period of twenty years, and Rogan was considered Luque’s superior in every
way, pitching and hitting. Luque finished his big league career with 193 wins versus 179 losses with 3.24
ERA.
        Joe Rogan died in Kansas City in 1967 and was inducted into the HOF in 1998.




99
     http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Joe Rogan. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
100
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Bullet_Rogan. Bull Joe Rogan Bio. Last Accessed: February 20, 2007.
                                                                118

John Henry ‘Pop’ Lloyd (1884–1965):
Often called the ‘Black Honus Wagner’,
Lloyd was alternately termed the best all-
around ballplayer in the first thirty years in
the 20th century, white, or otherwise.
Discovered playing on the sandlots in
Jacksonville, Florida in 1905 by Rube Foster
and Sol White (where Lloyd had grown up),
Lloyd made a long career playing on the pre-
Negro League teams of the Cuban-X Giants,
Philadelphia Giants, the Leland Giants, and
New York Lincoln Giants.101 Batting left and
throwing right, he dominated the field in
ways rarely seen.


                                                                    HOF Shortstop John Henry Lloyd
                                                                 with HOF Jimmy Foxx: The best of their
                                                                  respective generations at their positions.

         As James A. Riley reflects, “He was a complete ballplayer who could hit, run, field, throw, and hit
with power, especially in the clutch. A superior hitter and a dangerous base runner, his knowledge and
application of inside baseball as defined in the era allowed him to generate runs with a variety of skills. In
the field he was a superlative fielder who studied batters and positioned himself wisely, got a good jump on
the ball, and possessed exceptional range and sure hands with which he dug balls out of the dirt like a
shovel. Lloyd's play in the field earned him the nickname in Cuba of ‘El Cuchara,’ Spanish for ‘The
Tablespoon.’”102 For the next fifteen years, John Lloyd played for many teams (eight at least), the best
managers (Rube Foster) and compile a reputation of a winner, before the Negro Leagues were born. He
played well past forty, hitting .368 in Negro Leagues after age 36.103
         Off the field, Lloyd was a true cut-up with a clean living personality, who did not take to vices
(drink, smoke or swearing) as many black or white players did. He spent time in the Quartermaster office
in Chicago during WWI, and after baseball, worked in the post office as a custodian. ‘Pop’ Lloyd also
managed and coached various levels of baseball and served as Little League commissioner in Atlantic City,
becoming a favorite to many children and adults alike. Babe Ruth also considered Lloyd the best player he
had ever known. 104
         John Henry Lloyd was inducted into the HOF in 1977.




101
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of John Henry Lloyd. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
102
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of John Henry Lloyd. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
103
    James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
186.
104
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of John Henry Lloyd. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
                                                             119

Raleigh ‘Biz’ Mackey (1897–1965): Known for his rocket arm,
throwing sometimes ala Benito Santiago from a seated position (only
better) between innings, and with deadly accuracy, Mackey tutored
four HOF players in Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Roy Campanella, and
Don Newcombe while catching and managing of the Newark Eagles.

The switch-hitting Mackey was a very good hitter, with power from
both sides of the plate, as evidenced by a .423 batting average, 20
home runs, and a .698 slugging percentage for Hilldale Daisies in the
Eastern Colored League's inaugural season, 1923,105 as a 25-year old
shortstop. Mackey also shared the same birthplace as Smokey Joe
Williams: Seguin, Texas. (See Williams Bio.)
                                                                                       Biz Mackey – Catcher,
                                                                                        Shortstop, 3rd base,
                                                                                             Manager

        In was Mackey who first taught Roy Campanella (age 15 –16) a great deal about catching as a
member of the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1937. Raleigh played twenty seasons as primarily the best
defensive catcher in the league, from 1923 to 1942. He managed the Newark Eagles in 1946, taking his
double play combo of Larry Doby and Monte Irvin to Newark’s only World Series title, while usually
conflicting with his owner, namely Effa Manley. Newark, that year, was led on the bump by legends HOF
Leon Day, Max Manning, and Rufus Lewis.106
        Mackey had extraordinary gifts, as evidenced by this quote:
        “Although he was barely literate, Mackey was intelligent, had a good baseball mind, and employed
        a studious approach to the game. The ballpark was his classroom, and inside baseball was his
        subject of expertise. He relied on meticulous observation and a retentive memory to match
        weaknesses of opposing hitters with the strengths of his pitching staff. An expert handler of
        pitchers, he also studied people and could direct the temperaments of his hurlers as well as he did
        their repertoires.
                 He was also a jokester, and utilized good-natured banter and irrelevant conversation to try
        to distract a hitter and break his concentration at the plate, and was a master at "stealing" strikes
        from umpires by framing and funneling pitches. Pitchers recognized his generalship and liked to
        pitch to the big, husky receiver who, for his size, was surprisingly agile behind the plate. This
        unexpected quickness, coupled with soft hands, enabled the versatile athlete to play often at
        shortstop, third base, or in the outfield, and although lacking noteworthy range, he proved adept at
        any position. He was also a smart base runner and, although not fast, pilfered his share of bases.”107

       After a long career, spanning nearly the entire Negro League era, Biz Mackey worked as a forklift
operator. Mackey was finally lifted up to the Hall in 2006.




105
   www.blackbaseball.com. Biz Mackey Biography. TK Publishers: Atlanta, GA; 2006. Last Accessed: January 2007.
106
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 121-
122.
107
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Biz Mackey. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
                                                             120

                                  Hilton Smith (1912–1983): Another Texan, a dominating pitching
                                  option in Negro Leagues, Hilton Lee Smith was as quiet as Satchel
                                  Paige was boastful. Because of that, his accomplishments were always
                                  contrasted with his later teammate, though by comparison Smith was
                                  as well-rounded, and polished, as Paige was rough-and-ready.
                                  Discovered as a Prairie View A&M prodigy at nineteen after several
                                  years of college ball, Smith was signed by the Austin Senators, an
                                  independent semi-pro team, to match the usually powerful Chicago
                                  American Giants.



Hilton Smith – RHP-
OF-1B

Before long Hilton was traveling south of the border to face Mexican league competition while showing
off his unusual stuff, and hitting rather well. Smith had a very special fast curve to go with sinker, slider,
screwball, change and excellent gas, all commanded and thrown from different arm slots. As a 6’2” lanky
pitcher, he must have intimidated with his ability to get any pitch over the plate. All the while, Hilton was
quiet but confident as he went from pro team to pro team, much like others of his day were prone (and
nearly required) to do. He also had a solid bat, able to provide offense (batting cleanup in a Wichita,
Kansas semi-pro tournament) when other teammates were too hung over.108 (His North Dakota-based
teammates: Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, Chet Brewer, and Satchel Paige.)
         Smart is but one adjective used to describe Hilton Smith as he went on to various teams, winning
consistently and always performing in the shadows of other greats. He was known for picking off runners
by upsetting runner’s timing through prolonged waits to home. Smith’s Negro League record of (161-32,
.834) from 1937-1948 is among the best recorded in the era, white or black.
         He was inducted into Cooperstown in 2001, 18 years after his death in Kansas City.

Oscar Charleston (1896–1954): Born in Indianapolis,
Charleston was Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Babe Ruth rolled
into one. As a left-handed power hitter, with speed aplenty, an
accurate arm, and smarts in the OF, he oozed great ability and
volatile emotions. (Three Cobb-like incidents: beating up an
umpire, removing the hood of a KKK member, and a total
disregard on the base paths, spikes elevated on every slide.)109
He served in the U.S. Army (24th infantry team) and was
stationed in Manila, Philippines during the war’s beginning. As
the best center fielder before (or after) Cool Papa, he ran track
with a 23-second timing in the 220-yard dash. In 1921, as a
member of the St. Louis Giants, he led the NNL in hitting
(.446), 1st in triples (10), 1st in total bases (137), 1st in slugging
(.774) and 1st in steals (28.)110
                                                                                    Oscar Charleston – OF


108
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 162.
109
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 133.
110
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 133.
                                                                121

For the decade, he hit over .400 in league play, likely was the leagues’ premier clutch hitter and often was
referred to in the black sports press as “The Hoosier Comet.”


                                                                As a manager, Charleston was as unstable as he
                                                                was as the player, never really retiring from the
                                                                game. He took over as player-manager of the
                                                                Crawfords in 1931, staying with the Greenlee’s
                                                                powerhouse until they folded in 1938. Later,
                                                                Oscar managed the Indianapolis Clowns,
                                                                utilizing King Tut as his pitcher. Oscar Charleston
                                                                is considered by many experts to be in the same
                                                                class as Willie Mays as an all-around player, and
                                                                possibly even better.

                                                                Charleston passed away in 1954 in Philadelphia
                                                                (heart attack) and was enshrined in 1976.


King Tut, manager Oscar Charleston, and
Connie Morgan of the Indianapolis Clowns.

                                                 Buck Leonard (1907 –1997): Growing up in North Carolina,
                                                 Walter Fenner “Buck” Leonard barely knew a childhood
                                                 before being required to work for his family’s survival, after his
                                                 father’s death from influenza. With his 8th grade graduation at
                                                 thirteen, Buck Leonard quit school and started sewing hosiery,
                                                 shining shoes before advancing through various jobs as a
                                                 porter, messenger and railroad mechanic at Atlantic Coast Line
                                                 Railroad over the next decade.111 Leonard took charge of his
                                                 family’s finances and fortunes and enjoyed baseball as a
                                                 diversion throughout the 1920s, but little desire to expand his
                                                 exploits beyond the sandlots.




Buck Leonard – 1B, OF, Manager

         Quiet, thoughtful, but firm, “Bucky”112 was a role model for his five siblings and wanted college
for his younger brother, Charlie, even though they both tried professional baseball by 1933. After a decade
as a railroad mechanic, Buck was laid off. Buck’s exploits in baseball were all ready known in the area,
leading to an offer to play for money. After various stints on semi-pro teams in 1933, Leonard was


111
    Snyder Brad. Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball.
Chicago: Contemporary Books; 2003. 16.
112
    Snyder Brad. Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball.
Chicago: Contemporary Books; 2003. 17.
                                                             122

directed to retired pitching legend-turned-bartender Smokey Joe Williams who suggested the Homestead
Grays as the solution to bouncing around from team to team.113
         Very soon into the 1934 season, and after an initial rebuff by Cum Posey, Leonard was praised for
his left-hand power and solid fielding. Considered the ‘Lou Gehrig of the Negro leagues’, Leonard played
with Josh Gibson for 9 seasons, batting 3rd or 4th in the lineup of the Grays. As a highly paid player just
behind Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, which was likely only around $300/month, Buck Leonard traveled
coast to coast, but soon kept his brother Charlie, who he felt had other skills, from playing professional
baseball. This after Charlie had made it to the Newark Eagles in 1936. Yet in retrospect, Charlie Leonard
was not done a disservice as he became a teacher, employment specialist and community leader.114
         In 1937, Josh Gibson came back from his stint as a Pittsburgh Crawford and the nucleus of the
batting order of nine consecutive champions was cemented.
         Buck was class personified; he brought an eager, respectable and business-like approach to the 1st
sack position. He had no equal during the late 1930s and early 1940s as he played in more All-Star games
and racked up records for homers, RBIs and total bases in the East-West classics. Leonard hit well over
.300 for his career and consistently hit home runs into his late 40’s, as his 13 home runs in 62 games in a
Central Mexican League in 1955 confirms.115

Roy Campanella (1921-1993): As the 1st Negro Catcher in MLB,
he redefined his position immediately as a powerful bat and a
steadying influence on the Dodger pitching staff. “Campy” was
almost the polar opposite of Jackie Robinson, a friendly, non-
confrontational man even during the toughest of situations,
whereas, Jackie was harden to win at all costs on the field. Roy
“Poochinella”116 Campanella hone his catching skills from Biz
Mackey, and his immediate stardom in the National League
reflected the lack of skill that was available at that crucial position
in all of baseball.




He began his playing career as a 15-year pupil for the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1937. He would, like so
many others, go to Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico to play baseball in the 1940s, always reflecting well on
his ability. While growing into an immensely talented hitter in the Negro Leagues, it was his destiny to
become a Brooklyn Dodger, and join Jackie Robinson and pitching great Don Newcombe in making the
Dodgers into a perennial contender for the NL Pennant and yearly opponent of the Yankees. But as early
as 1938, Roy was slated for a different team, as James Riley writes for the Negro Leagues Baseball
Museum: “As a high-school student he was invited by the Philadelphia Phillies to work out at Shibe Park,
but when he arrived and they discovered he was black, the offer was rescinded.”117
         At 27, Campanella reached the Majors and hit a modest .258 in his first season, after winning the
MVP of the Eastern League (Montreal Royals, Jackie’s first team) in 1946 and 1947. During the next 9
seasons, Roy slugged .513 with a .359 OBP for the Dodgers, averaging 26 home runs in 453 at bats.

113
    Snyder Brad. Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball.
Chicago: Contemporary Books; 2003. 28.
114
    Snyder Brad. Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball.
Chicago: Contemporary Books; 2003. 47-48.
115
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 150.
116
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Roy Campanella. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
117
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of Roy Campanella. Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
                                                               123

          During the early fifties, Campanella toured after the season with the Jackie Robinson All-Stars, who
played against Syd Pollock’s Indianapolis Clowns, a great all-black touring team that had Hank Aaron as a
filler after playing in Eau Claire for the Braves. As one quote reflects Campy’s crowd analysis: “Campy
could walk into a field and take one look and tell you within 50 how many people were there.”118
          In those same times, Campanella won 3 NL MVPs and took the Brooklyn team to their only
World Series title, hitting 32 home runs and batting .318 and driving home 107 runs in 1955. Great as that
was, Campanella was cut down in a freak car accident on a snowy night, left paralyzed from the waist
down. Campanella was likely the most dangerous MLB catcher of the 1950s, with only the post seasons of
catcher Yogi Berra (HOF 1972) in Campy’s class (HOF 1969.)
          Campanella died in Woodland Hills, California on June 26, 1993 at age 71.


                                      John Donaldson (1892–1970): From every account, Donaldson
                                      was a total class act as a player no matter where he took the mound.
                                      A 5’11” lean lefty, with a powerful arm and a snapdragon curve,
                                      Donaldson was born in Glasgow, Missouri on February 20, 1892.
                                      His barnstorming career started in 1911 and lasted well into middle
                                      of the Great Depression. Most of his best work was done prior to
                                      the formation of Foster’s Negro National League, but he did play
                                      center field for original Kansas City Monarchs that was formed by
                                      J.L. Wilkinson in 1920 through 1922.119


      John Donaldson –
          LHP/CF
He was a well-known commodity on the barnstorming tours, pitching against all comers, including
disgraced 1919 Chicago White Sox shortstop Charles Risberg in 1925. 120 As with all Negro League and
pre-Negro League stars, Donaldson was well traveled from Los Angeles to Brooklyn from Detroit to
Chicago. From researcher’s accounts, namely Pete Gorton121, Donaldson amassed the following impressive
statistics:
  • 235-84 W-L, (.737) Winning %                   • Completed 296 of 322 starts (92%)
  • 3,832 strikeouts (with another 193 K’s not     • 22 one-hitters, six no-hitters and a perfect
       verified by actual box scores)                  game
  • 1.37 ERA and 86 shutouts                       • .334 BA in over 1,800 at bats

        Donaldson’s skills caught the eye of John McGraw (once again) who likely made these two
statements: “I think he is the greatest I ever have seen, and I would give $50,000 for him if it weren't for
the color line in baseball,” and “If I could dunk him in calamine lotion, I'd sign him.” McGraw’s penchant
for seeking talent – going back to Cherokee Charlie Grant – was truly unabashed, but unfortunately, did
not lead him to act too strongly.
        After his playing days were over, he worked at the U.S. postal service in the 1930s, and coached
Satchel Paige for a while. After Jackie Robinson broke into the bigs, Donaldson was hired as the first
118
    Pollock Alan, Riley James. Barnstorming to Heaven: Syd Pollock and His Great Black Teams. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama;
2006. 267-268.
119
    http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/John_Donaldson - Biography of John Donaldson. Last Accessed: February 25, 2007.
120
    Hoffbeck Steven, Editor. [Book Review Excerpt] Swinging For The Fences: A History of Black Baseball in Minnesota. Unknown:
MHS PRESS; 2005. Unknown. Last Accessed: February 25, 2007.
121
    http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/John_Donaldson - Biography of John Donaldson. Last Accessed: February 25, 2007.
                                                             124

African American scout by the Chicago White Sox in 1949. His playing ability was also honored by a 1952
Pittsburgh Courier poll, voting by former Negro leagues players putting him as the first-team left-handed
pitcher. Donaldson passed away while still residing in Chicago, and was buried in Burr Oak Cemetery in
Alsip, Illinois. 122

Judy Johnson (1899-1989): Considered among the
smartest and clutch players of his day, Judy Johnson
was a wiry ballplayer, weighing in at under 150
pounds at 5’11” tall. His value as a ballplayer was
measured by his slick fielding (akin to Brooks
Robinson123) and great arm at 3B. As a teenager, he
grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, playing baseball
for his dad’s local team before taking a job at the
New Jersey docks during the later phases of WWI.
Even as a line drive hitter, his game-winning home
run in the 1st Negro League World Series in 1924
kept the Hilldale Daisies close, eventually losing the
nine-game set to the Monarchs.



                                                                      William ‘Judy’ Johnson
                                                                         - 3B & MLB Scout
        As one famous teammate on the Pittsburgh Crawfords, OF Ted Page, crowed about Johnson’s
third sack skill: “Judy Johnson was the smartest third baseman I ever came across. A scientific ball player,
he did everything with grace and poise. You talk about playing third base? Heck, he was better than
anybody I saw. And I saw Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, and even Pie Traynor. He had a powerful,
accurate arm. He could do anything, come in for a ball, cut if off at the line, or range way over toward the
shortstop hole. He was really something.”124
        As sure-handed as he was, Johnson was a silent ballplayer who was a consummate professional. He
knew his job and did it well. In 1952, the Pittsburgh Courier named him the 2nd best 3rd basemen behind
Oliver Marcelle, who played a similarly stingy 3rd base in that 1st Negro League World Series.
        After his playing career, Johnson worked for the Milwaukee Braves as a scout in the vein of Buck
O’Neil, bringing speedster Bill Bruton to the big leagues and into his own family.
        He was inducted into Baseball’s HOF in 1975 and lived to be 89 years old, passing away in
Wilmington, Delaware.




122
    http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/John_Donaldson - Biography of John Donaldson. Last Accessed: February 25, 2007.
123
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 147.
124
    Negro League Baseball Players Association. Biography of William Judy Johnson. Unknown: www.nlbpa.com; March 2007. Last
Accessed: March 2007.
                                                               125

‘Smokey Joe’ Williams (1885-1946): Considered by many Negro
League players and historians the fastest pitcher of all-time, the rangy
righthander (6’4”+, 190-200 lbs.) cut his teeth in Texas, in the pre-Negro
Leagues. His speed, longevity and origins were most similar to Nolan
Ryan’s. He was born in Seguin, Texas, and first made his presence felt in
Texas as a star hurler, pitching for the San Antonio Black Broncos from
1907-1909.
    Before long, he was testing out his overpowering stuff against the
best Negro teams (led by Rube Foster) and defeating them in
overwhelming fashion. As a result of his mastery, Williams was signed to
pitch for Frank Leland’s Chicago Giants in 1910, Rube’s team. After only
a season, he moved over to the New York Lincoln Giants were he stayed
for the next decade. In his head-to-head match ups against premier MLB
pitchers such as Grover Cleveland Alexander, Waite Hoyt, Chief Bender
and Walter Johnson, he won 20 out of 27 games.125


                                                                                              Joseph ‘Smokey Joe’
                                                                                              Williams –RHP, OF,
                                                                                                  1B, Manager

Baseballlibrary.com asserts this record as 22-7-1 and adds more to the story:
          “In exhibition games against major leaguers, Williams compiled a 22-7-1 record with 12 shutouts.
         Two of the losses came when he was 45 years old; two others were in 1-0 games. In 1912 he shut
         out the National League champion New York Giants 6-0. In 1915 he struck out 10 while hurling a
         1-0 three-hit shutout over Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Phillies. In a 1917
         exhibition, he no-hit the Giants and struck out 20, but lost 1-0 on an error. Though no box score
         has been found to confirm this game, it is firmly rooted in oral history. Legend has it that it was
         after this game that Giants Hall of Famer Ross Youngs tagged Williams with the name ‘Smokey
         Joe.’ Ty Cobb, never a trusted friend to any player, black or white, said Williams was a ‘sure 30-
         game winner’ if he had played in the majors. Williams threw approximately 40 no-hitters, some
         against semi-pro competition, recording his last gem in 1928 at forty-two.”126
         As he aged, and lost overpowering stuff, Williams substituted power for impeccable control and
guile on the mound. Pitching into to his late 40’s with above .500 success.
         Some confusion exists over William’s death as this quote reflects, “The Clowns opened their 1950
season May 7 with a doubleheader against the New York Cubans at the Polo Grounds attended by all-time
great pitcher Smokey Joe Williams, then 64 years old. The games were played in his honor…Smokey Joe
spent a good part of May 7, 1950, in the Clowns dugout, and Dad [Syd Pollock] introduced us, but then, as
close to him as I wanted to get, I could get no nearer than the far side of five or six players…soaking up
his thoughts and black baseball lore.”127 According to various sources, Smokey Joe Williams passed away
on March 12, 1946 in New York City, some four years before this event occurred. But Joseph ‘Smokey
Joe’ Williams exploits over a quarter-century of pitching are established as those of a legend. In 1952, the
Pittsburgh Courier poll named him the best pitcher of all-time, one vote ahead of Satchel Paige. He received
induction in the HOF in 1999.

125
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 166.
126
    www.BaseballLibrary.com. Website. The Idea Logical Company, Inc; 2002. http://www.baseballlibrary.com: July 12, 2006.
127
    Pollock Alan, Riley James. Barnstorming to Heaven: Syd Pollock and His Great Black Teams. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama;
2006. 178-179.
                                                             126

José Mendez Baez (1887-1928): Of Cuban
nationality and descent, Mendez was another
extremely hard thrower that also brought a Doc
Gooden-like curve ball to bear on his opponents.
      After growing up in Cuba, he played first in
Havana for the top Cuban national team in 1903. His
first U.S. experience came five years later, playing for
Brooklyn Royal Giants (1908.)128 For 1909 Cuban
Stars, he went 44-2 (some games were played against
semi-pro teams). He spent all of 1910 in Cuba, playing
both summer and winter, going 18-2. By 1914, at 31,
he had compiled a 62-17 record in Cuba, but he
developed arm trouble and never again pitched there
regularly.129

                                                           Engraving of José Mendez Baez (1930)
                                                          – Pitcher, Manager of 1st Negro League
                                                              World Series Winner, Kansas City
                                                                           Monarchs
        During this time frame, 1908-1915, pitching against John McGraw's New York Giants, fortified
with some Dodgers added to the roster, Mendez defeated both Christy Mathewson (4-3 in 10 innings) and
Nap Rucker (2-1) over a three-day span, with only a day of rest between games. McGraw proclaimed
Mendez to be "sort of Walter Johnson and Grover Alexander rolled into one" and, appraising his value to
a club to be worth $30,000 a year if he were white, would have welcomed his presence on the Giants'
pitching staff alongside Mathewson.130 Mendez also played for the All-Nations of Kansas City, a group that
provided musical entertainment along with exciting baseball. Mendez played the cornet in the band.131
        Mendez was the series-deciding pitcher/manager of the Monarchs in the 1st modern Negro League
World Series. Pitching the 9th game, he won against Script Lee of the Hilldale Daises, going the distance
with the final out made by SS Raleigh ‘Biz’ Mackey. At this point in his pitching career, Mendez rarely took
the mound, and was in fact, recovering from a recent surgery.132 In the following season, the Monarchs
were back, but lost the 1925 Series against the same Hilldale Daisies.
        Mendez died from bronchopneumonia on Halloween 1928, in Havana, Cuba, at forty-one, barely
two years after his last game with the Monarchs. In 1939, he was in the first group of players elected to the
Cuban Hall of Fame. In 2006, Mendez was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.133




128
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of José Mendez . Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
129
    www.BaseballLibrary.com. Website. The Idea Logical Company, Inc; 2002. http://www.baseballlibrary.com July 12, 2006.
130
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of José Mendez . Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
131
    Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003.203.
132
    McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD; 2003. 107-
110.
133
    http://www.nlbemuseum.com/history/players.html - Biography of José Mendez . Last Accessed: February 10,2007.
                                                                127

                                 Other Players & Owners of Noteworthiness




Frank Leland – Owner and Manager of
the Chicago’s Leland Giants of the turn                Abe & Effa Manley – Owners of the Newark Eagles
of the 20th century. He also member of                 during the heyday of the Negro Leagues in the early
the Cook County Board of                               1940s. They suffered financially after the 1946 Negro
Commissioners.134                                      League World Series and sold the team after 1948.135




  Minnie Minoso – The Havana-born
 Minoso along with the longest name in                  Pitcher Don Newcombe – Spent one year playing for
     baseball history, he played in five                 Manley’s Eagles, before going to the big time. He was
different decades in the Majors, amassing                  the NL MVP & CY Young Winner in 1956, but
  a .298 BA, 186 HRs, 205 stolen bases,                  Newcombe also hit .359 with 7 home runs in 1955. In
  and plenty of hits batsmen in 6,579 at                1962, Newcombe and Doby were the first to play in the
 bats. Between the gaps in his career, he               Negro Leagues, Majors and Japanese Leagues. Both are
   played ball in the minors and Cuba.                          inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.




134
      Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 175.
135
  McNary Kyle. Black Baseball: A History of African-Americans & the National Game. London: PRC Publishing LTD;
2003. 124.
                                                       128




OF Cristobel Torriente – Powerful bat and top
flight skills in the outfield. The Latin Babe Ruth –   Right Hand Pitcher Leon Day – Considered
could have starred in the Majors, if only for his      comparable to Hilton Smith; could muster a
hair. Died in New York while in his 30s of             mean bat while playing outfield.
cirrhosis due to alcohol intake.




2B Piper Davis – A top player in his hey day,          Pitcher/ 3rd Baseman Wilmer Fields – Along
managed and scouted out a young Willie Mays.            with Day, was a killer with the bat and his arm.
                                                       At 26, pitched in last Negro League World Series
                                                        against Willie Mays and the Birmingham Black
                                                                             Barons.
                                                   129




 CF Larry Doby – Played 2nd base with Monte            CF Sam Jethroe – Tried out with Jackie
  Irvin at Shortstop for the Newark Eagles in       Robinson and Marvin Williams for the Red Sox
1946. Is among a select group that played in and     in 1945. Jackie got the real shot in Brooklyn.
 won a Negro League World Series and Major         Sam led the National League in Stolen Bases (35,
     League title. It took him only 3 years.         twice) and score 201 runs in 1950-51 for the
                                                                    Boston Braves.




 Before he became the All-time Home Run king,
   Henry Louis “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron
   played for the Birmingham Black Bears and
Indianapolis Clowns for $200 per month, batting
 cross-handed. He drove the record breaker off       Ernie Banks, HOF SS: Before he was “Mr.
  Al Downing, fellow African-American, while       Cub” he was a Sheepherder from San Antonio in
   HOF announcer Vin Scully silently watched       1949. A year later, he was Kansas City Monarch,
  Henry circle the bases in glory. After 33 years,    making an impression on Buck O’Neil that
   Barry Bonds broke his record of 755 Home           brought him to Chicago with fellow Negro
       Runs, but not with the same feelings         League George Altman. Banks set the standard
 surrounding the accomplishment. Now: Works           as a power-hitting shortstop, amassing 277
    in the commissioner’s offices of MLB to         before moving to 1st base. Now: A mainstay at
   promote the welfare of the game. (Picture:       Wrigley Field. (Courtesy of Scott R. Anselmo)
                 Public Domain)
                                                             130

Table 2.4.4. Defining Players MLB Statistics & Notes
       Name        AB       Hits    Runs     HR    RBI     BA GS Wins     IP                      Notes
Hank Aaron         12,364   3,771    2,174   755   2,297   0.305                  Buddy Downs & Indianapolis Clowns
Ernie Banks         9,421   2,583    1,305   512   1,636   0.274                     A-Rod type power in the 1950s
Roy Campanella      4,205   1,161      627   242     856   0.276                        Biz Mackey, 3-time MVP
Larry Doby          5,348   1,515      960   253     970   0.283                          1948 WS Home Run
Mike Gonzalez       2,829     717      283    13     263   0.253                       Cuban Catcher 1910-1920s
Elston Howard       5,363   1,471      619   167     762   0.274                     Yankees 1st African American
Monte Irvin         2,499     731      366    99     443   0.293                           Willie Mays in 1954
Dolf Luque          1,043     237       96     5      90   0.227 365 194 3220.3   Pride of Havana Pitcher in the 1920s
Willie Mays        10,881   3,283    2,062   660   1,903   0.302                    Leo Durocher’s patience helped
Minnie Minoso       6,579   1,963    1,136   186   1,023   0.298                            Could not retire
Don Newcombe        1,006     275      106    16     119   0.273 337 162 2459.0             In Japan in 1962
Satchel Paige         124      12        2     0       4   0.097 26   28 476.0             Minnie as a pitcher
Jackie Robinson     4,877   1,518      947   137     734   0.311                           Originator of it all



Negro League vs. The Players
The best players could always jump ship, if league financials went south, as was often the case made by
Satchel Paige. (Famous for his 1937 departure with eight other Pittsburgh Crawfords, including
Centerfielder great James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell, to participate in the Dominican Republic for
President/Dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina.) In his defense, Paige’s ability to pitch was in high
demand in the United States and on foreign soils. And other players routinely went where the money was,
because contracts were very rarely written, and often less enforceable, while conditions were considerably
better outside the United States. Again, Satchel Paige proffered much of his own discontent was due to
financial shortfalls and second-rate treatment while many white ballplayers he played against (and saw too
often) were given excellent accommodations. Outside the United States, black ballplayers just received
first-class digs and respect not seen stateside. (Another minor reason: Josh Gibson was later sued by his
owner, Effa Manley, for skipping out on a season. Owners wanted loyalty in response to disloyal dealings.)


                  A 1937 Summer Vacation? : Satchel meets his Matchel in Trujillo
        In Shades of Glory by Professor Lawrence Hogan, the 1937 Dominican Republic tour becomes a
vivid picture. The Dominican Republican had been under the jackboot of Trujillo for seven years. He
renamed most of the island in his honor and persuasively urged people to place plaques in their homes
that read in Spanish: “In this house, Trujillo is the chief.” So it was of little surprise that when a San Pedro
de Macoris team won the island championship, upstaging Trujillo’s monopoly of what was considered
“best”, that Rafael Trujillo went to work.
        He “captured” the best of the Negro League stars to go along with a combined team he had put
together in the banana dictatorship. Satchel Paige flew in on a Pan American biplane, chasing more pesos
and good times, thanks to the megalomaniac’s emissaries in New Orleans. Others, from the states and
beyond, had made their way to island: Josh Gibson, Luis Tiant, Sr., Martin Dihigo, Sam Bankhead, Chet
Brewer, Perucho Cepeda (father of Orlando Cepada) and Tetalo Vergas all played in this multi-team
tournament with only one acceptable winner.
        Los Dragones de Cuidad Trujillo had Paige, Bankhead and Gibson to obtain wins. But the dictator had
ways to assure Paige remained compliant, as fellow Negro Leaguer pitcher Chet Brewer reminiscences: “I
went looking around for Paige one early evening for a beer, and couldn’t find him anywhere. A young boy
I came across told me he was ‘en la cárcel’ (in jail). Trujillo had put them in the night before they were
                                                               131

going to play us so they wouldn’t rouse around.” Paige closed out the tournament against Brewer’s team,
the Aguilas, in stopping a comeback in its tracks at 8-6 in the ninth.136
        Lucky for Paige, the armed guards, night in jail, and softly whispered threats had encouraged him
to bee ball his way out of this Jamaican island jam.


Negro League All-Stars
When older people think of the greatest Negro League stars, most can envision them playing at their best
in a mid-summer classic called the East-West All Star game. Started by owner/promoter Gus Greenlee
(and Roy Sparrow) in the Depression as a way to showcase the best players via the popular votes cast in
newspapers such as the Chicago Defender, Kansas City Call, Pittsburgh Courier and Philadelphia Tribune, the game
became among the most attended in all of professional baseball.
         The heyday of this classic was in the mid-1940s when more than 40,000 came out to Comiskey
Park to view the very best players a nation at war had left to showcase. It became likely the best way white
America heard or saw this talent level first hand as the game was not just for exhibition, but a real
competition amongst the very best. (A guy like Pete Rose would fit well in this mix, after his all-star game
take out of Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse.)
         In such an era, promoting the game, arranging for a playing field and advancing money for travel
for players and umpires, was difficult for all but the richest magnates of the major leagues. But the Negro
Leagues found the resources for a $5,000 plus, one-game park fee and made minimal profits (less than
$400 per owner) for abridging their ‘normal schedule.’137 ($5,000 is likely a $60-70,000 investment in 2008
dollars.)
         The key was the inclusion of the fans in the voting mechanism that could decide on whom they
wanted to see most. Also, the usage of Comiskey Park, long-time haven for the best of the best the Negro
Leagues had, going back to Rube Foster’s influence, was smart marketing and locating. The newspapers
keyed again the promotion as they were also under the constraints of economic circumstances beyond
their control. John L. Clark of the Pittsburgh Courier though noted that critics from “the fourth estate”
existed, no matter how well, or well-designed the East-West classic was in its intent: to provide
entertainment, remove some of the sting of hard times, and make a profit for all parties involved.
         While famous moments in the MLB all-star games history are not unusual - such as when Carl
Hubbell struck out Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, and Cronin; Ted Williams hitting the ‘efus’ pitch deep;
Reggie Jackson going completely out of Tiger Stadium; or John Kruk losing his composure and will to
tackle a purposefully wild Randy Johnson 98-MPH fastball – the Negro League games were also filled with
exciting action and exploits, now all but forgotten. (Larry Lester’s Black’s Baseball National Showcase: The
East-West All-Star Game, 1933-1953 provides excellent access to game recounts and fourth estate quips and
quibbles.)
         One example: In the 1935 East-West classic, after a 4-4 tie headed into the 10th, both sides scored
four times to send it into the 11th inning. In the bottom of the 11th, Josh Gibson stood ready to untie the
game with a runner on second, having all ready pounded out 4 hits. But he was walked by Martin Dihigo
to face Mule Suttles. Suttles promptly made Dihigo pay, as the Mule kicked, and the East won 11-8.138




136
    Hogan Lawrence D. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball. Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic; 2006. 297-301.
137
    Lester Larry. Black’s Baseball National Showcase: The East-West All-Star Game, 1933-1953. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska
Press; 2001. 50.
138
    Riley James A. The Negro Leagues. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers; 1997. 62.
                                                      132

Table 2.4.5. All Star Game Results & Attendance (Black Baseball’s National Showcase, Lester, 401)
Year    Location   West East         W. Pitcher             L. Pitcher       Attendance
1933   Comiskey     11      7         Willie Foster        Sam Streeter         19,568
1934   Comiskey     0       1         Satchel Paige        Willie Foster        30,000
1935   Comiskey     11      8      Sug Cornelius          Martin Dihigo         25,000
1936   Comiskey     2      10      Leroy Matlock          Sug Cornelius         26,400
1937   Comiskey     2       7      Barney Morris           Hilton Smith         25,000
1938   Comiskey     5       4          Hilton Smith       Edsall Walker         30,000
1939   Comiskey     4       2          Ted Radcliffe       Roy Bartlow          40,000
1939   Yankee       2      10         Bill Byrd           Smoky Owens           20,000
1940   Comiskey     0      11     Henry McHenry           Gene Bremer           25,000
1941   Comiskey     3       8     Terris McDuffie          Hilton Smith         50,256
1942   Comiskey     2       5          Leon Day            Satchel Paige        45,179
1942   Cleveland    2       9       Gene Smith            Gene Bremer           10,791
1943   Comiskey     2       1      Satchel Paige          Dave Barnhill         51,723
1944   Comiskey     7       4      Gentry Jessup        Carrenza Howard         46,247
1945   Comiskey     9       6      Verdell Mathis          Tom Glover           33,088
1946   Griffith     4       1         Bill Byrd           Vibert Clarke         16,268
1946   Comiskey     3       5     Dan Bankhead               Bill Byrd          45,474
1947   Comiskey     5       2     Dan Bankhead            Max Manning           48,112
1947   Yankee       8       2       Ford Smith             Rufus Lewis          38,402
1948   Comiskey     3       0        Bill Powell           Rufus Lewis          42,099
1948   Yankee       1       6      Max Manning            Vibert Clarke         17,928
1949   Comiskey     0       4       Bob Griffith        Gene Richardson         31,097
1950   Comiskey     5       3     Connie Johnson            Raul Galata         24,614
1951   Comiskey     1       3       Kelly Searcy          Vibert Clarke         21,312
1952   Comiskey     7       3       Dick Phillips     Groundhog Thompson        18,279
1953   Comiskey     5       1      Buddy Woods             Willy Gaines         10,000
       Avg. Runs   4.00   4.73                       Average Attendance         30,455



Barnstorming with The Dean
The supplementing of income by either race was a constant necessity. Very few professionals made
enough; required to find other avenues of income in order to be an upper-tier wage earner. Even at that,
the highest paid athletes were never known for financial management strategies, or understanding their
nova-like rise was to be soon followed by a steep decline into a common-man functionality. As a product
of that, most players relied on their skills as ballplayers year round, and joined up their economic plights to
put a few dollars in the pocket, and enjoyed the aspects of road together. (And sins thereof.)
         Coast to coast these men plied a living via exhibitions, taking on semi-pro teams, doing tourneys in
North Dakota, Kansas and Colorado, and anywhere else it was hospitable enough to perform. (And
avoiding league constraints; and scheduled championships; causing turmoil in the operation above and
beyond what was allowed in Major Leagues. Commissioners in the Negro Leagues were short-lived, and
nearly always at the mercy of whatever the owners did, and did not agree on, especially disciplining
players.)
                                                                 133

                                                                                                   As wild and wily as Satchel
                                                                                                   Paige, Jay Hanna “Dizzy”
                                                                                                   Dean was to be fortuitously
                                                                                                   connected to the man of the
                                                                                                   bee ball. Both were fun-
                                                                                                   loving; materially-minded;
                                                                                                   and had out-of-sight
                                                                                                   dynamic stuff on the mound
                                                                                                   in their early years. Dean, for
                                                                                                   his part, is the second to last
                                                                                                   pitcher to win 30 games. But
                                                                                                   very early on, Dizzy was just
                                                                                                   another cocky hayseed from
                                                                                                   Hicksville, who was also
                                                                                                   prone to acquire that which
                                                                                                   did not belong to him.139



Dizzy: “I don’t think there’s a sum bitch that can hit us today.”
Satchel: “Why do we need fielders? I need to skate this party early – got me
a gig in the Dominican…”
Dizzy: “I might be in Chicago soon, if Rickey don’t pay me better.”
(Fake conversation.)

         Paige and Dean paired off in various contests of pitching in the mid 1930s, with Paige in one
instance beating Dean 1-0 in a 13-inning duel. In putting nearly 30,000 in the seats during a May 1942
Wrigley Field contest, as Dean was recently retired for the moment from the majors, Paige’s stardom outdrew
all but one major league contest that day.140
         Their unique pairing even went as far as injuries – with Paige developing a dead arm in 1938 in
Mexico while Dean had a freak injury take away that special something you just do not gain by accident. A
change in Dean’s mechanics took away one career – and yet, gave him another as an announcer. Paige
came back in the 1948 to become the oldest rookie in the majors, just a year after Dean hung his last curve
in the show. And each garnered admission to the Hall of Fame six years after their last game – Dizzy in
1953 and Satchel in 1971!




139
    Golenbock Peter. The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of The St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. New York: Harper Entertainment; 2000.
135.
140
    Lanctot Neil. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
126-127.
                                           134

Diagram 2.4.1. Best Negro League Players by Position




   A Few, Negro League Best Players by Primary
 Managers
                    Position
                            3rd Baseman
 Andrew Rube Foster                                       Left Field
                            Judy Johnson
 C.I. Taylor                Oliver Marcelle
                                                          Cristobal Torriente
 Frank Leland                                             Wilbur “Bullet Joe” Rogan
                            Wilmer Fields
                                                          Sam Bankhead
 Catchers                   Dave Malarcher
                            Minnie Minoso                 Herbert “Rap” Dixon
 Raleigh “Biz” Mackey
 Joshua Gibson
                                     Shortstop
 Roy Campanella
                                     John Henry Lloyd            Center Field
 Ted Radcliffe
                                     Willie Wells
 Louis Santop                                                    Oscar Charleston
                                     Thomas “Pee Wee” Butts
 Buck Ewing                                                      Norman Turkey Stearnes
                                     Dick Lundy
                                                                 James “Cool Papa” Bell
                                     Monte Irvin
                                                                 Floyd “Jelly” Gardner
 Pitchers                            John Beckwith
                                                                 Willie Mays
                                     Willard Brown
 Smokey Joe Williams                                             Sam Jethroe
 Satchel Paige                       Ernie Banks
 Willie Foster
 Hilton Smith                        2nd Baseman
 Jose Mendez                         Bingo DeMoss
 Leroy Matlock                       Larry Doby
 John Donaldson                      Charles Grant
 Leon Day                            Piper Davis              Right Field
 Martin Dihigo – all round best      Newt Allen               Jimmy Crutchfield
                                     Jackie                   Ted Page
 1st Baseman                         Robinson                 Henry Aaron
 Buck Leonard                        James Gilliam
 Mule Suttles
 Luke Easter
 Goose Tatum
 Buck O’Neil            Note: Bold denotes best, blue MLB player, Yellow Top Pitcher
                                                              135

Negro League Hotbeds
Hilldale Daisies
Hilldale grew as a black “satellite community”, a 45-minute trolley ride just southwest of Philadelphia. The
Daisies formed in 1910, with the originator, A.D. Thompson, departing after a season, leaving Ed Bolden
to take the reins. Not a savvy ballplayer, but a postal worker, Bolden took the local team a respectable 23-6
record in 1911. With differentiation being a key to black baseball success, Bolden utilized local press to sell
his team exploits throughout a season, primarily in the Philadelphia Tribune. 141
          With an eye to searching out talent and a demand for clean baseball, Bolden positioned himself
well in Philly, staying out of the clutches of Nat Strong’s orbit in New York, and letting success speak for
itself in the community. He signed top men coming North during the Great Migration, including
professionals Spotswood Poles, Bill Petus and Otto Briggs. Catcher Louis Santop, nicknamed the “Clan
Darbie Siege Gun” or “Top”, was a premier backstop in 1917 joined up with Bolden’s Daisies before
heading to war. (And would be apart of Bolden’s team in the 1920s.)142
          The Hilldale ‘Giants’ won the first three Eastern Colored League titles 1923 –25, and later, take the
top spot in the short-lived American Negro League in 1931.

Homestead Grays
Homestead, Pennsylvania was a steel town decidedly predisposed to the whims and wants of Andrew
Carnegie. But in the migration north by African-Americans, being a steel worker with a stable income
meant the world getting better, if only one dollar at a time. Cumberland “Cum” Willis Posey, Jr. was a
basketball star-turned baseball player that found his greatest talent in ownership. The Grays went from a
semi-pro, integrated, steelworker-laden group to the all-black powerhouses over the course of two decades
from 1911-1930.
         Posey took the reins for good in 1916 as the captain of the club, and by 1918, was booking all their
games. For nearly the next thirty years, between the Eastern ball clubs and Western mainstays, there were
the Grays, lying in wait. Posey took on all comers, and raided his fair share talent away, but was most
appreciated for paying consistently – in a time when ownerships were always in a struggle for payroll and
attracting fans. Posey, acquired so much talent, that at one time or another, he had over half of the Hall of
Fame players inducted from the time on his various squads.143
         Like Bolden, Posey used the press well. He should have; Posey inherited Pittsburgh Courier
newspaper stock, and wrote for them over the course of the years. His viewpoints were often biting –
usually toward the slipshod nature of various owners that argued over minor points, and avoided major
problems or dismissed innovative ideas144 – meanwhile, he had remained independent through servicing
the void between the established leagues and adroitly booking his teams for up to 150 games a year. (Most
“league teams” could manage only 45-60 games.)
         Posey’s Grays took on the members of the Philadelphia A’s in the late 1920s – with Rube Walberg
and Jack Quinn amongst others – splitting the series that ran up to nine games.145 His outfit played at
Forbes Field in the late 1920s – when the Pirates played in October – and usually scored big profits. So

141
    Hogan Lawrence D. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball.   Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic; 2006. 139-141.
142
    Hogan Lawrence D. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball.   Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic; 2006. 142-143.
143
    Hogan Lawrence D. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball.   Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic; 2006. 209.
144
    Hogan Lawrence D. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball.   Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic; 2006. 212.
145
    Hogan Lawrence D. Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball.   Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic; 2006. 210.
                                                    136

much so, that independent Posey offered no-raiding propositions to the Eastern Colored League and
Negro National League, only to be rejected. (He only wanted Oscar Charleston back from Harrisburg in
the ECL.)
        The Homestead Grays survived through the Great Depression; and Josh Gibson put on their
legendary uniform – to great effect – as they jumped into league play and made for championships and
lasting memories. From 1937 to 1948 they won all but three Negro National League titles.

Pittsburgh Crawfords
The local rivalry with the Homestead Grays exploded when “Gasoline” Gus Greenlee brought his
different personality and financial resources in direct conflict with Posey. While Posey was a slight man,
college-educated, essentially upper-class in family and comportment, Greenlee was a hulky, street-
schooled, savvy in illegal-means-to-money, and jumpstarted a community with his brash, if bedeviling to
Posey, nature.
        Greenlee remade black entrepreneurship into his lasting contribution – aside from bringing
together all-time great teams, the 1932 and 1935 Crawfords – by putting up pool halls, a “community
bank”, the Sunset Café, and the Crawford Grill, a NYC-styled Cotton Club. But the master of the merger &
acquisitions market might be a better describer; as Greenlee merged legal (baseball) and illegal (numbers),
and first acquired Satchel Paige, ex-Gray Sam Streeter, Jimmy Crutchfield, and Cy Perkins, Paige’s personal
backstop, all during the 1930-31 time frame.
        Posey attempted a counter, putting Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe on post, and adding the gifted
pitcher Willie Foster. In August 1931, a battle for Pittsburgh took place between these titans of the
independents. After splitting the first two games, the series decider featured slugging, until Satchel Paige
came in to silence a Gibson-led Gray team, while the Craws took control, and came out victorious. It was
to be a short-term reversal of fortunes for Posey.
        Posey felt the Great Depression, becoming a seller, while new moneyman Greenlee was a
ferocious buyer. Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson and Double Duty were
stripped away from the usually financially sound Posey. And the Crawford Grille opened to rave reviews as
the Craws are considered dynastic by 1935.

Kansas City Monarchs
The following descriptions are from Larry Tye’s Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend.
         J. Leslie Wilkinson, a white owner, dominated the true middle frontier (and early West MLB
expansion) that was embodied in the Monarchs. Born in Des Moines, “Wilkie” grew into a star pitcher
throughout his formative years. He soon fell victim to an arm injury in 1900, and evolved his personal
love, baseball, turning it into a series of successful business ideas and operations.
         His first major success came in the form of the All Nations club – a truly cosmopolitan baseball
team, of men, and a woman – that put on marching bands, dance troupes, and wrestling matches as well as
mean baseball games. Their record in 1913: 119 wins and 17 losses.
         When Rube Foster came to town to build the new Negro Leagues, Wilkinson was the only logical
man to put in charge of the “outskirts” of the league. With his acumen proven, in an era wrought with
failures, Wilkinson brought John Donaldson and Wilbur “Bullet Joe” Rogan immediately to the team.
They racked up several league titles while Foster ran the league, winning the 1924 Negro League World
Series. Wilkinson was the only other rebuttal to Posey’s emerging Grays in the east after Foster’s Chicago
American Giants during the 1920s.
         As for the locale, Kansas City by the 1930s had attractive features for both baseball and culture. A
significant black population (40,000), growth in manufacturing, lax Jim Crow, great food joints, and jazz
musicians of renown, all made it a place to know – and to go. Jazz was the blood flowing at night – Charlie
Bird Parker, Duke Ellington and the Count (Basie) – kept alive the dreams of those who felt sucked dry by
the powers that be. Baseball provided the daytime energies. (The Yankees put their ‘minor’ roots in Kansas
                                                                137

City with Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle doing a stint for the Kansas City Blues. And later, still thinking
they owned the town, vampired off the just moved west Kansas City A’s their talents – specifically, Roger
Maris, and nearly every pitcher aside from Whitey Ford in the late 1950s.)
         Wilkinson was so successful that local black kids wanted to grow up to be Monarchs – like New
York boys coveted the Yankee pinstripes – assuring that talent would always be in abundance. His other
successes led to reintroducing Ed Barrow’s failed night baseball experiment. Only with Wilkie, and better
technology and maintenance, did it worked during the Great Depression. He kept a “B” team – the Baby
Monarchs – on board. He hired (and kept) a real trainer in Frank “Jewbaby” Floyd. Maybe most of all, the
Monarchs traveled in Pullman “class”, could function like real men, in a time, where in the most
inhospitable environs, the best treatment was, “we don’t serve coons.”
         Wilkinson was truly self-made. He did not own other businesses. He inherited no fortune. He
leveraged his own assets many times to make a go of season, and came back with enough to pay off the
debt. And many players, such as Newt Allen, felt he did everything an owner should, both in season and
out. Making loans and arrangements for players – and getting loyalty in return was likely Wilkie’s greatest
strength.
         However, Wilkinson’s long-time partner, Thomas Y. Baird, the moneyman, may not have been as
worthy of esteem. As Larry Tye notes, “Convincing evidence of Baird’s ties of the KKK was published in
2007 by Tim Rives, a baseball historian is the supervisory archivist at the Eisenhower Presidential Library.”
How much Wilkinson suspected Baird, or consciously focused on this issue, remains unclear. It seems
though that Wilkinson’s heart may have blinded him – in a not so color-blind society.
         Wilkinson though was also savvy (sly enough) to capture Satchel Paige after his arm troubles
began. Violating a $5,000 deal with the Manleys, Paige gave the Baby Monarchs a boost, and took kindly to
the trainer that through a rest regiment and hot-cold treatments got Satchel back to adequate, if not quite
100% of form.
         Effa Manley, a firestorm if ever there was one, wrote, argued, and berated whoever listened to get
her player back. Manley, like Paige, was a rare oddity herself: as she later admitted, she was not at all
African-American, though she never tried to make it as white. Thus, making her way against racial bias
because of the family she grew up in and thrived.146 Effa Manley never got Paige to the Newark Eagles –
likely one of the few teams Paige resisted everlastingly in his 40 seasons throwing gas.
         The Monarchs by the early 1940s were as dominant and financially successful as any Negro League
teams earning over $200,000 in a 3-year span, and winning the Negro American League in 1937, 1939,
1940, 1942 and 1946. They defeated the Homestead Grays for 1942 World Series, their second and last
Negro World Series title.
         Wilkinson turned over ownership to Baird in 1948 as the leagues soon dismantled and black
baseball ceased to be what Wilkie had spent 40 years putting on the field. His town, Kansas City, is a
lasting monument to these leagues as the Negro League Hall of Fame Museum is located where Foster
started it, and Wilkinson drove it to success and sustainability.


The Changing of the Guard: Integration
In these many ways the Negro Leagues reflected the infancy of Major League Baseball – without the
onerous task of building a league up under the weight of racial bias and national economic fragility. By
comparison, the numerous leagues made (Player’s League, Union, American Association and the Federal
League), the fight to keep players tied to one team by owners, the shifting franchises due to (a lack of)
money, support and grounds, and the in-fighting for league supremacy by a handful of power-hungry, if
well-intentioned, business owners and players alike, all are mirrored in the Negro Leagues early years of
professional formation.
146
      Tye Larry. Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend. New York: Random House; 2009. 144.
                                                               138

Table: 2.4.6. Home Parks, 19441
          Teams (NNL)                                 Park                          Other Organized Baseball Tenant
         Philadelphia Stars                 Parkside Field, Shibe Park                  Philadelphia Athletics, Phillies
       Baltimore Elite Giants                      Bugle Field                                         -
         Homestead Grays                  Forbes Field, Griffith Stadium           Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Senators
        New York Cubans                           Polo Grounds                                New York Giants
      New York Black Yankees                    Yankee Stadium                               New York Yankees
           Newark Eagles                        Ruppert Stadium                               Newark Bears (IL)

           Teams (NAL)                                  Park                         Other Organized Baseball Tenant
     Chicago American Giants                      Comiskey Park                               Chicago White Sox
       Kansas City Monarchs                      Ruppert Stadium                            Kansas City Blues (AA)
     Birmingham Black Barons                      Rickwood Field                           Birmingham Barons (SA)
         Memphis Red Sox                          Martin Stadium                                       -
        Cleveland Buckeyes                League Park, Municipal Stadium                      Cleveland Indians
   Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns           Victory Field, Crosley Field              Indianapolis (AA), Cincinnati Reds
1. Tables are from Negro League Baseball (2004) by Neil Lanctot, page 150

        Later, the integration of baseball introduced a whole new, unsolvable problem from the Negro
Leagues standpoint: obsolescence. The incorporation of blacks meant doors opened in one league, that
had always been closed (at least since the 1880s) and the slow closure of a ‘League of Their Own.’ Players
of great caliber immediately sought the rewards, and could reap the benefits they so longed for in playing
in front of tens of thousands consistently, even if the transition was far from smooth, filled with dislike
and hatred both on and off-the-field by whites resistant to any changes.

Side Note: Even the inclusion of a white ballplayer on a Negro League team (Edward Joseph Klep, left
hand pitcher, Cleveland Buckeyes, 1946) drew its fair share of hostility. Baseball historian Larry Gerlach
quotes a May 1946 NAACP’s Crisis article, “‘a white person who ignores the color line and joins with
Negroes in their ordinary activities of daily living will also encounter Jim Crow.’ But he likely did not
realize that such a person would encounter racism, prejudice, and exclusion from blacks as well as
whites.”147 From Klep’s first game in March 1946, he encountered severe harassment from white law
officials and fans, being forced to change out of his uniform, while also getting ostracized from traditional
Negro lodging places in the Birmingham area.148 These events point to the great divide firmly entrenched
in the antebellum South that were glossed over for many years by the mainstream white press. Klep’s
career was limited to northern games and ended abruptly mid-season. Unfortunately, Klep was no do-
gooder; and his life was spent in and out of prison and without a job most times.149

        Writing in 1950, famous baseball historian Lee Allen, though well-meaning, writes this two-part
passage about the other side of the same coin, Jackie Robinson’s plight: “When the Dodgers then lost a
seven-game world series to the Yankees, Robinson, the first of his race to appear in the fall festival, held
up his end for the losing cause.”150 Though an even compliment, Allen goes furthers by adding this
assessment:

147
    Gerlach Larry R. Baseball’s Other “Great Experiment”: Eddie Klep and the Integrationof the Negro Leagues*. Unknown: Journal of
Sports History, Fall 1998, Vol. 25, Issue 3; 1998. 459.
148
    Gerlach Larry R. Baseball’s Other “Great Experiment”: Eddie Klep and the Integration
of the Negro Leagues*. Unknown: Journal of Sports History, Fall 1998, Vol. 25, Issue 3; 1998. 460.
149
    Gerlach Larry R. Baseball’s Other “Great Experiment”: Eddie Klep and the Integration
of the Negro Leagues*. Unknown: Journal of Sports History, Fall 1998, Vol. 25, Issue 3; 1998. 469.
150
    Allen L. 100 Years of Baseball: The Intimate and Dramatic Story of Modern Baseball from the Game’s Beginnings Up to the Present
Day. New York: Bartholomew House, Inc.; 1950. 288.
                                                                139

           “It should not be thought at all who opposed his entrance into major league baseball were
           motivated by bigotry. Many sincere players and fans took the position that baseball had such a
           unique code of ethics that it did not furnish the proper laboratory for a sociological experiment.
           Players representing other minorities had to bear up under the most outrageous slurs. But their
           followers never attended games in a bloc; Jackie’s did. The dynamite inherent in the situation was
           not on the playing field but in the stands. The Negro press urged its readers to welcome Robinson
           calmly…And for a year Negroes kept their enthusiasm for the trail-blazer within bounds. But after
           he attained stardom, they found it difficult to restrain their exuberance...”151

                                                              In the pre-Civil Rights era, Allen mentioning of
                                                              what fans of Jackie Robinson were suppose to do
                                                              and the proper environ of a sociological
                                                              experiment only reinforced the difficulties of the
                                                              abhorrent policy of ‘Separate and Equal’ as it stood
                                                              in 1950. Allen was neither strong nor weak (in this
                                                              statement) in assessing the backdrop on which this
                                                              drama was unfolding. By couching his statements
                                                              in what the Negroes should be expected to
                                                              accomplish as fans and players, Allen was ignoring
                                                              that Caucasians’ actions were far from where they
                                                              needed to be. Yet to be fair, his was not the only
                                                              voice speaking in such terms. Many white
                                                              sportswriters and broadcasters, such as Grantland
                                                              Rice and Red Barber, were not keen, or outspoken
                                                              in support of Jackie. (Barber did evolve; Rice died
                                                              in the early 1950s.)
      Jackie Robinson on the cover
      (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

         The minor league system was also wrought with problems during Integration as Miller writes:
         “After 1947 a number of very talented but older players from the Negro Leagues joined minor
         league clubs – Luke Easter, Piper Davis, Ray Dandridge, Dan Bankhead and Sam Jethroe, among
         them. From the viewpoint of the major league clubs, farm teams that utilized a large number of
         veterans players, particularly aging Negro league stars or former major leaguers, were frustrating
         the objective of a minor league system: developing new talent…the majors imposed rules that
         severely limited the number of veteran players at all levels of the minor leagues.”152
         The firmly segregated South was even more limited as these players sought places to eat, stay, or
gather. No Negro player in the locales of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, or the Carolinas was particularly
safe from ridicules intolerable, and often, criminally intended. But for these baseball pioneers this social
hardship was balanced by the greater, fading Negro League reality of much smaller crowds, helter-skelter
travel, cancellations of games, and assured financial uncertainty while always knowing the barrier to a truer
recognition was simply just a matter of their race.
         Baseball historian and statistical expert Bill James sums up the Negro Leagues operating dynamics
and overall impact this way:


151
    Allen Lee. 100 Years of Baseball: The Intimate and Dramatic Story of Modern Baseball from the Game’s Beginnings Up to the
Present Day. New York: Bartholomew House, Inc.; 1950. 288-289.
152
    Miller JE. The Baseball Business: Pursuing Pennants & Profits in Baltimore. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina
Press; 1990. 10.
                                                                140

         “...it is remarkable that they were able to accomplish what they did. They developed outstanding
         players; they set up a league which was immensely successful at identifying the best black athletes
         in the country. They organized All-Star games that drew large crowds [50,000 or more], and were
         major league operations in every sense of the word. They sustained themselves economically by
         traveling from Puerto Rico to Canada, promoting relentlessly an endless series of games in an
         endless series of small towns. They set the stage for Jackie Robinson. By the time integration
         arrived, baseball was more ready for it than almost any other segment of American society.”153

        As one immortal opined: “…My grandfather wasn’t a bitter man. He was an optimist. He thought
black people could achieve any dream if they worked hard enough for it. He also thought there was
enough good in any white man to overcome racism. I found out later on he was right about that, although
I guess you’d have to say that as a society we’ve still got a ways to go.”154 Buck O’Neil spoke volumes
about the reality of life in just that one passage. His ambassadorship to the game is more important than all
the balls he hit, fielded and threw during a HOF-like career.

        Within twenty-seven years of Jackie Robinson’s first season, the greatest record of all-time, Babe
Ruth’s home run mark, was broken by Henry ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ Aaron off Al Downing. Both were black
ballplayers – and saw the worst of what was America’s unfortunate struggle to change from the simple-
minded and flawed ‘Separate but Equal’ doctrine to what should be the ‘Equality for All’ ideal.
         The fact that in a mere thirty years, the black players who could not play in the ‘Bigs’, were now
rewriting the record books across the board shows how much we as lovers of the game lost, not due to
any fault of the players, owners, developers, or media coverage of the Negro Leagues, but to the failures of
many, many Caucasian men, some esteemed enough to know it was utterly wrong, and others too racist,
stubborn (and powerful) to change it ever.

         That said, baseball was far ahead on many fronts in the Civil Rights movement that swept the land
in the 1950s and 1960s. And for that, it shows the influence the game held on the growth of America’s
conscience from the Civil War to Vietnam. The Negro Leagues existence provided the groundwork, the
platform, the energy, and the motivation to move toward equality for all ballplayers. Without those early
efforts, Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Willie Mays, and many, many others would have come to light, only
much, much later.
         And that would be a tragedy – not right on time.




153
    James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
170.
154
    O’Neil B, Wulf S, Conrads D, Burns K. I Was Right on Time. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.; 1996. 18.
                             141




Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe so named for his superior ability to pitch
      in a pinch, and catch in the same day. (From Wikipedia.com)
                                                           3
                                    FDR ERA (1936-1949)
      Integration of Baseball
      Marred by World War II
      Explosive Growth in
      Attendance
      Gardella Case
      Old Stadiums
      Television: the
       new medium

                                                                                           Leo Durocher
                                         MLB & Negro Leaguers            Players jumped     Jackie Robinson
                     Branch Rickey’s     join the war effort             to the Mexican     & Larry Doby first
     Larry MacPhail: Farm System is
                                                                         League             African-Americans in
     Night Baseball  the envy of manyTed Williams:                        Tigers v.
     Flourishes      teams           .406BA                    1944       Cubs              the Majors
       Pride of the Yankees:Lou Gehrig         St. Louis Cardinals
                                                                                      Brooklyn     Cleveland
         Joe DiMaggio leads                                                           Dodgers      Indians
    1936 The Yankees                    1941                   St. Louis 1945-6            1947            1949
                                   56-game                     Browns:
                                                                             Commissioner Albert “Happy” Chandler
                                   Hitting streak              Only AL
                                   Battle of NYC:              Pennant          Gardella Case is settled out of court -
                                   Yankees take Brooklyn                         Reserve Clause still intact.
    Best MLB Players: Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Jimmy Foxx, Johnny Mize, Arky Vaughan, Lou Boudreau
    Luke Appling, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser, Lon Warneke, Virgil Trucks, Lefty Gomez




       Terrance Mann: The one constant through all the years Ray has been baseball.…Oh, people will
come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

                – Actor James Earl Jones from the movie Field of Dreams
                                                                 143

When one thinks of Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, the Great
Depression, social programs,
fireside chats, and WW II
ultimately come to mind. But
baseball also underwent significant
changes in dissemination (radio
broadcasts, a medium adeptly used
by FDR himself) during the 1930s
and was an essential part of the
coping mechanism of many
Americans dealing with the ravages
of Depression-era poverty, and
later, the boots of World War II.




                                                The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. When constructed, it
                                                was the largest suspension bridge in the world. The project began at
                                                the height of the Depression and was finished at the start of FDR’s
                                                     2nd administration. (Photographed by Rich Niewiroski, Jr.)

          Essentially, 1936 denotes a landmark in MLB History: Babe Ruth retired from baseball in 1935 and
Joe DiMaggio began playing in 1936 for the now, ever-dominant Yankees. On May 24, 19351, night
baseball became a reality in Cincinnati under the leadership of Larry MacPhail, who later was key to the
first televised major league game in 1939 displayed at the new Rockefeller Center.2 (Night games had been
played in the minors and Negro Leagues through portable lighting systems dating back to the turn of the
century.)
          The New Deal programs slowly righted the U.S. economy, as many men went west to find work
and complete projects, like the Hoover Dam in 1936. (Temporarily named the Boulder Canyon Dam until
1947.) Some of these public works/public funding projects started under Hoover’s administration like the
RFC (Reconstruction Finance Corporation), but it was under Roosevelt’s watch they gain greatest traction,
and won him four elections in the process.
          Hollywood “spoke” by the late 1920s and grew as an escape from the harsh economic times.
Throughout this generation, filming increased in size and scope while also telling the story of America via
its movies and playing a significant part in the war effort. Many great movies, such as Gone with the Wind
(1939) and Casablanca (1942) became legendary in societal history. (Clark Gable, who played Rhett Butler,
would do his aptly titled career-ending film, The Misfits (1961), with Marilyn Monroe, who was also doing
her last film. (See: Joe DiMaggio Bio.)) Casablanca was written by Philip (and Julius) Epstein3 – grandfather
(and great uncle) of Theo Epstein, the GM of the Boston Red Sox in the 21st century.)
          Music had William “Count” Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Tommy
Dorsey to swing the mood to. Again, the sounds of music reflected a slice of Americana to which soldiers


1
  Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 78.
2
  Lanctot N. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
261.
3
  Shaughnessy Dan. Reversing the Curse: Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company; 2005. 51.
                                                        144

and civilians would come to define this period by in their future reflections backward. It was a Sentimental
Journey that our nation listened to in their wait for the war’s end.

        Science was on display as television crackled to life at
the 1939 New York World Fair. NBC announced they
would broadcast 2 hours per week; by 1940, 23 stations
existed around the country.4
        More importantly, to freedom efforts, through the
exalted minds of Julius Robert Oppenheimer, Albert
Einstein, and Leo Szilard, the United States harnessed the
power of the atom, and, eventually used that power, to cease
hostilities in the Pacific Theatre of WWII.
        Within that invention, a Nuclear Age was born via
the bomb bay doors of the Enola Gay. The mutually assured
destruction of opposing nations has kept it plausible to live
with nukes while also promoting peaceful nuclear power.
And the A-bomb has become a classic term, ‘the nuclear
option’, in discussing the total dismantling of a professional
sports franchise.


                                                                     The mushroom cloud that changed the
                                                                     world, as the Cold War began soon after.
                                                                                 (National Archives)

         The nation turned very slowly away from various extremist groups: the KKK was a powerful group
in numerous states in the 1920s; communism had become a source of fear, but was not in any position of
extraordinary influence, until the Hollywood Ten were held in contempt by Congress in 1948; the mob (Al
Capone, most famously) continued to exist, but no longer were given the same free passes that existed
during Prohibition.
         Many of the former bosses of these gangster outfits moved west to Las Vegas, founded in 1905,
and soon enough, ‘holing up in Vegas’ meant an escape to its moral ambiguity and sinful excesses. But
despite its intense popularity, and size, Vegas has never been included as an expansion site for baseball. (It
does play host to a triple-A ball club.)
         Secretive billionaire Howard Hughes later holed up in Las Vegas’s Desert Inn and the Sands Hotel,
mobster-owned until Hughes came to town, during the late 1960s. Hughes bigfooted himself into the
Hollywood, aviation, excess and corruption circles, as Senate investigative hearings post-World War II
surrounding the Spruce Goose airplane contract reflected. Yet, Hughes was an enigma that no one could
quite figure out, or corner completely, ever. And thus, Hughes’ avoidance of congressional contempt
happened during the ebb of the FDR era.
         Nearly thirty years later, Howard’s end came as richest and most secluded man in America that
ever attempted to buy a baseball team, and the broadcasting giant, ABC.5 (See: LBJ Era)




4
  Encyclopædia Britannica Deluxe Edition 2005 CD. Television Broadcasting. Unknown: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.;
1994-2004. Last updated: May 30, 2004.
5
  Drosnin Michael. Citizen Hughes. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston; 1985. 144-152.
                                                   145




          Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in the midst, as Harvard’s baseball equipment manager:
                      From ball fields to war theatres, FDR would define his era

         Even with some drawing back from radical groups, racism was still strongly entrenched across the
country. Several black Gone with the Wind stars, Hattie McDaniel among them, were barred from the
premiere of the film in Atlanta, Georgia. Meanwhile, singer Marion Anderson felt the same discrimination
from the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Lincoln Memorial. (Anderson sung beautifully.)
         Yet against those prevalent circumstances, Joe Louis was the undisputed heavyweight champion
after dismantling German Max Schmeling in a one-round rematch, and remained undefeated in title
defenses until retiring 1949. Jesse Owens undid Hitler’s Aryan supremacy doctrine right before his
mustachioed face in 1936 Berlin Olympics. Bandleader Benny Goodman refused to play in a New York
                                                                 146

club without his entire band with Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton being the ‘offending’ minstrels.6
FDR also appointed several black leaders in education, economics, political science and legal issues as
cabinet-level advisors.7
         While accustom to rejection on various levels and in various disguises – especially in the Deep
South – nothing might of raised the question of the discriminatory practices more than the comments
made by Jake Powell in a 1938 WGN interview before a Yankee-White Sox game.
         When interviewer Bob Elson asked Powell innocuously about his off-season workout sessions,
Powell responded with: “Oh, that’s easy. I’m a policeman and I beat niggers over the head with my
blackjack while on my beat.”8 Powell soon found karma has its own way of handling things: Less than a
year after Jackie would break into the majors, Powell committed suicide while under arrest for kiting
checks.
         The tumultuous time frame saw white sportswriters like Jimmy Powers9 of the New York Daily
News take unpopular stances on this issue (of racial prejudice), and commissioner Landis compared to
Hitler by black sportswriter Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier in December 1938. Smith was the most
outspoken sportswriter in his biting critiques; and yet, Smith was tapping (pounding) into the realistic and
understandable reasons to integrate all sports and society fully. Soon enough, many African Americans
served (again) honorably in the armed forces and gave President Truman an opportunity to acknowledge
how wrong any discriminatory practices were in a February 1948 message before Congress.
         As a backlash result, the Dixiecrat Party formed, led by Strom Thurmond in 1948. By most
accounts, Truman luckily held on against a strong Republican challenge in Thomas Dewey. And programs
to assist African-Americans were not turned aside going into the 1950s. But progress was deliberately slow.
         African-Americans were not the only ones facing stigmas. Certain stereotypes of the day hung
around: Italian-Americans as lazy thugs and mobsters; German-Americans as stubborn, nationalistic, but
hardworking; French as snooty and suave; Polish as dumb and dimwitted workhorses; Irish as drunks and
pugilists at the drop of a hat; and, Jews as thrifty and nickel-chasers, and far, far worse.
         In Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee, Allen Barra shows how esteemed NYC writers took a twenty-year old
rookie, fresh from D-Day and Omaha Beach rocket launchings, and caricatured the man as an
unsophisticated, uncoordinated, ugly, dim, and dizzy, clownish man. Lawrence “Yogi” Berra was not
dumb; he was undereducated, finishing only the 8th grade, but street smart, and a survivor of whatever
people threw his way, which was every “Dago” or “WOP” slur that was uttered in this era. Yet he showed
in the batter’s box, “who’s smart now.” But even Yogi’s own ethnic enclaves had engrained these
stereotypes.
         As an Italian neighbor remarked to Joe Garagiola, Yogi’s hometown friend and fellow ballplayer,
enforced: “you the firsta boy what comes from the Hill with a name [that] ends a, e, i, o getta name in the
paper and no killa somebody.”10 For Yogi, killing was done with ‘bat on ball’ domestic violence, minus the
‘wife beater.’ (Undershirt worn by many – and often symbolic in the films.)
         But no one ever mistakes Yogiisms for a Phi Beta Kappa musings – or maybe, they are, you can
never really know. (“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”11)
         The melting pot of America has never been without the conflict of new immigrants taking grief
from once-to-twice removed from-the-boat disembarkers. Yet, through those conflicts came the most
economically productive nation in the world.

6
  Lester Larry. Black Baseball’s National Showcase. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2001. 498. [Various
chapters]
7
  Lester Larry. Black Baseball’s National Showcase. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2001. 21.
8
    Levitt Daniel R. Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees’ First Dynasty. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2008.312.
9
    Lester Larry. Black Baseball’s National Showcase. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2001. 110.
10
     Barra Allen. Yogi Berra: The Eternal Yankee. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2009. 7.
11
     Barra Allen. Yogi Berra: The Eternal Yankee. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2009. 397.
                                                    147

         During the final throws of WWII, at the Battle of The Bulge, German soldiers dressed out as
American GIs to confuse and leverage the battle in their favor. (Without success as this was the last
German counteroffensive.) Our boys’ best tactic was to question faux-GIs about baseball: “How did Dem
Bums do this season? Who is Joltin’ Joe?” Meanwhile, in the Pacific Theatre, the conflict involved more
insults, than ruses. American GIs: “Fuck Hirohito!” Jap Soldiers: “Screw Babe Ruth!”
         More than 4,300 professional ballplayers went to war – more than 100 lost their lives.

         Just before the A-bomb dropped, Winston S. Churchill saw his own defeat as British prime
minister by Clement R. Attlee in July 1945 during the Potsdam Conference where administration of Germany
was discussed. But it was not too long before the United States engaged in the largest aid effort in human
history (the Berlin Airlift) under President Truman to halt the advance of Iron Curtain drawn across mid-
Europe as Josef Stalin advanced his own ideas as to who was the true power in Europe, and beyond.
(Churchill had spoke of this Iron Curtain in a Fulton, Missouri speech in 1946.)
         The Nuremberg Trials began shortly after World War II; the Holocaust was clearly evident, and
appalling, to all humanity. To address the failures of humankind, the United Nations was brought to life in
San Francisco in 1945 and soon funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to the tune of $8.5 million for land in
New York City for the UN. The United Nations established the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At the same time, Israel, the new Jewish state, was established via the United States’ urging and insistence
in 1948. And the Middle East has never been quiet since – as war and conflict never completely ends.
         (Side Note: George H.W. Bush later headed up the United States delegation in the early 1970s. At
this juncture, the future President Bush was captain of the Yale baseball team, soon to receive Babe Ruth’s
letters and correspondence.)
         NATO was formed in 1949 to head off any further aggression by the U.S.S.R, yet, only a year later,
the Russians tested a nuclear bomb, and the Korean War started in June 1950. (And baseball players went
back to war positions: Willie Mays, Whitey Ford, Jerry Coleman, and Ted Williams, to name only a few.)
         Baseball though had come back to robust health: with the soldiers returning from Europe and the
Pacific, girlfriends and wives eagerly awaiting their brave fellows, and the entire country wanting to move
forward, while ever aware of the challenges of being the nation left most unscarred by the ravages of war,
but now, solely responsible for the safety of the free world. The games seemed only a respite from the
hard tasks of rebuilding a world, and the challenges that still laid ahead for a 175-year old nation.

The General Makeup of MLB Baseball in 1936
     2 Professional Leagues – 8 teams apiece, located in the NE and Midwestern parts of the U.S.
     Still dominate LH hitters (especially in the lefty-friendly Yankee Stadium with its 294’ RF line and
   low wall)
     League BA (Batting Average) was close to .290 in both leagues in 1936
     Making contact was valued highly over ‘just swinging for the fences’, though hitters like Lou Gehrig
   and Joe DiMaggio did both well

The Ballparks
      Cavernous CF (430’+), quirky, high-walled LF and/or RF fences in numerous stadiums, but with
   friendly distances elsewhere (under 300’ down both lines.)
      The Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field, League Park, Shibe Park, Crosley Field, Briggs Stadium (Tiger
   Stadium), Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Comiskey Park, and Wrigley Field were among the 16 MLB
   Parks in primary use.
      Power Alleys were typically greater than (390’) which contributed to doubles and triples being the
   most typical extra base hit in many parks of the day.
                                                                148

The Players
The most influential part of this era was the outbreak of WWII. Between 1942 and 1946, many of the
stars, mainstays, and quality bench guys took part in this fight.12 Leaving behind only the oldest and
youngest not qualified (4F) for military service in a direct manner. Many lost their prime years to this, and
the remaining players, did not hit as well as in the previous five years by a statistically significant difference.
(In Bill James’ Abstract, it is noted the baseballs were of an inferior quality due to rubber needed for war
products. This took place between 1942 and 1943 with the Dodgers eventually receiving the replacement
balls sooner than every other team.)13
         Even at this point, while some players received healthy salaries (and bonuses, usually the World
Series share was the big payday for the Yankees role players), the vast majority was still at work in off-
season jobs to make adequate (to very comfortable) livings. The ‘reserve’ clause all but assured exclusive
ownership rights to a player indefinitely unless he retired, was traded, or released.14 Players’ rights were
only to compensation via one-year contracts set by frugal, and often, tyrannical owners.

           David Halberstam in October 1964 reflects the typical owner viewpoint toward players’ salaries:

           “…Sam Breadon, had come to baseball after owning an auto dealership in St. Louis, during the
           years when Branch Rickey was the general manager. Breadon was, if anything, cheaper than Rickey,
           a legendary skinflint: in 1942, when the young Musial had come in third in the National League
           batting race in his first big league season, Breadon offered him the magnificent raise of $1,000 for
           his good work…There was a ceiling on what a Cardinal player could make in those days, and it was
           $13,500. Only Marty Marion, as good a salesman as he was a shortstop, it was said, had been able
           to breach the 13.5 ceiling; he received $15,000…in 1944 [after winning the MVP.] Generally, when
           a player reached $13,500, it was good as buying a train ticket out of St. Louis. At one point, anger
           by the demands of the Cooper brothers for salaries as large as Marion’s, Breadon essentially sold
           them off, getting $60,000 plus another player for Mort in 1945 from the Boston Braves, and, a few
           months later, selling Walker Cooper to the Giants for $175,000, then a record price.”15

        Sadly, many of the best players in baseball could not infuse their talent into the Major Leagues.
Racial segregation policies continued, in part, due to the powerful baseball commissioner, Kenesaw
Mountain Landis.
        In Baseball: An Illustrated History, Landis was quoted concerning the Pittsburgh Pirates interest in
Josh Gibson, “The colored ballplayers have their own league. Let them stay in their own league.” 16
Landis’s death in 1944 opened the way for owners/GMs like Branch Rickey to make a new reality:
African-American ballplayers in the National and American Leagues.
        As Andrew Zimbalist writes about Landis, In the Best Interests of Baseball?, quoting Leonard Koppett,
legendary New York Times sportswriter: “His rulings from the bench were regularly overturned by higher
courts and oscillated wildly from excessively harsh to unaccountably lenient…His view of the world was
shallow, bigoted, and ill informed…He could be devious and vengeful.”17


12
   Ibid. 188.
13
   James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
197.
14
    Reichler Joseph L., [Editor}. The Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Official Record of Major League Baseball. 7th Ed. New
York: Collier Macmillan Publishers; 1988. 22.
15
     Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 19-20.
16
   Burns Ken, Ward Geoffrey C. Baseball: An Illustrated History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc; 1994. 283.
17
   Zimbalist Andrew S. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley &
Sons, Inc; 2006. 42.
                                                        149

         With Landis’s death in 1944, the game shifted under Happy Chandler’s commissionership. And
while no intentional boat rocker, the most dramatic changes to the game since the American League
formation took place under the helm of Chandler as the color line disappeared; franchises moved; and
television grew from just a baby to an exuberant and clumsy youth. Baseball was indeed a business.

Hitting Stars of the time
Johnny Mize, Ralf Kiner, Lou Boudreau, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Mel Ott, Jimmie
Foxx, Bobby Doerr, Rudy York, Enos Slaughter, Stan Musial, Bob Johnson, Hank Greenberg, Dolph
Camilli, Ernie Lombardi, Bill Nicholson, Joe Gordon, and Vern Stephens, amongst many others.

Pitching Stars of the time
 Red Ruffing, Bob Feller, Johnny Sain, Hal Newhouser, Warren Spahn, Mort Cooper, and Carl Hubbell,
among others.

The New Ownerships
When beer magnate Gussie Busch took over the franchise in St. Louis in 1953 from tax invasion felon
Fred Saigh (1948-1952), Busch encountered plenty of resistance in trying to buy up players – as both the
Dodgers and Cubs rejected overtures for top players Gil Hodges and Ernie Banks. His then GM, Frank
“Trader” Lane, commented after a failed deal: “Mr. Busch, I was politely reminded that Mr. Wrigley needs
half a million just about as much as you do.”18 (The price offered for Ernie Banks. Phil K. Wrigley was
Busch’s longtime equal: a gum tycoon, with only a marginal interest in winning championships. Lane
would get another opportunity to trade; and wreck a team as Cleveland soon discovered.)
         Busch’s personality was explosive, revolved around silver bullets (very dry martinis), and usually
came with a limited understanding of the game. He did not understand when a player’s age was inaccurate,
older than reported, and expected a return of $20,000 on the purchase. 19 However, in one instance, he
wanted to call his stadium Budweiser Park – in the same future vein as Coors Field – but the advertising arm
of the company considered that an ill-advised decision20 and the other owners balked at such brazen
promotion of alcohol. (So he named it after himself; and created Busch and Busch Light beers to some
people’s chagrin.)
         These newer ownerships were usually defined as sportsmen – but were unusually ignorant of the
makings a good baseball team. They were abundantly aware of financial dealings – and looked at the less
financially well off owners as being opportune for fleecing. But those owners/presidents, that had actually
played the game, and ran operations, like a Branch Rickey (Cardinals and Dodgers), Clark Griffith
(Senators) and Connie Mack (A’s), would make it work with shoestring budgets and trades that made their
richer, sportsmen counterparts sometimes furious in their vain attempts to topple the Yankees. A decade
would pass before the impatient Gussie Busch would taste the champagne of victory for the first of three
times: 1964, 1967, and 1982. His predecessor, Sam Breadon, won six World Series during his ownership
(1920-1947) while advised by his right-hand man: Branch Rickey.

        Halberstam reflects on Branch Rickey’s personality and baseball operating style:

        “He was a Victorian man, born in and shaped by another century, much given to bloated rhetoric,
        at once shrewd and pious, honorable and duplicitous, quick to cover his base moves with high-
        minded speeches (and, on occasion, his more high-minded moves with primitive explanations.)

18
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 22.
19
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 19.
20
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 23.
                                                        150

        He had promised his mother that he would never play on Sunday and he kept that promise even as
        an executive…[Was] he the most religious man of his era in baseball or simply the greatest con
        man[?]… ‘The Mahatma,’ the sportswriter Tom Meany called him, a nickname that stuck…It was
        the name given the Indian leader by his people, meaning ‘the great one.’ After all, John Gunther,
        the great journalist of the era, had described Gandhi as ‘combination of God, your father, and
        Tammany Hall.’…the basic rules for negotiating with Rickey: ‘Don’t drink the night before, keep
        your mouth shut, and your hands in your pockets.’

        ‘El cheapo,’ Jimmy Powers, the sports columnist called him, for his Calvinist view of society clearly
        forbade paying too much to a player: too much money might corrupt a player…the classic Rickey
        move with a gifted player was to wait until he reached the apex of his career and his salary was [at
        the apex, then] trade him for a younger, less expensive but equally talented player…[In signing
        Robinson] he had not deigned to pay the Kansas City Monarchs anything for Robinson’s
        contract…[Rickey described the Negro Leagues as a,] ‘booking agent’s paradise.’”21

       Rickey’s legacy was so profound that by the late 1940s upwards of 37% of the talent in the Major
Leagues had grown up in the farm systems he had worked hard to build cheaply.22

        Dan Topping, and later, Del Webb, teamed up to run the New York Yankees in the 1946, and with
plenty of money, motivation to win, and ruthless and racist23 tactics, won more World Series (9) than any
other ownership group in baseball history. Prior to that, Ed Barrow (1920-53) and then Leland S. MacPhail
(1945-1947) had run operations in typical efficiency – and were instrumental to the changing of the guard
from the Babe Ruth final days of glory.
        George Weiss (1932-1961), started as a crack promoter in WWI, then minor league owner in the
pre-Great Depression, before moving into the New York circle as farm system director and would general
manage during the 1950s Yankees dynasty, and had recruited Rickey’s topnotch scout, Tom Greenwade.
Greenwade was uniquely and expertly plugged into a vast expanse of territory from Arkansas to the West
Coast – eventually signing Mickey Mantle for the Yankees. However, Halberstam tells of a Weiss that
reflected his ownership’s wishes:
        “It was Greenwade who signed Mantle…but it was less well known that he also had done vital
        day-to-day scouting of Jackie Robinson…Because of that, Greenwade knew as much or more
        about the available black talent as any white scout in the country, but Weiss was not interested.
        ‘Now Tom, I don’t want you sneaking around down any back alleys and signing any niggers. We
        don’t want them.’…Greenwade thought it bizarre. He was being tipped on such great young
        prospects as Ernie Banks, but was unable to because of his marching orders. The Yankees…lost
        an important decade by not going after black talent…Ironically, Mantle’s greatness increased the
        arrogance of the front office, for his exceptional speed and power convinced the Yankees that they
        did not need to change.”24

       Even after Robinson’s feats were amply shown to them, the pride and conceit of the Yankees was
even greater in the front office than any fan really knew. It wouldn’t be until catcher Elston Howard came
to them in 1955 that the Yankees would first break the colored barrier. ‘Ellie’ Howard would catch over
1,000 games for the Yankees – finishing with a lifetime .274 BA and a .427 slugging %. During the IKE
Era, Howard’s offensive numbers were comparable to Smokey Burgess and Stan Lopata. Defensively, he

21
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 32-33.
22
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 31.
23
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 54.
24
   Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 54-55.
                                                              151

amassed a sparkling .993 fielding percentage, far better than all but Sherm Lollar – and still amongst the
highest ever for catchers from any era.

                                                                                  From one George to another:
                                                                                  George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth hands
                                                                                  to Yale 1st Baseman, George
                                                                                  Herbert Walker Bush, various
                                                                                  papers for posterity. Little did the
                                                                                  former U.S. Navy pilot then know
                                                                                  that he would be destined for a long
                                                                                  and illustrious career that also
                                                                                  shaped and defined America.
                                                                                  (Courtesy of the George Bush
                                                                                  Presidential Library.)




The Fans
As late as May 1944, segregation (in seating) at ballparks still remained. Sportsman’s Park was the last to
abolish this unfair and demeaning policy.25 The root of this racism likely deprived the St. Louis Cardinals
of five-decade player Minnie Minoso, who in 1946, was at a tryout where a 1st baseman was handcuffed by
his rocket throws from third. The Cardinals were cool and never called him back.26
         After World War II, the great surge in fans made many owners overjoyed. The monies flowed back
to their pockets, and the fans were given pennant races rarely seen before, or since. The Boston Red Sox,
Cleveland Indians and the Yankees participated in two seasons of bitter contests – 1948 and 1949 – with
Cleveland and the Yankees taking the World Series both years. In the National League during 1949, a
changing of the guard came from the reign of the Cardinals to the ‘Wait ‘til Next Year’ Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Brooklyn fans were treated throughout the next decade – only to see it depart.

Dynasty in Dire Times: The 1944 Word Series or Meet Me In St. Louis
By 1944, the best baseball boys were gone to the battles of the war. FDR though kept behind the less-
than-ideal warriors to provide entertainment. As a byproduct, a team virtually buried for forty years rose to
the occasion and participated in their lone World Series: the St. Louis Browns.
        In The Boys Who Were Left Behind, authors John Heidenry and Brett Topel discuss this ragtag bunch
from the American League, who ended the Yankee dominance (for a spell), and gave their personal bests
for their new, reluctant manager Luke Sewell. Sewell’s team had alcoholic brawlers, medical misfits,
married ex-seminaries, and quirky talents found best at the circuses of P.T. Barnum.
        Part-time catcher Frank Mancuso had a spinal injury that could turn pop-ups into pass outs.
Outfielder Milt “Skippy” Byrnes was a “good-hit, no field” misidentified as a “good-field, no-hit” type.
Middle school teacher Don Gutteridge, an erratic thrower with poor range at the hot corner, was
25
     Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 125.
26
     Halberstam David. October 1964. New York: Villard Books; 1994. 57.
                                                              152

converted to the keystone position, where he was never great, but tolerable for the Browns’ needs.
Outfielder, dedicated Catholic, alcoholic anonymous attendee Mike Kreevich had been bounced by Connie
Mack after only one season.
        Pitcher Nelson Potter, another Mack castoff, had been injured, received the wrong knee operation
(removing the good cartilage), but recovered with his screwball and slider combination (a rarity) that would
grant him two special seasons. Pitcher Sig Jakucki was a holy terror; if you crossed him, you better bring a
gun, but that might not be enough. His was a railroad career – bouncing from baseball boxcar to boxcar –
hoping someone would take his whisky, womanizing, and warring ways for a price. The Browns did for
two seasons.
        Denny Galehouse was working at an Akron, Ohio Goodyear Aircraft plant sixty hours a week
getting his workouts in when he could coax someone to be a backstop. Galehouse was normally the game
one Sunday starter due to this restriction. But the rail travel and lack of training caused him to nix the plant
job as the Browns became pennant worthy. He would pitch the opening game of the 1944 World Series
and win in complete game fashion. He got his draft notice in April 1945.27
        Outfielder Chet Laabs was a hit or a miss – homers or strikeouts. Laabs also was a weekend
warrior; as the war placed boundaries on players to work a job, first, then play Sunday doubleheaders. 1st
baseman George McQuinn was the mainstay and a movie theatre operator in off-season. Vern Stephens,
once thought lacking in fielding ability with too many flaws as a hitter, soon became the premier AL
shortstop in the FDR Era. (Offense trumps defense.) Stephens also playboyed around plenty with three
different nicknames in female encounters: Vern, Stevie, or Junior. Ellis “Cat” Clary was another guy with a
mean roar: “real good with his fists.”28
        The 1944 Browns had cornered the market on derelicts, dead-arm pitchers, and danger-finds-me
types, but the war made these baseball castoffs relatively valuable.

Browns Pitchers         W L          IP     ERA Throws
Jack Kramer             17 13       257     2.49 Right
Nelson Potter           19 7        232     2.83 Right
Bob Muncrief            13 8       219.3    3.08 Right
Sig Jakucki             13 9        198     3.55 Right
Denny Galehouse          9 10       153     3.12 Right
Al Hollingsworth         5 7        92.6    4.47 Left
George Caster            6 6         81     2.44 Right
Tex Shirley              5 4        80.3    4.15 Right
Sam Zoldak               0 0        38.6    3.72 Left

        On the better side of the coin, the Cardinals were a professional bunch led by manager Billy
Southworth. Southworth had gotten a brief stint as Cardinals manager in 1929, but like the stock market
then, the bottom fell out for him, and a decade would pass before he managed big time again. Southworth
did not let that time go to waste, honing his craft in the dusty stops of a minor league manager.
        Between 1940 -1949, Southworth would win 890 games at the helm, more than 120 wins more
than more renown heads of the day: Leo Durocher and Joe McCarthy. Southworth’s best trick: His skills
transferred to the Boston Braves in 1948, taking them back to the World Series for the first time since
George Stalling’s miracle in 1914.
        From 1942 -1944, the Cards were on autopilot in the National League. Stan the Man, Marty
Marion, Harry Walker, Enos Slaughter, Max Lanier, Mort and Walker Cooper won more than 68% of their

27
   Heidenry John, Topel Brett. The Boys Who Were Left Behind: The 1944 World Series St. Louis Browns and the Legendary St. Louis
Cardinals. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press; 2006. 30-31.
28
   Heidenry John, Topel Brett. The Boys Who Were Left Behind: The 1944 World Series St. Louis Browns and the Legendary St. Louis
Cardinals. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press; 2006. 32-34.
                                                             153

contests, not even the recent Yankees dynasty could claim that absolute dominance. (Granted, against
ragtags, fluid rosters, and weekend ballplayers. Slaughter and Walker would not be around in 1944, but did
contribute to the dynasty.)
        These Cardinals, unlike the Browns, enjoyed each other’s company. Playful gashouse legend
Pepper Martin rejoined in 1944 at age 40 with respectable, if short-lived, contributions and good humor.
Catcher Walker Cooper was a clubhouse prankster. Musial was easy going, if straight-laced, by generational
standards. Mostly, winning made it easy to get along. The Browns meanwhile were best cast as beaten-up
Cinderella men looking for a brawl, or respect, whichever came first.

Winning with Roosevelt’s Rejects
The Browns led the majors in 4F players with eighteen at the beginning of 1944 and thirteen that were in
the series.29 In April 1944, men over twenty-seven were told they were no longer needed to pick up a rifle
or load onto a LST for war service. This helped the Browns kept together a veteran bunch of players,
whose talent was mediocre in a normally talented league, but the league was no longer functioning as such.
(If you would have asked the Yankees about the function.)

The End Result
St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 over the Browns. And within a decade, a midget would bat for the Browns, the
fans took over strategy for a day, and relocation was assured to Baltimore. Paul Richards would replace
Jimmy Dykes in 1955 as their first long-term manager. And leave a much better organization to the mind
of Earl Weaver that would make some history with 4-20 game winners during the mid-LBJ era.




Sportsman’s Park in the early 1960s. Despite his later efforts, Gussie Busch did not rename the field
Budweiser Park. He just created a beer with his name on it; then built the park with his name (and beer
label) conspicuously apparent. Notice the center field sign. (Courtesy of Bernard L Waxman)

29
  Heidenry John, Topel Brett. The Boys Who Were Left Behind: The 1944 World Series St. Louis Browns and the Legendary St. Louis
Cardinals. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press; 2006. 44.
                                                                                              154

Graph 3.0.1: Doubles-and-Home runs Analysis in 5 ERAS

                                                                    Home runs and Doubles Averages over 5 ERAS



                                                               IKE ERA:             LBJ ERA:              Reagan ERA:
                                                               Home Runs take       Game Modifications, New Baseball
                                    300
                                                               off while teams move Employment disputes Manufacturer, Strikes                         AL 2B
                                                               TV takes hold and    and Addition of eight and the ESPN
                                                                                                                                                      AL HR
                                                               African Americans teams                    generation
                                                               change the game                                                                        NL 2B
                                    250
  No. of Hits per Season per Team




                                                                                                                                                      NL HR
                                                                                                                                Clinton ERA: New
                                                                                                                                Ballparks, Steroids
                                                                                                                                and Financial Gains
                                          FDR ERA:
                                    200
                                          WWII brought
                                          replacement
                                          players and
                                          reduced offense
                                    150




                                    100




                                    50
                                          1936
                                          1938
                                          1940
                                          1942
                                          1944
                                          1946
                                          1948
                                          1950
                                          1952
                                          1954
                                          1956
                                          1958
                                          1960
                                          1962
                                          1964
                                          1966
                                          1968
                                          1970
                                          1972
                                          1974
                                          1976
                                          1978
                                          1980
                                          1982
                                          1984
                                          1986
                                          1988
                                          1990
                                          1992
                                          1994
                                          1996
                                          1998
                                          2000
                                          2002
                                          2004
                                                                                             Year




                                          Table 3.0.1. Average Number of Extra Base Hits (no triples) by Team per Year
                                          BY ERA                                         Doubles HRs
                                          FDR (1936-49)2                                 251.1           87.7
                                          IKE (1950-63)                                  224.4           139.1
                                          LBJ (1964-77)                                  212.4           121.9
                                          REAGAN (1978-91)                               245.1           127.9
                                          CLINTON (1992-2004)1                           283.3           166.6
                                          Average                                          243.3        128.7

                                          1. 2005 Stats not included 2. FDR and
                                          IKE adjusted for 162 games
                                                                     155

Table 3.0.2. 18 Ballparks existing during the FDR Era30                                                           Outfield         Highest
NO Franchise            League     Stadium                      City             1st YR     Last YR   Capacity   LF CF       RF     Wall
1 Athletics             AL        Shibe Park/Connie Mack        Philadelphia     1909       1954      33,608     334 447     329     32'
2 Browns                AL        Sportsman's Park (III)        St. Louis        1909       1953      34,450     351 420     310     37'
3 Indians               AL        Cleveland Stadium             Cleveland        1932       1993      74,483     320 404     320     16'
4 Naps/Indians1 AL                League Park (II)              Cleveland        1910       1946      22,500     375 410     290     45'
5 Red Sox               AL        Fenway Park                   Boston           1912                 33,925     308 390     302     37'
6 Senators              AL        Griffith Stadium              Washington       1911       1960      28,669     350 421     320     31'
7 Tigers                AL        Tiger Stadium5                Detroit          1912       1999      46,945     340 440     325     6.5'
8 White Sox             AL        Comiskey Park (I)             Chicago          1910       1990      43,951     347 409     347     16'
9 Yankees    3          AL        Yankee Stadium (I)            New York         1923       1973      67,000     301 461     296     14'
10 Braves               NL        Braves Field                  Boston           1915       1952      37,106     337 390     319     20'
11 Cardinals4           NL        Sportsman's Park (III)        St. Louis        1920       1966      30,500     351 420     310     37'
12 Cubs                 NL        Wrigley Field                 Chicago          1916                 38,765     355 400     353     16'
13 Dodgers              NL        Ebbets Field                  Brooklyn         1913       1957      28,000     348 393     297     38'
14 Giants               NL        Polo Grounds (V)              New York         1911       1957      54,500     280 480     255    30.5'
15 Phillies             NL        Baker Bowl                    Philadelphia     1895       1938      18,800     342 408     280     60'
16 Phillies2            NL        Connie Mack Stadium Philadelphia 1938                     1970      33,608     334 447     329     32'
17 Pirates              NL        Forbes Field                  Pittsburgh       1909       1970      35,000     365 435     300     28'
18 Reds                 NL        Crosley Field                 Cincinnati       1912       1970      29,603     328 387     366     23'
1. Moved permanently to Cleveland Stadium in 1946
2. Moved into Connie Mack in 1938
3. Renovations done later moved in fences significantly (461' to 408' in CF in the 1970s)
4. Shared ballpark with Browns
5. Also known as Navin Field & Briggs Stadium




        Between 1936 and 1941, home runs (in the American League) remained consistent around 105 per
team. The National League lagged behind in both doubles and home runs. This is likely due to more
talented hitters existing in the American League, or at least, a greater disparity in talent. (See: Dynasty,
Yankees II, III, and IV)
        With the beginning of United States involvement in a World War, both home runs and doubles fell
off pace considerably. Only after the war, did home runs rebound dramatically. Doubles slacked off to 235
per team. This post-war change was (partly) attributable to the new arrival of ballplayers in the era that
begin utilizing the ‘long ball’ as an important part of their personal arsenal and balls that were doubles
before now becoming ‘diggers.’ The older men – lacking the vigor and performance levels – finally retired,
and turned the game over to the youth just back from the greatest accomplishment of any lifetime.
        The immediate rebound in offenses was likely due to the usage of inferior balls mid-war. Rubber
materials inside the baseball were in high demand by the United States armed forces. As such, baseball saw
external forces affect the outcomes of balls hit – to many a WWII pitcher’s delight.
        These less-lively balls were termed Balata balls. When the world at-large returned to normal, so did
the actual baseball. And the successful pitchers of the early 1940s became ordinary footnotes in the record
book. But while it lasted, the bounce was in favor of the pitchers.




30
     Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 125.
                                                    156

           3.1. Ballparks: Slugging % Analysis, Characteristics, and History




       Ebbets Field in 1913. Located at McKeever & Sullivan in Brooklyn, the park played host to Dem
 Bums, cowbells, a fan band, and memories great and glorious, dismaying and defeating. Organist Gladys
  Gooding played Auld Lang Syne to close the park’s playing days. (Bain Collection, Library of Congress)


Ballparks burn a lasting image in ballplayers’ and fans’ minds. They are known for their quirks and crevices
that can befuddle new, opposing players. The design of stands, the foul areas, the walls, the field’s playing
surface, the sun as it kisses right field, all have their DNA imprinted in the photographer’s images and the
lasting memories of a childhood.
        When a ballpark opens, everyone comes in droves to just say, “I was there when…” and fill in
your favorite story of power hitting, pitching gem, fielding excellence, or fan/manager breakdowns. The
flawless park pulses with the beat of a new soul looking to make its mark on the long history of baseball
idolatry.
        But to measure their statistical worth, a park must stay around (and usually do) for 30-40 years.
The ones looked at in the FDR era, were long established, and venerated, some well into the 21st century.
        As discussed, one must be aware than many ballplayers left during World War II. And the
replacements were sub par, even handicapped. (Peter Gray played outfield for the St. Louis Browns with
one arm for half of the 1945 season.) But this actuality should correct flaws in the park-to-park analysis –
because the determination of batting hand dominance as it relates to power numbers should be reinforced
with weaker players lacking skills to hit to all fields equally. (Unlike many power guys that can have a
natural propensity to hit to ‘all fields with power.’)
                                                             157

Table 3.1.1. 2-way ANOVA analysis and Pearson coefficient using Slugging % by Team
Bats    Year      Tiger Comiskey Ebbets          Fenway   Polo Sportsman Wrigley   Yankee   Avg.    St. Dev.
Left    1936      0.491 0.410     0.397           0.367   0.463  0.516   0.385      0.580   0.451   0.074
        1937      0.445 0.447     0.398           0.384   0.423  0.493   0.402      0.538   0.441   0.052
        1938      0.411 0.432     0.424           0.380   0.444  0.470   0.389      0.488   0.430   0.037
        1939      0.473 0.425     0.423           0.460   0.457  0.513   0.415      0.494   0.457   0.035
        1940      0.463 0.465     0.467           0.475   0.424  0.496   0.462      0.443   0.462   0.021
        1941      0.410 0.427    0.507            0.493   0.429  0.463   0.423      0.435   0.448   0.036
        1942      0.380 0.367     0.423           0.444   0.456  0.452   0.414      0.418   0.419   0.032
        1943      0.385 0.330     0.402           0.337   0.373  0.421   0.444      0.448   0.393   0.045
        1944      0.379 0.372     0.458           0.392   0.443  0.479   0.457      0.413   0.424   0.041
        1945      0.392 0.363     0.447           0.350   0.429  0.390   0.424      0.396   0.399   0.033
        1946      0.371 0.355     0.424           0.463   0.440  0.452   0.392      0.458   0.419   0.042
        1947      0.420 0.342     0.419           0.481   0.571  0.487   0.403      0.455   0.447   0.068
        1948      0.420 0.331     0.458           0.442   0.479  0.581   0.419      0.473   0.450   0.071
        1949      0.442 0.343     0.491           0.460   0.434  0.493   0.444      0.446   0.444   0.047
Right   1936      0.444 0.430     0.351           0.446   0.382  0.414   0.440      0.478   0.423   0.040
        1937      0.526 0.413     0.365           0.450   0.412  0.409   0.465      0.446   0.436   0.048
        1938      0.479 0.381     0.378           0.487   0.410  0.420   0.378      0.463   0.424   0.046
        1939      0.452 0.391     0.387           0.473   0.414  0.439   0.418      0.458   0.429   0.032
        1940      0.482 0.376     0.384           0.492   0.363  0.415   0.366      0.445   0.415   0.052
        1941      0.393 0.339     0.373           0.435   0.356  0.342   0.356      0.492   0.385   0.053
        1942      0.366 0.327     0.344           0.402   0.316  0.379   0.360      0.426   0.365   0.037
        1943      0.376 0.337     0.376           0.365   0.345  0.417   0.325      0.351   0.362   0.029
        1944      0.364 0.272     0.361           0.415   0.369  0.404   0.341      0.413   0.367   0.047
        1945      0.354 0.343     0.374           0.390   0.372  0.410   0.369      0.381   0.374   0.021
        1946      0.407 0.345     0.363           0.418   0.371  0.385   0.343      0.379   0.376   0.027
        1947      0.373 0.372     0.405           0.397   0.461  0.413   0.367      0.410   0.400   0.031
        1948      0.384 0.364     0.398           0.441   0.409  0.327   0.385      0.436   0.393   0.037
        1949      0.380 0.408     0.461           0.459   0.452  0.392   0.402      0.402   0.419   0.033
Left     Avg.     0.420 0.386    0.438            0.423   0.447  0.479    0.419     0.463   0.435   0.029
Right    Avg.     0.413 0.364     0.380           0.434   0.388  0.397   0.380      0.427   0.398   0.025
Left     Stdev.   0.038 0.046     0.034           0.053   0.043  0.045   0.025      0.049   0.042   0.009
Right    Stdev.   0.054 0.041    0.029            0.038   0.040  0.031   0.039      0.040   0.039   0.008
Note: For players that amassed 200 or more at-bats in a season.

Table: 3.1.2. ANOVA
2 way ANOVA   SS        df    Mean Sq    F       p-value
Hand          0.07602   1     0.07602    44.86   1.942E-10
Parks         0.09742   7     0.01392    8.213   7.826E-09
Interaction   0.04402   7     0.006289   3.711   0.0008342
Within        0.3525    208   0.001695
Total         0.5699    223

        In terms of overall fair hitting, Wrigley, Crosley, and Braves Field, along with Comiskey Park,
offered uniform park dimensions that on their face cannot be critiqued harshly as favorable towards LH or
RH hitters. This leaves 12 parks (75%) that have dimensional and wall height quirks that favor either LH
or RH hitters as the analysis that reflects in Table 3.1.1 and 3.1.3.
                                                       158

        With the low p-values, there is a significant difference both in batting hand and park location,
based on the SLG% recorded. As it turns out, left hand SLG% are higher in many of the ballparks.
Ebbets, Yankee, Polo, and Sportsman’s Park, represent the greatest disparity between left hand hitters and
right hand power. Boston provides the only instance where right hand SLG% is greater. (And has always
been known as a right hand hitter’s haven.)

Table 3.1.3. No. of occurrences by Team
Extra Base Hits 1936-49                        Doubles >=25 Triples >=8 Homeruns >=10
Team Park                                       B    L      R      B L R         B        L R
BOS      Fenway Park II                             23      49         13 19              9 38
BRO Ebbets Field                                3   22      22      1 14 11      1       14 15
BSN      Braves Field                               13      17          9  2             17 10
CHA Comiskey Park                               2   15      23      2 12 12               6 8
CHN Wrigley Field                               3   22      16      5   9  7     3        8 13
CIN      Crosley Field                              10      25         14  2             14 27
CLE      Cleveland Stadium                           3      4           4                 6 8
CLE      League Park II/Cleveland Stadium       1   23      25         14 14     1       22 13
DET Briggs Stadium                              1   14      17      1 12 7       3       14 22
DET Navin Field                                 2    4      5           2  2              3 6
NY1      Polo Grounds IV                            14      15          8  6             33 23
NYA Yankee Stadium I                                21      23         15 20             43 33
PHA Shibe Park/Connie Mack                          19      22         13 9               2 32
PHI      Baker Bowl                             1    3      2           1                 5 2
PHI      Baker Bowl/Shibe Park                  1    0      1       0   0  0     0        0 0
PHI      Shibe Park/Connie Mack                 1    5      14          5  5              6 19
PIT      Forbes Field                           2   16      21      4 17 12      1        9 18
SLA      Sportsman's Park IV                    1   19      32      1   6 12             20 28
SLN      Sportsman's Park IV                    6   28      31      4 24 13      1       27 17
WS1      Griffith Stadium I                         27      11         31  7             12 5
Note 1: Includes all road statistics. Assumes normality of split in home/away statistics.

         Fenway Park shows a dramatic difference between right hand and left hand players in regard to
doubles and home runs. In 1941, Yankee Stadium (.492) and Fenway Park (.493) were influenced by righty
Joe DiMaggio and lefty Ted Williams. Both would vie for the AL MVP with a 56-game hitting streak for
Joe and .406 batting average for Ted.
         Crosley Field reflects this same type of bias. Griffith Stadium bias toward lefties is extreme in that
it includes a huge difference for acquiring triples, with the 30-foot wall providing odd bounces that gave
the right fielders fits. Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium has the largest disparity in home run
accumulation. The 32 feet wall in right field at ‘The Mack’ might have been the culprit behind the
difference and the acquiring of power lefties.

The Stadium
In 1936, the Yankees had 1B Lou Gehrig (49 home runs), 3B Red Rolfe (39 2B, 15 3B, 10 HR), RF
George Selkirk (28,9,18) and C Bill Dickey (.362) providing the left hand punch to post a .580 SLG% as
the Yankees continued their usual dominance of the fall classic 4-2 over the New York Giants. Selkirk,
Gehrig and Dickey hit 5 home runs in the World Series. On the right side, a rookie CF named Joe
DiMaggio hit a healthy 29 home runs and tied Rolfe with 15 league- leading triples while hitting .323 in the
regular season and .346 in the now fall vacation for the Yankees, World Series time.
        The baton had past – and the glory of Yankee Stadium was only coming into its own. Opened on
April 18, 1923 with the Yankees taking on the Red Sox, Babe Ruth hit the first dinger out of the yard that
                                                     159

carried his name until 2009. Located at East 161st Street and River Avenue in the Bronx, ‘The House That
Ruth Built’ became the most imposing, venerated, and championship-laden ballpark in America as 26
baseball championships came under the roof.
         The two colonels, Ruppert and Huston, made their play for a separate field after it became
apparent the Giants’ Polo Grounds would no longer be available to them. (Outdrawing your host tends to
rub these competitive folks raw.) They put $600,000 together and bought the land from William Waldorf
Astor of New York hotel fame. Ground broke in May 1922, and in only 11 months, the stadium was
opened. They also won the American League and World Series title in 1923. (Repeated this in 2009.)
         Yankee Stadium was one of the first baseball dwellings to acquire ‘stadium status.’ As the first
three-tiered sporting field, the stadium had quirky designs for the intention of multiple uses. Installed was
a strange quarter mile track – that ushered in warning tracks for outfielders – and the left and right field
bleachers were set ninety degrees to each other, obviously envisioning football games.
         The massive left of centerfield region, nicknamed ‘Death Valley’ appropriately, would place fans at
least 461 feet away in left-center and over 490 feet in straightaway center. The phrase – “out in left field” –
came about due to the New Yorkers who sat in these 20/10 vision seats.
         The stadium saw various revisions – including the massive overhaul in the early 1970s that closed it
for two seasons – shortening of the fences, placing Monument Park in center “out of play”, and seating
reductions for purposeful ways to get people in the park, and even the famous façade or “frieze” being
reduced in the design, and painted white.
         But the stadium lives on in the minds of the millions that attended it for boxing matches, football
battles, religious conventions, concerts and rallies for freedom and prosperity. On September 23, 2001, the
Yankees hosted the memorial to the victims of 9/11 with President George W. Bush tossing the first
strike. And while the house built for Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Jackson, Jeter, and Rodriguez has
closed, the memories live on.

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright: Artful Symmetry in Navin/Briggs/Tiger Stadium
In 1939, Detroit’s 2B Charlie Gehringer and LF Earl Averill pace their left side to a .473 slugging
percentage. Unfortunately, even with 1B Hank Greenberg’s 33 home runs and Rudy York’s solid catching
and hitting (20 HRs) from the right side, the Tigers would only manage a 81-73 record, a 5th place showing
in Navin Field/Briggs Stadium.
         The Tigers had just finished their best stretch of play since a guy name Cobb was prowling the
base paths. From 1934-1937, they won two pennants and finished second to the Yankees in ’36 and ’37.
However, unlike the Yankees, the Tigers home digs were a hodge-podge of renovations, name changes,
and threatened abandonment.
         In opening during the first great ballpark building era in 1912, Navin Field could hold
approximately 23,000 fans with a covered grandstand. The park was located at Michigan and Trumbull, on
the prior home of the Tigers – Bennett Park. But the new digs did not achieve the same success others had
in this ballpark-building heyday. Whereas Shibe Park, Forbes Field, and Fenway Park played host to World
Series almost upon their inception, the Tigers would have to wait until the 1930s, a change of owners, and
added touches to make their appearance in October with a now two-decade old park.
         In 1923, coinciding with the Yankees massive opening, Navin Field was also expanded with a
second deck, and a press box added into the mix. Still, no fortune smiled. In 1935, Walter Briggs came
along at the moment when the team was finely tuned under Mickey Cochrane’s guidance and baseball gifts.
In ’36, the park was expanded to its full double-decker glory with a quirky right field modification that had
the upper deck over hang the short porch of only 325 feet. Many a lefty enjoyed that quirk.
         Lights were installed in 1948 – the last American League ballpark to put them in use. After the
wrap around deck was completed, going completely out of the yard happened only 27 times, with Cecil
                                                    160

Fielder and Harmon Killebrew being amongst the names of lore. Reggie Jackson banged one off the right
field light standard in the 1971 All-Star game.
         From the 1970s forward, a battle was waged to demolish the ballpark, or keep its glory in a fading
city. With Tom Mohaghan taking the ownership reigns (of Domino’s fame), he enjoyed the last
championship of the Detroit Tigers in 1984. But Mohaghan was also desirous of a new place to call home
– and soon enough, after his departure – this storied relic of the Taft era would fall to the wrecking ball.
         But its legacy shone brightest in the days of Greenburg, Cochrane, and Gehringer, artful symmetry
in building it, or not.

                   A Bleacher View of Navin/Tiger Stadium in the 1990s (Rick Dikeman)




Ebbets Field: Home of Bums and Ballplayers in a Bittersweet Symphony
In 1941, 1B Dolf Camilli would lead the Brooklyn bums to their first pennant in 21 years, pacing the left
hand side with a .507 SLG% and a league-leading 34 dingers. His cohort in crime, CF “Pistol Pete” Reiser,
led the league in batting average (.343), doubles (39), and triples (17).
         Built on a miniscule garbage dump plot in Brooklyn, known affectionately as Pigstown, Ebbets
Field would play host to the memorable, the laughable, the iconic, and the heartbreaking. Cozy, and filled
with Brooklynese, the home ball team spent most of their first thirty seasons since Ebbets’ opening at the
bottom of the National League. Base running blunders, outfield adventures, drunkard pitching, and fans
with frying pans, cowbells, and symphonic aspirations – playing “Three Blind Mice” to the umps’
introduction – kept a lively atmosphere in many a dead-men-walking seasons.

       A Few Top Moments:
              3 Men, One Base: August 15, 1926, Babe Herman hits a bases-loaded long drive where he
       winds up on third with two teammates that forgot how to run. Pitcher Dazzy Vance started on
       second and advanced barely 120 feet forward while Herman had sprinted over 270 feet. Chick
       Fewster was the third man in this pickle.
              She Wore A Yellow Ribbon: The baseballs on August 2, 1938 were yellow by design.
       The change was despised; but softball incorporated the idea to more success.
              Lights, Camera, Action: August 26, 1939, Red Barber announced the 1st televised game
       between Cincinnati and Brooklyn. The New York Times stated, “Television set owners as far as fifty
       miles away viewed the action and heard the roar of the crowd.”
                                                    161

                Vander Meer Strikes Twice: Second consecutive no-hitter on June 15, 1938 at night.
                1947, Almost Heaven And Hell Together: Most influential for the first season of
       Robinson, the Brooklyn appearance in the World Series against the Yankees and televising of the
       fall classic. Game 4, October 3, 1947, Brooklyn pitcher Bevens takes a no-no to the ninth, loses on
       a Cookie Lavagetto double with two runners on. (Bevens walked a small village in the game.)
       Season ends without a championship. “Wait ‘til next year,” mantra adopted.




              Famous Façade of Ebbets Field (Library of Congress, Bain Collection)

        The Bums after 1947 became The Boys of Summer – winning magnificently and losing in historic
fashion – while winning Abe Stark suits (hit the 3’ x 30’ sign, Win a Suit!) and gulping down Schaefer Beer.
They left Brooklynites heartbroken after winning their lone championship in 1955, exiting stage West.

Cleveland Stadium: The Mistake By The Lake
Two years after the war, Sportsman’s Park saw LF Stan “The Man” Musial lead the league in batting (.376)
while hitting 39 home runs. RF Enos Country Slaughter batted .321 with a respectable .470 SLG%. But
the usually pennant-bound Cardinals came in second to the Boston Braves, who were led by Johnny Sain
(24 wins, 2.60 ERA) and Warren Spahn (15, 3.71) to face the Cleveland Indians. The Braves had the
fewest home runs (32) at their home park, while allowing only 40.
        Their opponents, the 1948 Indians had pitching and hitting with Bob Lemon (20 wins, 2.82 ERA),
Bob Feller (19, 3.56) and knuckleballer Gene Bearden, in his miracle season (20 wins, walking more than
he struck out while leading the AL in ERA), to go with right-hand mashers ex-Yankee 2B Joe Gordon
(.507), CF Larry Doby (.490) and 3B Ken Keltner (.522 SLG in a career year) which was unusual for most
                                                 162

seasons since League Park & Cleveland Stadium’s appropriation of games began in the 1930s. (League for
six days, with Cleveland on the Sabbath.)
         The weekend-only Cleveland Stadium’s oval, deep-roofed, double-decked grandstand extended
around past the foul poles before giving way to naked bleachers, which were originally 463’ from home
plate in the power alleys. The park was a pitcher’s delight.




         The Other Park: League Park in Cleveland – Had a short porch in right field guarded by 45-
                  foot wall. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

        An inner fence was installed in April 1947, cutting the distance for most home runs by over 40
feet, and fine tuning shortened the outfield up even more, making the park play fair with respect to
scoring, and somewhat favorable for home runs. The 48’ Indians hit 77 home runs at home; 78 home runs
on the road, both totals were tops in the American League as the schedule was completely moved to
Cleveland Stadium.
        The Tribe set a major-league attendance record in Cleveland Stadium of 2.6 million in 1948 in
going to the 1948 World Series. In a close result (each team had 4 home runs, 17 runs, 16 RBIs), the
Indians beat the Braves 4-2 in the first “Native American” series. Pitcher Gene Bearden finished the
World Series with 10 2/3 innings pitched without allowing an earned run, with a win, a save and a .500
batting average in the pinnacle of his middling career.
        Six years later, on September 12, 1954, the largest crowd in American League history (84,587)
watched an Indians-Yankees game. That year, the Indians had the best team assembled since the New
                                                         163

York Yankees of the late 1930s. (While the 1940s Cardinals, as discussed, took advantage of the wartime
service of ballplayers, which unduly affected the balance of competition. 1942 National League batting
dropped 9 points and slugging by 18 points from the previous year.)
        The 1954 Indians had the batting champion (Avila – .341), home run & RBI leader (Doby – 32,
126), co-leaders in wins (Wynn & Lemon – 23) and ERA king (Garcia – 2.64). Nothing seemed
improbable until they played the New York Giants, losing four straight – with Dusty Rhodes providing the
punch while Willie Mays asserted his fielding supremacy with The Catch.
        As dominating as those Indians were, their potential for dynasty was for naught, as the Yankees
came back to 1st place in the ensuing two seasons, while Cleveland finished a close second, 3 games and 9
games back. The Indians’ home park would never see another World Series – and garnered the moniker,
‘The Mistake’ – as it stayed empty during the darkest days of the Cleveland franchise. It would be 41 years
before the Indians would see first place again, just after the 1994 World Series was not played and ‘The
Jake’ was built to renew interest and ball team glory. (See: Taft Era, Hitting.)

Best Winners: Not Always World Series Winners
The 1939 Yankees may be the single most dominating team – since they outscored their opponents by 411
runs, won over 105 games (pre-162 game schedule), and swept the World Series against the upstart
Cincinnati Reds. Only the 1927 Yankees produced a similar disparity across the board. In recent years,
1998 Yankees are clearly the cream of the crop – coming close to the 2 runs per game disparity level, and
winning 114 contests.

Table 3.1.4. Best 18 Teams by Wins – 106 Regular Season wins or more
                                                        R            HR     R-Diff      WS
Year   Team                      G     W     R     RA Diff HR HRA    Diff   Per G      Win
1904   New York Giants          158   106   744    476 268 31 36      -5     1.70    Not Played
1906   Chicago Cubs             155   116   705    381 324 20 12      8      2.09       No
1907   Chicago Cubs             155   107   574    390 184 13 11      2      1.19       Yes
1909   Pittsburgh Pirates       154   110   699    447 252 25 12     13      1.64       Yes
1927   New York Yankees         155   110   975    599 376 158 42    116     2.43      Yes
1931   Philadelphia Athletics   153   107   858    626 232 118 73    45      1.52       No
1932   New York Yankees         156   107   1002   724 278 160 93    67      1.78       Yes
1939   New York Yankees         152   106   967    556 411 166 85     81     2.70      Yes
1942   St. Louis Cardinals*     156   106   755    482 273 60 49     11      1.75       Yes
1954   Cleveland Indians*       156   111   746    504 242 156 89    67      1.55       No
1961   New York Yankees         163   109   827    612 215 240 137   103     1.32       Yes
1969   Baltimore Orioles        162   109   779    517 262 175 117   58      1.62       No
1970   Baltimore Orioles        162   108   792    574 218 179 139   40      1.35       Yes
1975   Cincinnati Reds          162   108   840    586 254 124 112   12      1.57       Yes
1986   New York Mets            162   108   783    578 205 148 103   45      1.27       Yes
1998   New York Yankees         162   114   965    656 309 207 156    51     1.91      Yes
1998   Atlanta Braves           162   106   826    581 245 215 117   98      1.51       No
2001   Seattle Mariners         162   116   927    627 300 169 160    9      1.85       No


Comiskey Park: If You Can’t Beat ‘em, Annoy ‘em
During those World War II years (1942-46), no team posted their best slugging averages from either hand.
In Comiskey Park, batters from either side of the dish were truly appalling. The Chicago White Sox had
three .220 hitters in 1943 and two Mendoza-line haunters in 1944, while posting slugging averages of .330,
.327, .273 during that time. (1970s 2B/SS Mario Mendoza played for the Pirates, Mariners, Rangers, and
                                                     164

amassed a .215 BA and .262 SLG in his nearly 1,400 plate appearances. The Mendoza line is actually .215,
not .200).
         Opened on July 1, 1910, the Comiskey name had been at the forefront of baseball dealings since
the 1880s. Now it had a ballpark to honor it – and the Sox of the day were healthy, and full of talent,
pitching mostly. Pitchers like Ed Walsh, Ed Cicotte, Red Faber, Hoyt Wilhelm, Tommy John, and Ted
Lyons, would take advantage of the best grounds crew ever to tarp a field: the Bossards.
         Roger, Emil, and Gene Bossard did what Sox’s teams normally could not – create a balanced
playing field. In 1967, Chi Sox manager and Leo Durocher’s favorite pest Eddie Stanky asked for and
employed a half-field cut maneuver: the grass in front of shortstop was left long because Stanky’s
shortstop had limited range; but in front of the second basemen, the grass was cut short because the Sox
keystone cop had very good range. The area in front of home plate garnered the name “Camp Swampy”
that same year because it was dug up and soaked with water when White Sox sinkerball pitchers were on
the mound - guys like Gary Peters, Joe Horlen, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Tommy John. However, the same spot
was mixed with clay and gasoline and burnt to provide a concrete pad, if a sinkerballer was starting for the
opposing team. Frozen baseballs were not out of the question for the pale hose men’s groundskeepers.
         Opposing teams’ bullpen mounds were lowered or raised from the standard 10-inch height to upset
visiting pitchers’ mechanics. When the Sox had a lousy defensive outfield, the grass was cut long to turn
triples into doubles. Whenever the Sox had speedy line drive hitters, the outfield grass was cut short to
turn singles hopefully into leg doubles. Whenever the Sox had good bunters, more paint was added to the
foul line in order to tilt the ball back fair. (They used tamped down firehoses for a good while too.)
         Owner Bill Veeck added noise to the picture, installing an exploding scoreboard in 1960. Disco
night in the late 1970s turned into a fan riot, then a game forfeit. Organist Nancy Faust annoyed with “Na,
Na, Na, Na” as fans watched many a team struggle from 1920 to 2004.
         But all those tricks could not save Comiskey as it was bulldozed in 1990. The infield dirt was
transplanted to Comiskey II/U.S. Cellular Field. And in 2005, the annoying guys in black put a
championship on the board. Yes!

Table 3.1.5. Hitting Dominance
Park                               HR Dom   Overall Dom   Notes
Baker Bowl                         L        L             280’ RF, 60’ wall
Braves Field                       L        L             319’ RF
Griffith Stadium I                 L        L             320’ RF, 30’ wall
League Park II/Cleveland Stadium   L        L             290’ RF
Ebbets Field                       L        L             297’ RF, 38’ Wall
Polo Grounds IV                    L        L             255’, 30.5’ Wall
Yankee Stadium I                   L        N             296’ RF
Cleveland Stadium                  N        N             Uniform Dimensions
Comiskey Park                      N        N             Uniform Dimensions
Sportsman's Park IV (2 teams)      N        N             310’ RF, 37’ Wall
Navin Field/Briggs Stadium         R        N             440’ CF, low walls
Wrigley Field                      R        N             Wind aided to LF
Crosley Field                      R        R             328’ LF
Fenway Park II                     R        R             310’ LF, 37’ Wall
Forbes Field                       R        R             300’ RF, opposite of power
Shibe Park                         R        R             334’ LF
                                                               165

The Forbes Counter Effect
Forbes Field provides the only instance where the ballpark distance to the RF was not indicative of LH
players hitting for power. Currently, without home/away statistics to accurately portray ballplayers in these
ballparks, this analysis is to reflect the realistically high probability that ballparks can significantly help
slugging ballplayers. That given fence distance, wall heights, winds and pitchers faced, most hitters
conform to the quirks at their home park. (Since 50% of games are played there.) With some effort, we
most likely would see LH and/or RH Hitters enjoying ballparks most similar to their home parks and
performing slightly below par in ballparks contrary to their natural swing.

                                             Forbes Field exterior in its early days




     On May 25, 1935, Babe Ruth hit 3 home runs in Forbes. The last one cleared the Right Field roof – and
     possibly was the longest hit ball in the parks’ history.31 Forbes hosted zero no-hitters in 4,728 games and
      had the farthest backstop 110 feet. (Storied Stadiums, Curt Smith. pg. 74) (Picture: Library of Congress)

        Of course these exceptions occur. Ballplayers have adapted over time and sacrificed pull power for
contact, or utilized gaps or defensive flaws to their momentary advantage. But even with that advanced
thought process, a player has spend thousands of times doing what is most natural to their specific talents

31
 Ritter Lawrence, Honig Donald. The Image of Their Greatness: An Illustrated History of Baseball from 1900 to the Present. New
York: Crown Publishers, Inc; 1984. 156.
                                                               166

in batting and will most likely tend to do that everywhere they play the game. That will explain partly
hitter’s struggles in road parks, or newly found home confines that were altered to gain a specific
advantage: such as wall heights and fence distance.
         As Bill Veeck opined: “Usually it has to do with the architecture of your park…I had shrewdly
deduced that as a control pitcher, Cal [McLish] had been unable to pitch in the small Cincinnati park but
would [pitch well]…in our big Chicago park…I was wrong.”32 This goes to the old idea that no one can
determine what the results will be in baseball. It is just a matter of chance; and the good luck of design.

19th Century Jewels
Ballparks became the jewels of many franchises due to the ambience and peculiarities that resided in their
natures, not necessarily their offensive advantages. This idea goes back as far as the 1870s to Lakefront Park
in Chicago which had the first luxury “sky boxes”33 on top of the grandstand long before the one-of-a-
kind Astrodome. In Diamonds, a definitive book on ballparks, Michael Gershman reflects how this park
was built in the fable Michigan Avenue & Randolph Street area of Chicago on grounds near Illinois
Central railroad. The Chicago White Stockings (forerunners of the Cubs) were to win three straight
pennants (1880-1882) under HOF player/manager Cap Anson. As a result, the park was expanded to seat
10,000 persons around a little league-sized field (it was 180’ on the LF line and 196’ to the RF wall.) Al
Spalding soon would be owner of the gem and use a communication method out of the illustrious pages of
literature – banging a Chinese gong to request a meeting with his subordinates.34 But this was just one of
many parks built with unique dimensions, communications, advertising, concessions, pre-game events, or
other quirks to the fond remembrance of generations of fans.

The Polo Grounds
During these times, the 1st Polo Grounds came into existence. (Four times it would be rebuilt or
renovated.) Actually using a real polo playing area near Central Park, the grandstands were considered first-
rate for the era, even if the play by the teams was not always. The New York Mets (American Association)
and the New York Gothams (Giants) shared the park in the early seasons before the Gothams were forced
by a city alderman to seek another park, even after a pennant-winning season in 1888.35
         The famed Coogan’s Bluff site at 155th and Eighth Avenue was not ready till mid-season 1889, but
would become the permanent home under various renovations and see plenty of baseball history within its
bathtub-like walls. It was originally a farm granted by the British Crown in the pre-Revolutionary times to
John Lion Gardiner, whose descendant married James L. Coogan, the 1st borough president of
Manhattan.36 After a fire in 1911, the park took on the shape depicted below.
         An attempt to change the name to Brush Stadium, after owner John T. Brush was made in the
1910s, but fans did not warm to this. During most of this era, John McGraw built the perennial NL
pennant winners – but soon saw the creation of a rival, and a legend. Babe Ruth hit his 1st Yankee home
run on May 1, 1920 and it was characterized by the New York Times reporter as a ‘sockdolager’ (a decisive
blow), and was described as traveling ‘over the right field grand stand into Manhattan Field’. It was
estimated to have traveled over 500 feet.37



32
   Veeck B, Linn E. Veeck as in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck, with Ed Linn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1962.
139-140.
33
   Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 30.
34
   Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 30.
35
   Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 40-41.
36
   Mays Willie, Sahadi Lou. Say Hey: The Autobiography of Willie Mays. New York: Simon and Schuster; 1988. 71.
37
   http://www.answers.com - Various sources such as Green Cathedrals by Philip J. Lowery and Ballparks of North America by Michael
Benson were cited as their sources.
                                                  167




(Above: Jackie Robinson at bat. In a 1953 Polo Grounds battle, Jackie just finished a mighty cut.)
(Photo by: Martin J. Walsh, Jr.) (Below: Polo Grounds in action pre-1930.)
                                                                     168

       In 1947, the Giants pounded out 221 home runs (131 at home) but finished 81-73, showing it
takes more than just power to win. Over the years, only four men ever reached the centerfield stands after
the remodel of 1923: Luke Easter, Joe Adcock, Hank Aaron, and Lou Brock.




               Polo Grounds ca.192238                                              Polo Grounds ca.1923

Table 3.1.6. Various Teams of The Polo Grounds (from Answers.com)
   • Polo Grounds I
           o Giants (National League), 1883-1888
           o Mets (American Association), 1883-1885
   • Polo Grounds II (otherwise known as Manhattan Field)
           o Giants (NL), 1889-1890
   • Polo Grounds III (originally called Brotherhood Park)
           o Giants (Players' League), 1890
           o Giants (NL), 1891-1911
   • Polo Grounds IV (also known as Brush Stadium in the 1911-1919)
           o Giants (NL), 1911-1957
           o Yankees (American League), 1913-1922
           o Giants (NFL), 1925-1955
           o Bulldogs (NFL) 1949
           o Titans/Jets (AFL), 1960-1963
           o Mets (NL), 1962-1963

Final Note: No actual polo was ever played at The Polo Grounds.

Master Promoter and Entrepreneur: Scorecard Harry
Harry Moseley Stevens (1855-1934) was likely the first concessionaire of real importance to the game.
Born in (Derby) London, but soon was making steel as a puddler39 in Niles, Ohio, Stevens took the idea of
rudimentary scorecards and improved them to include detail information about players, and more
profitably, added advertising to sell to the baseball fans who were not avid readers, or utilizing of church
instruments.


38
 http://www.answers.com - Various sources such as Green Cathedrals by Philip J. Lowery and Ballparks of North
America by Michael Benson were cited as their sources.
39
     One who stirs fused metal or a device use to convert pig iron into wrought iron by melting in the presence of oxidizing substances.
                                                               169

         Through persuasive ‘Shakespearian’40 marketing, Stevens got people to buy his improved product
and his connections soon expanded. This though would have likely never taken place if not for his work
layoff in 1887, causing him to become a traveling salesman to feed his three children. By happenstance, he
went to a baseball game in Columbus, Ohio, noticed a lack of a good scorecard, and became interested in
the game. (Apocryphal, likely.) Taking a $500 flier into the baseball business of scorecards, Stevens soon
was going around the ballpark, yelling, “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.”41 (While in
England, he is alleged to have supplied milk in what was described as a catering business.)42
          Joining forces with Ralph Lazarus, a department store operator, Stevens garnered enough backing
to soon transport his idea round the eastern half of the country in the 1890s, going to Pittsburgh and
Milwaukee, among others. Soon, through good fortune, he also paired up with Ed Barrow, the future
manager of Babe Ruth, and was on his way to long-lasting success. After moving out east, Harry obtained
the rights to the New York Giants scorecard concession contract, but struggled during the 1890s when the
team was mediocre at best. Not until John McGraw took the reins of the Giants, did Steven’s multi-
faceted business turn extremely profitable. By the 1920s, Babe Ruth, at his height of popularity, called
Harry Moseley Stevens “his second dad.” Ed Barrow was now running the Yankees; and Stevens would
loan him $250,000 to purchase a 10% share of Jacob Ruppert’s new venture.43
         Harry Stevens became a food seller as well; taking at least some credit for adding the ballpark
staple – the hot dog – to his concession empire, though he was modest of his involvement and “inventive
credit” was ceded to his son, Frank. In 1907, the phrase, “Get yer red hots! Get ‘em while they’re hot!”
came to represent the call for a hot dog. (Among places famous for their deli delights – Chicago Style
Dogs and Dodger Dogs – are a prerequisite for an enjoyable afternoon game.) This hot dog phenomenon
developed via New York cartoonist Tad Dorgan, who was not completely sure about his “dachshund”
spelling, in representing the selling of Steven’s newest item. The caricature of a “dog” barking in a bun
stuck – and America now has a vital piece of its history tied to these men.
         The ‘Concessionaire’ became equally involved in cleaning great racetracks/arenas such as Churchill
Downs, Saratoga, and Madison Square Garden. At various times, Harry M. Stevens, Inc. controlled food,
beverage, and program sales at Ebbets Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Houston’s Astrodome, San
Francisco’s Candlestick Park and Shea Stadium (selling 40,000 dogs per game)44 while also designing
Holiday Inns. 45 Another of Harry’s innovations was the drinking straw. From a barker for scorecards,
Harry ‘Scorecard’ Stevens’ empire became a multi-level operation passed through four generations, and
exists on to this day, as Aramark purchased it in 1994.

19th Century Home Cooking: Oriole Park
Places like Oriole Park in the 1890s became a home for inventive ways to doctor up a playing field while
the concessions were being devoured. Orioles manager Ned Hanlon was blessed with the talents of Wee
Willie Keller, Dan Brouthers, Hugh Jennings, Joe Kelley, and John McGaw, all took these lessons in “little
ball” (small ball) to heart. The grounds were modified by Thomas J. Murphy (and his jailbird bound
brother) to accommodate some of these tricks by:
             1. Heavily chalked lines that were made to hold bunts
             2. A hard home plate area to garner “Baltimore Chops” and use speed to beat out balls
40
   Gershman Michael. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 52-53.
41
   King Paul. Harry M. Stevens: Father of Sports Foodservice. Unknown:
http://calbears.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_nSPEISS_v30/ai_18091904 - Nation’ Restarant News; Feb. 1996. Last Accessed:
April 17, 2007.
42
   Unknown. Harry’s Game - Derby prepares to commemorate the 'inventor' of the hot dog. http://www.visitbritian.com: 2006. Last
Accessed: April 17, 2007.
43
   Levitt Daniel R. Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees’ First Dynasty. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press; 2008.
319.
44
   Wolinsky Russell. Harry M. Stevens Biography. Cooperstown, New York: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library; June 2005. 10.
45
   Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 52-53.
                                                              170

              3. Pitching Mounds with soap shavings mixed in the dirt. Opposing pitchers were prone to
                 loss control of pitches due to slipperiness.
              4. Cheating in base running since one umpire was the norm. If the umpire turned away, a
                 base runner would cut the base path.
              5. Holding onto base runners’ belts rounding the base. John McGraw at 3rd did this often.
              6. Shining mirrors, base coaches pretending to be runners at 3rd breaking for the plate, and
                 the usual chants and taunts at opposing players.46

        Other attempts at subterfuge included ‘allegedly’ hiding balls in the purposefully high outfield grass
whereby any Oriole player could pick up what was handy instead of the ‘live ball.’47 The psychological
advantage was likely as strong as any real ones in these attempts to win games at all costs.
        Oriole Park was no safe haven and soon the Baltimore Orioles were winning pennants (1894-
1896), appearing in five straight Temple Cups (a precursor to the World Series) and packing happy fans
into the ballpark at 250,000 per season. Their home-away records are a microcosm of their dominance
courtesy of the Murphy Brothers. From 1894-1898 they racked up a 188-141 away record, good for .571
clip. But at home, they ran up a 264-73 record, a .783 clobbering of teams.48
        As Peter Morris of Level Playing Fields reflects, the Orioles mirrored an American drive to excel at
nearly any cost, while ignoring “good form” and expanding the rules to fit exactly the occurrences that
took place on the field.49 (As discussed in the Grant Era and Pitching – rule modifications were
numerous.) Etiquette, as Americans often portray from a British bent, was absent from the Irish-heritage
dominant game that was existent in the late 19th century professional baseball.
        By the end of this Baltimore-winning era, umpires were objects of defilement and disparagement.
One man could barely handle the mob actually playing the game, and the fans intensified their antics,
causing injury, and likely, encouraged many an ump to make for a quick retirement from the task. (Or to
go on the payroll of the most convincing man, or team owner.)
        Yet, most of the tactics seen in the ‘Oriole game’, were just an expansion of, and a copying of,
much of the same tactics employed by their cruder progenitors of the sport.50 Midwest teams such as
Chicago and St. Louis went further, and Chicago, got much of the same success. Peter Morris pulls this
quote from Baltimore 3rd sacker John McGraw:
        ‘“We never thought up such advantages on the basis of sportsmanship or lack of it. I had trained
        myself from the earliest days to think up little and big things that might be anticipated by the rule
        changes next year. With us, only the written rules counted, and if you could come up with
        something not covered by the rules, you were ahead of slower-thinking opposition by at least a full
        season.”’51

        Even with all their successes, the Orioles would go dormant in the majors until other historic
franchises fell on bad times.



46
   Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 59.
47
   Morris Pete. Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeepin Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of
Nebraska Press; 2007. 36.
48
   Morris Pete. Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeepin Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of
Nebraska Press; 2007. 36.
49
   Morris Pete. Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeepin Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of
Nebraska Press; 2007. 36-37.
50
   Morris Pete. Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeepin Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of
Nebraska Press; 2007. 37.
51
   Morris Pete. Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeepin Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of
Nebraska Press; 2007. 37-38.
                                                           171

Griffith Stadium: Home to the Washington Senators, First in War, Last in the AL




                                        (Picture: Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

         A storied franchise that lasted 60 years, moved to Minnesota, came back into being as an
expansion club, only to move to Texas within three presidential terms, the Senators designed a quirky park
that saw all-time greats from Walter Johnson to Josh Gibson to Harmon Killebrew shine. Even the false
rumors, such as a Fidel Castro sighting in a tryout (Fidel actually was in Cuba when he tried out for
famous Senator scout Joe Cambria52), certainly made the nation’s capital a bi-polar place to see games, with
the long droughts, brief, huge successes, amid racial underpinnings and lukewarm appeal.
         As a star ex-Cub pitcher, Clark Griffith defined what the turn of the century pitcher was. When he
took over as manager of the Senators in 1912, with Walter Johnson throwing bee-bees on the mound, the
franchise fortunes turned northward and fans came to the park thereafter. They won their lone World
Series (1924) with Griffith as the owner, after inserting player-manager Bucky Harris into the mix. To go
alongside “The Big Train” in Johnson, another heat thrower, Firpo Marberry, was likely the first relief ace
for the Senators, utilizing a deep leftfield power alley and a centerfield that jutted in and out around a
house, and a lone tree. Right field was a short distance of 320 feet guarded by a 30’ concrete barrier. The
grandstand behind the plate was lower than the either deck along the foul lines, giving it another quirk, but
little appeal.
         The golden era of the Senators ran from 1924-1933, going to three post-season appearances. Even
during the Great Depression, Washington’s attendance was above average – 3rd in 1929 and 2nd in 1933 to
the Yankees – but dropped off considerably (5th) after their final World Series appearance in 1933. After
52
     Kerrane Kevin. Dollar Sign on The Muscle. New York: Beaufort Books, Inc.; 1984. 15.
                                                                 172

finishing top-division for a decade, they spent much of the next 27 seasons looking way up in the
standings. But with a lack of winning came experiments in financial solvency and faux integration.
        Clark Griffith took willingly to sharing his ballpark with the Homestead Grays of the Negro
Leagues and marveling at the majestic drives of Joshua Gibson. From many reports, the stadium saw
better crowds with Negro League teams than with the Senators. The symbiotic relationship forged in the
late 1930s and throughout the 1940s ultimately became a divisive issue after Clark Griffith died in 1955.
During this same era, Clark Griffith was inclined to hire Cuban players as the table below reflects.

Table 3.1.6. Cuban-born players that played for the Senators before 1947
Year   Position           Name                       Hits AB BA Wins Seasons
1913   OF                 Jack Calvo                  9   56 0.161      2
1913   OF                 Merito Acosta               60 267 0.225      5
1920   C/1B               Ricardo Torres              11  37 0.297      3
1920   P                  Jose Acosta                 8   55 0.145 10   2
1926   P                  Emilio Palmero              1    3 0.333  2   1
1935   3B/OF              Bobby Estalella            196 709 0.276      2
1937   C                  Mike Guerra                 99 434 0.228      4
1938   P/OF               Rene Monteagudo             20  77 0.260  3   2
1941   OF                 Roberto Ortiz              184 720 0.256      7
1944   P                  Baby Ortiz                  1    6 0.167  0   1
1944   P/1B/2B/3B/SS      Gil Torres                 320 1271 0.252 0   4
1944   3B                 Luis Suarez                 0    2 0.000      1
1944   P                  Sandy Ullrich               7   25 0.280  3   2
1944   2B/SS              Preston Gomez               2    7 0.286      1
1945   P                  Armando Roche               0    1 0.000  0   1
1945   OF                 Jose Zardon                 38 131 0.290      1

         Later, his son Calvin felt the increasing percentage of African Americans in the capital were
counterproductive to attendance at his aging ballpark which had seen little change from the Great
Depression through WWII. (Only lights were installed for the first night game: May 28, 1941.53) As a
result, within five seasons, Calvin moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, a heavily Scandinavian area, and
would own the Twins when the Washington Senators (II) played their final game at Griffith Stadium,
losing 6-3. Another fairly sterile ballpark, RFK Stadium, took its place.

Crosley Field: Home of the Innovators and Originators
        While Griffith Stadium had little curbside appeal, even in the nation’s capital, Crosley Field (1912-
1970), was filled with field quirks, hallmark moments, and historic names. Opening in April 11, 1912,
originally known as Redland Field (before the franchise was sold to Powel Crosley, Jr. during the Great
Depression), this National League ballpark would be site to both baseball’s biggest failure (the 1919 World
Series and the Black Sox scandal) and the beginnings of baseball’s nighttime successes.
        The Cincinnati Redlegs, or Reds, had a glorious team history going back to the Civil War days at
Findlay and Western Avenues in Cincinnati. At the turn of the century, the president of the Reds, Garry
Herrmann (1859-1931) was a powerful captain of industry (a sausage king) that just so happened to run
baseball team. His lasting legacy to the game began with election to head the three-headed National
Commission in 1903 and settling the dispute to play a “World Series” in Cincinnati on January 10, 1903.
For that he is known as the “Father of the World Series.” 54 Under Herrmann’s leadership, a new ballpark

53
  Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 156.
54
  Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 35.
                                                                 173

was commissioned to replace the decade-old, but too small and cozy “Palace of the Fans”55 at a cost of
$400,000.56
         Designed by Harry Hake, it represented a trend to steel and concrete ballparks started in
Philadelphia and Chicago from 1909-1914. Though lacking in architectural flourishes, unlike the Palace of
the Fans’ Greek and Roman-inspired grandstand, Redland/Crosley Field design was more influenced from
an inside view and by groundskeeper extraordinaire Matty Schwab (1880-1970).
         Schwab had worked under his father in the 1890s, but would be the driving force behind field
operations for more than 60 seasons. He originated a simple scoreboard design for the Reds that was later
used in Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. The position bases, strapped and spiked to the
ground, were also of his design.57 Such quirks like the “terrace” in left field (and later, the whole outfield),
was challenging for visiting outfielders as they stumbled back and up a slight incline, making every deep fly
an adventure, were a Schwabian design. (The incline started 20 feet from the left field wall and gradually
increased until it reached a four feet grade at the wall. Originally, the dimensions at Redland Field were 360
feet (right and left) and 420 feet (in center).58
         In 1938, the fences were shortened up so no part of the park was over 400 feet – and centerfield
was a power alley friendly 375 feet.59 Ground rules were written on the outfield fences, the only park with
that oddity.60 And classically, beyond the outfield fences laid various businesses, such as: The Crow
Engineering Co., Lackner Signs & Clocks, and Superior Laundry & Towel Supply. These businesses, and
the park itself, flooded in 1937 and 1940 when the Ohio River reached historic flood levels, causing a
tributary to flood the stadium to the tune of 21 feet above home plate.61 The team was also drowning in
success at the moment.
         Leland Stanford McPhail Sr. (1890-1975) was an enterprising minor league executive hired to
revitalize the Cincinnati team in 1933. He took over a then faltering franchise, owned for a short while by
Sidney Weil, but put up for sale to anyone willing to buy it during those difficult times. Radio and home
appliance mogul Powel Crosley was such a man.
         With Crosley’s blessing, the introduction of night baseball by MacPhail was derided by the
opposing franchises as impractical, dangerous, and fan adverse.62 Night baseball had been tried before at
Cincinnati in 1909 and in plenty of minor league venues and Negro League contests. The usual complaints
came from the technology – the lighting was difficult to direct and often bulbs blew – however, to entice
fans with a new innovation was what MacPhail saw in the stars. So unique, that on May 24, 1935, President
Roosevelt was drawn into the kickoff event as the official switching of the lights took place via the West
Wing. Babe Ruth missed playing a game under the lights by two days. The Reds in seven night games
drew 130,337 while only drawing 317,910 in 69 day games. 63 The experiment had worked well.


55
   Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 28-30.
56
   Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 40.
57
   Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 48-49.
58
   BallparksofBaseball.com. Past Ballparks. Unknown: http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com; 2007. Last accessed: August 18, 2007.
59
   Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 95.
60
   Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 129.
61
   Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 85.
62
   Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 78.
63
   Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 79-81.
                                                                 174




Crosley Field with the hill at the wall and linen service in left field. (Darth and Paul Bengal)

        Crosley also hosted various Negro League franchises, including Alex Pompez’s Cuban Stars (1921)
and Syd Pollock’s Clowns (1940s), with fans bring their own meals and players having to find other ways
to dress since the locker rooms were off limits. This was likely prompted by “a tolerance” that existed for
over a decade. Pollock’s Clowns were also known for their fantastic Harlem Globetrotteresque shows,
including a catcher using a rocking chair, shadow ball, and King Tut – a pitcher, and leading Clown.
        As the first Cuban-born pitcher in the majors, Adolfo Luque (1914-1935) pitched for the Reds to
the tune of 154-152 record in over 2,668 innings, leading the league in losses (23) and wins (27) in back-to-
back seasons in the 1920s. He also appeared in the 1919 World Series, pitching five shutout innings. The
Cincinnati Reds had utilized Cuban born players 3B Rafael Almeida, OF Armando Marsans, C Mike
Gonzalez, OF Manuel Cueto from 1911 forward – with Senator’s Clark Griffith as the their early manager.

          By the 1960s, Crosley was modified by the impending development of the Cincinnati area. The
original façade was painted white. And the Western Avenue area past the outfield was designed for other
uses. Crosley’s days were marked by a second generation of ballpark builds.
         Over the years, the Reds’ fans saw greats such as Edd Roush, Adolfo Luque, Johnny Vander Meer,
Ewell Blackwell, Joe Nuxhall, Ted Kluszewski, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench,
and Joe Morgan grace the field for the Reds. Satchel Paige, along with eighteen Hall of Famers, would
appear in Satchel’s only MLB All-Star game in the last one held at Crosley Field in 1953.64 On July 14,
1970, during the grand opening of Riverfront Stadium, Pete Rose would take out catcher Ray Fosse in the
1st All Star game held in the new Cincinnati home ballpark.



64
  Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 134.
                                                   175




Shibe Park (renamed Connie Mack Stadium) was home to the Philadelphia A’s until their move to
 Kansas City in 1955 and to the Phillies from 1938 to 1970. Ben Shibe and Connie Mack led the
 building boom of concrete and steel parks in the first decade of the 20th century. Stately, almost
   White House like, aside from 1911-1915 and 1929-1931, a place that rarely housed winners.
    (Photo Above: Courtesy of the Library of Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection.)




Baker Bowl: Home to Philadelphia’s “other team”, the Phillies, and host to many of their 10,000 losses in
MLB history. From 1895 to 1938, 3,595 losses or 81.9 per 154-game season in most seasons occurred. The
Phillies won only one pennant in 1915 in what was considered by many the most offense-favored park in
baseball history. The short, right field distance (280’) was guarded by a formidable 60-foot obstacle made
out of masonry, wood, and a metal pipe-and-wire screen. Later, the right field wall read, “The Phillies Use
Lifebuoy” only to become an oft cry of derision, “and they still stink!” Centerfield had a partially
submerged railroad tunnel under it. The Bowl was finally abandoned midway through the 1938 season.
(Picture: An early picture of the Baker Bowl, pre-60 foot wall. Library of Congress, Bain Collection.)
                                                                176

More Baker Bowl facts from online site, www.answers.com:

         “During its tenure, the park also hosted Negro League games, including those of the Hilldale
         Daisies and Negro League World Series games from 1924-1926. It was during a 1929 exhibition
         with a Negro League team that Babe Ruth hit two home runs that landed about halfway into the
         rail yards across the street in right. (As per game participant HOF Judy Johnson, cited in The Year
         Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs, by Bill Jenkinson, 2006.)
                  Until the mid-twenties, field care costs were kept to a minimum with three sheep who
         grazed on the grass on non-game days.
                  Babe Ruth played his last major league baseball game in the Baker Bowl on May 30, 1935.
         Coincidentally, Ruth made his first World Series appearance in Baker Bowl in 1915 playing for the
         Boston Red Sox.”65

Master Melvin
Mel ‘Master Melvin’ Ott came up to the big leagues at seventeen. By age twenty, he was hitting 42 home
runs out of the left-hand friendly Polo Grounds, the place Babe Ruth loved before Yankee Stadium was
built. Ott played 22 seasons, retiring at the young age of 38.
         Know for his high leg kick, and as the willing target of Leo Durocher’s maxim/barb ‘nice guys
finish last’66, his death in a car accident in 1958 in New Orleans at age (49) ties him also to Ruth (53). They
both died before a new generation could fully comprehend, admire, and reward their feats. Only baseball
legend and statistical legacy continue on. And the Polo Grounds held an affinity for both their bats.

Trading Ted Williams for Joe DiMaggio?
Even though he lost 4+ years to military service, ‘The Splendid Splinter’ Ted Williams still hit more home
runs than anyone else between 1936 and 1963. Given Williams’s productivity, he easily would have
eclipsed 600 home runs for a career – good enough for 5th all-time.
         Joe DiMaggio also lost 3 seasons to the World War cause – possibly 100 home runs, and many
more. Playing in RH-adverse Yankee Stadium (402’ LF) cost him numerous home runs from his total
(361), but also added to The Yankee Clipper’s double totals (389). The two players, Williams and
DiMaggio, almost found homes in their respective rivals’ parks. As the two were bantered around (in the
spring of 1946) by Boston’s Tom Yawkey and the Yankee’s Dan Topping, Del Webb, and Larry MacPhail.
         But then Yankee GM Ed Barrow allegedly nixed the deal. (Or maybe it was the sobriety after the
fact in Tom Yawkey’s case.)
         Later, the two were traded by handshake, only to again be unraveled by the idea of throwing in a
young Yankee left fielder/catcher in Yogi Berra.67
         Given Ted’s gun usage in Fenway Park on the pigeons68, his brusque nature (towards writers), he
would have certainly fit the New York City…of the 1970s, with Reggie Jackson in the opposite field.
          DiMaggio would have had the pleasure (but also likely, resentment) of playing alongside his
younger brother Dom – and determining what position each would play. Joe’s ego may not have allowed
for a move to a corner outfield position. (But we will never know…but it is a matter for a uniquely fun
discussion. The what ifs of baseball. )



65
   Answers.com. Baker Bowl History. Unknown: www.answers.com; 2006. Last Accessed: November 2007.
66
   Ritter L, Honig D. The Image of Their Greatness: An Illustrated History of Baseball from 1900 to the Present. New York: Crown
Publishers, Inc; 1984. 217.
67
   Linn Ed. Hitter: The Life and Turmoils of Ted Williams. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company; 1993. 302-303.
68
   Linn Ed. Hitter: The Life and Turmoils of Ted Williams. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company; 1993. 105-106.
                                                       177

    3.2. Runs: Allan Roth, Dick Cramer, Bill James and Pete Palmer Formulae
Much of the story of baseball has involved the innovative inclusion of a variety of statistics to formulate
what a player or team will produce either offensively or defensively (pitching included). From those first
box scores, the comparing of skill in players has very slowly evolved from ‘tally statistics’ to ‘measuring
statistics.’ But even in this sport, as heavily wrapped up in the totaling of all things statistical, the baseball
magnates have been slow to adopt these definitive measures as the proper measure of a player’s worth,
instead relying on the late 1800s and early 1900s measurements that even some fans have come to look at
with skepticism. As such, we still look at the same box scores with a yearning for a better scale of
measurement.
         But as time has moved forward, the ability to breakdown the game into bits and pieces in order to
evaluate the player has led many men to the religious altar of statistical analysis. Their path is strewn with
complicated formulas to arrive at the orthodoxy of, “what did this player actually contribute to the team?”
The names are well known in the world of experimental baseball statisticians: Tom Boswell, Bill James,
Pete Palmer, Ted Oliver, Alfred P. Berry, Allan Roth, Dick Cramer, and Steve Mann to name a very select
few sabermetric and pre-sabermetric adherents. Their work is the foundation for new analysis – paving the
way for a new generation with faster computers and access to a wider array of information – but it is also
important to revisit their ideas, if only to compare the analyses.
         Amongst these various incarnations of formulas to further describe baseball are the run scoring
theories. Various men have developed formulated packages to relate to statistical fanatics just how runs are
created and closely tied to specific events on the field.
         In Branch Rickey’s Equation Fifty Years Later written in July 2005 by Dr. Ray C. Fair of Yale
University’s Cowles Foundation and International Center for Finance, and Danielle Catambay, also of
Yale, revisited a study done for Branch Rickey by Allan Roth in 1954. Rickey’s study determined that On-
base Percentage was an important part of offensive production and a measure of Isolated Power was
developed in the study. The overall goal of Rickey’s analysis was to determine what was important to both
offense and defense in relation to games in the standing. Fair’s and Catambay’s overall assessment is
positive for the article’s conclusions reached long before ‘stat heads’ made the current quantum leaps.
         In the 1970s, a wide array of men began to formulate other equations for runs scored. The Runs
Created (RC) formula of Bill James is a model of elegancy that could be mistaken for Dick Cramer’s
Batters Run Average (BRA). (This author did it.) Both use two statistics, primarily, as the driving forces for
scoring: On-base Percentage and Slugging Percentage.

    •   On Base % = ((Hits + BB+ HBP)/ (At-bats + BB + HBP + SF))
    •   Slugging % = ((Singles + 2* Doubles+ 3* Triples+ 4*Home Runs)/At-Bats)

BB = Walks, HBP= Hit by Pitch, SF= Sacrifice Fly (can be omitted and still achieve good results)

        These two parts are then multiplied together for the Linear Regression of Runs vs. Cramer’s BRA.
Bill James’ Model adds stolen bases, caught stealing and sac flies into the mix, but the statistics prior to
1951 are unavailable for caught stealing information.
        According to Dr. Amir D. Aczel (Complete Business Statistics, Chapters 10-11, 1999), Simple Linear
Regression contains two parameters: an intercept parameter and a slope parameter. This Linear Regression
is given by the equation:
         Y = β0 + β1X1 + ε

Linear Regression Model Assumptions:
 1. The relationship between X and Y is a straight-line relationship.
                                                                  178

     2. The values of X are assumed fixed; the only randomness in the values of Y comes from error term ε.
     3. Errors (ε) are normally distributed with a mean 0 and constant variance (σ2); the errors are
        uncorrelated.

Whereas, a k-Variable Multiple Regression Model is given by:
Y = β0 + β1X1 + β2X2 +… β kXk + ε
       Where, β0 = intercept, and each Bi, i= 1,…,k, is the slope of the regression surface.

Multiple Regression Model Assumptions:
 1. For each observation, the errors (ε) is normally distributed with a mean 0 and standard deviation (σ);
     and is independent of error terms associated with all other observations. Normal distribution plus
     noncorrelation equal is independence.
 2. Xj are fixed quantities, we assuming that we have realizations of k variables Xj and that the only
     randomness in Y comes from the error term ε.

      These statistical regression ideas were inspired by the work of Sir Francis Galton who, coincidentally,
was a cousin of Charles Darwin.69 From this statistical principle, much of baseball can be analyzed for
linear patterns and weight factors. As J.C. Bradbury writes in The Baseball Economist, “The main advantage
of regression analysis is not that we can generate correlation between two variables. The most useful
aspect of this method…is its ability to accommodate more than one explanatory factor. By including other
important determinants of an explained variable, we can know the added, or marginal, impact that each
explanatory variable has on the value of the explained variable.”70


                                    G r a p h 3 .2 .1 .T a ft E r a : 1 9 0 8 -1 9 2 1

                       1100       y = 5 4 3 0 .4 x + 6 .6 5 6 7

                       1000

                        900
         Runs (Team)




                        800

                        700

                        600

                        500

                        400

                        300
                              0                 0 .0 5                  0 .1             0 .1 5         0 .2
                                                  B R A (B a tt e r 's R u n A v e r a g e )




69
     Aczel Amir D. Complete Business Statistics. Boston: Irwin McGraw-Hill; 1999. 437.
70
     Bradbury J.C. The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed. New York: Penguin Group; 2007. 238.
                                                              179

Over the course of various eras, the accuracy of this simple equation can be assessed:

Table 3.2.1. Statistical Results of Cramer’s Formula
         Batter's Run Average (Cramer)
     ERA             Taft    Coolidge    FDR       IKE
Observations        256        224        224       234
R2                 0.7930    0.9006      0.9220   0.8547
Adjusted R2        0.7921    0.9002      0.9216   0.8540
SE                 47.75      33.81      30.87     31.58


        The Adjusted R2 shows a high correlation (or fit) to actual runs produced. And the accuracy has
improved from the IKE era (1950-1963) to modern day offenses. One possible reason the formula is less
accurate in the early days of baseball: Stolen Bases and Caught Stealing.
        In looking at the records kept in the early 1900s, base runners were consistently thrown out at a
pace non-conducive to scoring runs. In 1914, 1915, 1920 and 1921, there are numerous instances where
teams were caught stealing more than they were successful at stealing bases. (This includes the Federal
League of 1914 and 1915.) Given this trend, the years where the caught stealing number is unavailable, one
can surmise base running was not decidedly better.
        Also, if a team’s success rate is below 66%, it is assured that a negative affect will be seen on the
runs scored by the team. In this author’s opinion, only a success rate of 75% or greater provides much, if
any, benefit to a team in amassing runs. (Analysis to be seen in the LBJ Era chapter.) With this said, any
percentage below 60% will amass significantly negative runs totals, thus throwing off the accuracy of
prediction of Cramer’s equation in the Taft Era of baseball, also, the last one where stolen bases were
decidedly king.

       Dick Cramer sold the Oakland A’s the first computerized statistical service, Edge 1.000.71 (Even in
the 1970s, the A’s were ahead of other teams.) Cramer’s influence is seen in Pete Palmer and John Thorn’s
book on statistics in baseball, as a whole chapter is dedicated to his research on the clutch hitter, and
coincides with the birth of Jamesian Sabermetrics.

         With the conception of Palmer’s Linear Weights, an even more elaborate, if relatively easy to apply
to individual players (as other formulas were not so versatile in doing) was developed. Its basis is the
utilization of factors applied to each significant baseball event: the home run, double, walk or stolen base,
to name just a few. With this equation, both the individual and the team runs could be determined from
contributions made via these events. However, the changing values from time frame to frame confounded
their expected analysis. But their statistical results were superior to others’ efforts.

           Palmer’s formula assigned values to each event, where:
     •     Runs = A*(Home Runs) + B*(Triple) + C*(Double) + D*(Single) + E*(Walk/HBP)+ F*(Stolen
           Base) + G*(Caught Stealing) + H*(Outs Made)
     •     This generates a multiple regression equation, where the y-intercept is set to zero



Table 3.2.2. Palmer’s Linear Weights
71
 Palmer P, Thorn J. The Hidden Game of Baseball: A Revolution Approach to Baseball And Its Statistics. Garden City, New York:
Doubleday & Company; 1984. 51.
                                                           180

   Linear             American             National
   Weights        League (1936-2005)   League(1936-2005)
  Observations           782                  764
            R2         0.9329               0.9157
  Adjusted R2          0.9321               0.9145
            SE         28.4365              27.2430

                                           Palmer’s Linear Weights Method


                    Graph 3.2.2. American League 1936-2005

                 1100

                 1000

                  900

                  800
      RUNS




                  700

                  600

                  500

                  400

                  300
                     300                  500                    700        900               1100
                                                     Predicted Runs

         Once again, the Adjusted R2 is very high and matches well with the formulation as applied. The
ability to predict runs scored based on what the event or on-base average multiplied by slugging average is
means, at least, we should be able to reasonably project what a lineup will score, if healthy.

Meat In The Seats: Score More, Get More Money, And Win Championships?
Maybe more to the owner’s delight, the offense his team generates is tied greatly to the attendance and
profits possible for a franchise. As discussed in the previous chapter, ordinary people come to see offense,
whereas, baseball critiques and analysts are more jaded and prefer good pitching duels. But just how much
is run scoring tied to attendance, and therefore, revenue/profits? How much can we relate these two
situations together?
                                                   181

        Data for revenues streams are available from the 1990s forward thanks to several websites –
www.forbes.com, for instance – which can be put through a wide array of statistical tests in comparing
whether Run Scoring has any correlation to Attendance (or more important, revenue streams.)
        A brief analysis of teams from 1998 to 2005, chosen because of the 1994 strike season was
interrupted, reflects a modest bias toward higher scoring teams producing revenues. A total of 30 teams
were broken into 4 quartiles – to see what if any differences existed in adjusted revenues. (Adjusted
revenues uses a conversion factor found at www.aier.org (American Institute of Economic Research) to
properly adjust for 1995 (1996, 1997, et. al.) dollar value to the 2005 dollar value. (Appendix 9.3. Team
Financials 1998-2005)
        To reflect the linear relationship, a linear regression was done on those variables (Appendix 9.4.
Graph of Prorated Revenues to Attendance (1998-2005))
        For Home Attendance vs. Runs Scored from 1998-2005 the R2 equaled .263 (.237 for adjusted R2)
reflected a slightly biased for scoring generating more fans at home.

Diagram 3.2.1. Linear Regression of Runs Scored to Revenues (1998-2005)
                                                      182

    An adjusted r2 of .6565 means there is also a moderate-to-strong correlation that exists between Home
Attendance vs. Revenues. (Not a shocking revelation; though it should be realized that gate and
concession revenues are in many cases only half the total revenues generated by a baseball club. Media
contracts now outstrip the typical amounts posted by big league teams.)
        This analysis reflects the total runs scored by franchises between 1998-2005 versus revenues
generated (not adjusted for time value of money). Once again, there is a moderate correlation, Pearson
Coefficient of .5492, and one can see specific clusters representing the worst and best franchises in
baseball. The better scoring teams generate revenues above $1 Billion dollars. The worst scoring teams
(and worst win-loss records, generally) are clustered at the low end of the scale.

Diagram 3.2.2. Franchise Success Chart


                              Franchise Success Chart
         R2= .596. Not a        Revenues/Profits                       Championships
                                                                                                       R2=.97 for
         surprise that more                             Creating a                                    (Runs Scored
         fans equal more                                Brand to Market
         revenues                                                                                 - Runs Allowed) for
                                                                                                   Obtaining Regular
                                                                                                      Season Wins
                              Home Attendance                       Regular Season Wins

                                                                                                 Runs Allowed:
                                                                                                 Pitching/Defense
           Marketing of                            Off-season
           Team Successes                          Moves                                           Voros
                                                                                                 McCracken:
                                                                                                   DIPS
                                                                Runs Scored:           Pitching:          Fielding:
           Team Drafting                                        Offense R2=.90+        Keeping            Catching
           & Publicity                                                                 it in the park     the ball
                                                                     B. James
                                                                     & Palmer

             Community                                                                  Power            Positioning
             Involvement                                    Slugging      On-Base       Control          Quickness
              & Players                                      Ability                    Command          Decisions
                                                                          Ability
              Connection       General Manager,                                         Variation        Arm
                               Manager & Staff
                                                            Base Stealing/Running




This diagram reflects the relationships between parts of the game necessary to score runs, stop runs,
produce wins, vie for championships, and generate revenues. It includes the two-sided story of what teams
are facing: the ability to win on the field and the ability to generate cash flows to cover expenses and
produce profits to sooth the baseball tycoon.
         An aspect of this equation considered by professor J.C. Bradbury in The Baseball Economist is a city’s
size. In doing regression analysis, Dr. Bradbury confirmed an upward slope in the average number of wins
for teams in larger markets (teams in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) that accounted for 40% of the
                                                            183

difference between top and bottom market teams (such as Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Kansas City.)72 The
remaining 60% is due to the usual suspects: bad personnel acquired or drafted by inept front offices, or
letting go young talent in misevaluation by scouts. Overpaying average (or below standard) sabermetric
ballplayers as free agent by teams incapable of affording them is also a nemesis to smaller market
franchises looking to break through into the post-season.
         As discussed, scoring runs generates more attendance, and more revenues (r2: .596). But, without
good pitching and good defense (Run Differential r2: .97) it will not lead to more regular season wins.
Studies done by Voros McCracken led to the discussion of what constitutes great pitching versus average
pitching with considerable luck. Terms such as DIPS (Defense Independent Pitching Statistics), FIP
(Fielding Independent Pitching) and BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) were introduced into the
sabermetric baseball lexicon and are supplemented by new formulas and equations developed by both new
and veteran analysts every year. On-base percentage and slugging average are now just staples of
generating one side of the equation. The ‘remainder’ of the game has spawn experiential designs, models,
and simulations of seasonal statistics still running in the background, looking for broad acceptance.

Decision Making: Who Will Run This Show?
         On the other side of the success equation, owners can make huge shifts in the personnel running
all levels of operations. General managers decide on who will be drafted, who will be traded for and who
will be let go after their contracts are over. The marketing departments will build advertising campaigns
around the new acquisitions’ persona. Sell rights to contracts with vendors, cable companies and MLB to
generate revenues. The players are also brought in to reach out to the community, both young and old fans
alike, and bring them to the ballpark or other pay media sources. With good regular seasons, playoff
appearances, and championships every so often, the brand name of the team is made and marketing
becomes easier. And the revenues increase to the delight of the ownerships’ wallets.
         In Feeding the Monster, Seth Moonkin describes the differing thinking of CEO Larry Lucchino, and
John Henry, principle owner of the 2004 World Champions, the Boston Red Sox. “Henry thought more
attention should be paid to managers who were more sophisticated in their in-game approach. He was
most impressed by [Felipe] Alou…Lucchino emphasized how well liked – almost loved – [then bench
coach Grady] Little was among the players, and how he’d be able to relax a clearly talented…and unhappy
team.”73 As a result, Little was hired though he did not fit the philosophy that was to become the new
mantra in Boston: statistical analysis and evaluation.
         “Initially, Henry was unconvinced…Henry also feared that Little’s hunch-based approach would
be out of tune with the cutting-edge statistical analysis the team planned on incorporating…what good was
knowing what matchups or usages were likely to be most effective if the manager didn’t take advantage of
them?”74 (Little was canned after the 2003 playoff demise of the Red Sox. The hiring of Terry Francona in
2004, son of Tito Francona, has since resulted in two World Series titles.)
         The Red Sox management would hit on its other immediate hires, bringing in people that could
reflect their philosophies appropriately. Hiring a Camden Yards-experienced architect to renovation
slightly the oldest ballpark in use, Fenway, to accommodate fans better, and generate more revenues for
this century-old stadium. Going after San Diego’s talent (Lucchino’s old team) aggressively led to the
addition of Theo Epstein and Sam Kennedy, as general manager and VP of corporate development. Done
again to improve revenues and bring open-minded, Ivy League-educated, statistical types to the Boston
market.

72
     Bradbury J.C. The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed. New York: Penguin Group; 2007. 74-75.
73
   Mnookin Seth. Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts and Nerve Took a Team to the Top. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2006.
145-146.
74
   Mnookin Seth. Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts and Nerve Took a Team to the Top. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2006.
146.
                                                      184

        As a result, Boston has continued to produce huge revenues ($1.28 Billion from 1998-2005)
despite having one of the smallest ballparks (seating wise) in baseball. According to USA Today, Boston
has the highest ticket price in baseball as of this writing. But people come knowing the entertainment value
and rivalry with the Yankees makes this a worthwhile experience. The Sox cater to their fan base – and
thus the moniker, “Red Sox Nation.”
        The teams that do not, or cannot do this, falter. The more time between championships, rare
playoff appearances and .500 seasons, the less likely they will become profitable without assistance. (Profit
sharing or luxury tax applied to teams with ‘excessive’ payrolls. The Yankees, and even Boston, have paid
these taxes. Yet, this is pittance towards making any bottom-rung team a contender.)
        Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Washington would all fall in to this recent
trend during the late 1990 to 2005. (Note: The Florida Marlins maybe be the paradox in this phenomena
given their two championships not improving the marketability to the South Floridians due to breaking up
a champion (1997), rebuilding it with bland ballplayers, and fun activities aside from baseball. Stadium
concerns have also hamstrung this franchise. As of this writing, a ballpark is on the boardwalk of Miami.)


Supplemental Graphs: Using Multiple Regression Analysis of Predicted Runs
Graph 3.2.3. 1st Model using ‘Tally’ Statistics Only. (1936-49)




   Model R1 = 1.5409 * Doubles + 1.3825*HR + .3579*Walks + .5206*Stolen Bases – 13.6623
   R2 = .8222, Adj. R2 = .8189, SEE = 46.9255, Observations = 224
                                              185

Graph 3.2.4. Using 1st Model with Ballpark Factor and Total Team At Bats. (1936-49)




   Model R2 = .9079 * Model 1 + .1564*At Bats + .8815*Ball Park Factor – 856.413
   R2 = .8442, Adj. R2 = .8421, SEE = 43.8241, Observations = 224, BPF (p = .1417)

Graph 3.2.5. Modified Bill James’ Model with usage of Ballpark Factor (1936-49)




   Model R3= 2794.794*OBP + 1823.027*SLG+ 96.2448*BPF -1019.18
   R2 = .9216, Adj. R2=.9205, SEE=31.0861, Observations = 224, BPF (p=.0473)
                                                 186

   Graph 3.2.6. Bill James’ Model without Ballpark Factor (1936-49)




Using Bill James’ formula of: Runs= (Hits + Walks) * (Total Bases)/(At-bats + Walks)
   Predicted = 1.0833 * (James’ Formula) –31.9057
   R2 (coefficient of determination) = .9279, SEE (Standard Error of Estimate) = 29.6752

Graph 3.2.7. LBJ ERA to 2004 Season Runs versus Runs Predicted.
                                                         187

     Predict = .9446* (James’ Formula with HBP and SF included) + 37.64
     R2 (coefficient of determination) = .9433, SEE (Standard Error of Estimate) = 25.1322

This final linear equation produces the best fit for this data.
         Using only OBP% and SLG % factors for comparison, the following represents the era-to-era
similarities when calculating Runs scored by a Team:

Table 3.2.3. Summary Statistics for Analyst’s Run Scored Model
BY ERA        OBP% Factor1        SLG% Factor2       Adjusted R2                 SEE
FDR           2843.4458           1837.007           .9199                       31.2045
IKE           2524.6967           1697.6687          .8453                       32.5172
LBJ           2510.1854           1686.4106          .9110                       25.2510
REAGAN        1606.8728           2409.5159          .5956                       62.4529
CLINTON 2256.9408                 1786.2828          .5846                       65.4221
1. OBP%=(Hits + Walks)/(At-bats + Walks) (excludes hits batsman, due to record keeping)
2. SLG%=(Total Bases)/ (At-bats + Walks)

Using the James’ Equation (for each era, without HBP and SF totals due to rule changes):
Table 3.2.4. Bill James’ Model
BY ERA              James’ Factor      Intercept    Adjusted R2      SEE
FDR                 1.0833             -31.9057     .9279            29.6752
IKE                 1.0435             -20.629      .8917            27.2615
LBJ                 .9660              30.2048      .9176            24.2599
REAGAN              .9707              23.2528      .9330            25.4487
CLINTON (04’)       .9588              29.108       .9427            24.8891

        As James suggested, his equation works well, no matter the fluctuations in Slugging Power versus
On Base Percentage are season to season.
        It also seems that starting in 1978, OBP% plus SLG% no longer could predict as well the runs
scored by a team. Before the effect of OBP% and SLG% was nearly additive for 42 seasons; but most
recently (the last 28 seasons), the effect is a multiplier (James’ formula) and has increased in validity
(Adjusted R2.)

This is where again a k-Variable Multiple Regression Model is given by:

Y = β0 + β1X1 + β2X2 +… β kXk + ε
where β0 = intercept, and each Bi, i= 1,…,k, is the slope of the regression surface.

     The most important thing to take from these graphs is that a team scoring more runs is highly
     correlated (greater than 85%) to higher Power statistics (SLG%) and Reaching base much more
     frequently (OBP%). Getting on base is nearly 3 times as important.
     As Mr. James explained, “There are two statistics, which, by themselves and without the aid of any
     considerations about base stealing, clutching hitting, or gravity waves, will predict the number of runs
     scored by a team…on-base percentage and slugging percentage…they can be slow as the
     devil…terrible bunters, bad clutch hitters, stupid base runners…inept at hitting behind the
     runner…they will still score runs.”75
75
  Gray S. The Mind of Bill James: How a Complete Outsider Changed Baseball. New York: Doubleday (Random House,
Inc); 2006. 44.
                                                           188

     3.3. Team Development: Sabermetrics, Scouting, Player Tools, and Rickey
A long aside to the prior subject (since it included much of Bill James’ astute statistical analysis) is that
much of the actual premise behind Michael Lewis’s research and writing in Moneyball was that the Oakland
Athletics of the late 1990s and early 21st century utilized basic statistical knowledge to build their teams
judiciously (and frugally) in the high stakes baseball scouting market that reflected a higher regard for
speed for speed sake, the rare 5-tool players (Batting for Average, for Power, Speed, Arm and Fielding
Excellence) and drafting younger players out of high school that were somewhat difficult to project 5-7
years later.
         Whereas, Oakland, spent more time looking at key statistics to find unusual selections in their
drafts; utilized low-cost free agents (that still retained either a power component or on-base component);
that would fit piece meal into their lineups because they had also lost players due to high salary demands
(such as Jason Giambi moving over to the Yankees after winning the AL MVP, Johnny Damon to the Red
Sox then Yankees, or All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada to Baltimore); and also, drafted college pitchers that
could immediately be used at the major league level because they met defense independent pitching
statistics (DIPS) criterion, such as Rookie of the Year closer Huston Street in 2005 and Andrew Bailey
(2009 ROTY).
         As Paul Caron and Rafael Gely reflect in a similar vein in a 2004 Texas Law Review article
comparing the legal education ratings of law schools and Major League Baseball:

        “Moneyball paints an intriguing portrait of how Billy Beane’s ‘superior management’ allowed the
        Oakland A’s not only to compete with, but also to prevail over, teams with double or even triple
        the resources. Beane realized that Major League Baseball was rife with inefficiencies that he could
        exploit. These inefficiencies derived from baseball’s reliance on subjective evaluation of players by
        scouts, as well as objective evaluation using conventional Triple Crown statistics, to measure
        players’ contributions to a team’s success. Beane disdained the view that you could evaluate players
        by watching them play and instead tapped into an alternative body of statistical data to more
        accurately value players that other teams either under-or over-valued using the traditional
        measures. In the case of hitters, Beane displaced the traditional Triple Crown statistics (batting
        average, home runs, and RBIs) with “OPS,” which combines a player’s on-base percentage
        (“OBP”) and slugging percentage (“SLG”) in measuring his offensive value to a team. In the case
        of pitchers, Beane discarded two of the three Triple Crown statistics (wins and ERA) in favor of
        “DIPS,” defense independent pitching statistics, which attempt to strip away the effect of a team’s
        defense on a pitcher’s performance by focusing on those statistics exclusively within a pitcher’s
        control: walks, home runs, and strikeouts.
            Interestingly, these alternative statistical methods did not arise from within Major League
        Baseball itself. Instead, Lewis traces the lineage of these new ways to evaluate players to Bill James,
        at the time a night watchman in a pork and beans factory. In 1977, James self-published a sixty-
        eight-page book that turned into an annual “abstract” that looked at player performance through
        new statistical lenses.”76

         With Bill James’ innovative insight, two decades later, the Oakland A’s were beating the long odds
that most teams faced having a third to two-fifths of the financial wherewithal as the Yankees had, but
winning nearly the same amount of games in the regular season. But this fact was only brought to a greater
public light with the publishing of Moneyball.

76
  Caron, PL, Gely R. What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. Texas Law Review Vol. 82 (1483).
2004. 1491.
                                                              189

         Once again, in Moneyball, Michael Lewis reports that Bill James also stated, “college players are a
better investment than high school players by a huge, huge, laughably huge margin.”77 And the Oakland
Athletics pursued this particular motto due to ownership constraints on signing bonuses in the picking of
their top players and their firm beliefs in their drafting practices. They got immediate returns on college
players, such as Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher, and Huston Street; which is exactly the formula they look to
compete with for the near future.
         Primarily, they [the Oakland A’s] have utilized hard and real statistical analysis and college
performance versus gut feel, or sensed potential.78 In quoting Michael Lewis, [Paul Caron and Rafael
Gely] in a 2004 Texas Law Review address the legal profession’s similarities to this Moneyball analysis in
referencing, “ ‘Everywhere one turned in competitive markets, technology was offering the people who
understood it an edge. What was happening to capitalism should have happen to baseball: the technical
man with his analytical magic should have risen to prominence in baseball management, just as he was
rising to prominence on, say, Wall Street.’ But real general managers, as contrasted with their fantasy
counterparts, obdurately refuse to embrace the statistical measures of players’ contributions to teams’
success and thus create enormous inefficiencies in the Major League Baseball market for players.”79
         This is very nearly the core mantra of the Beane philosophy: Exploit inefficiencies in evaluation of
players through statistical analysis, utilize certain predictive measures (such as OBP*SLG 90%+ correlation
to Runs Scored) and price it according to (and favorably against) the existent market forces in MLB.

Risk/Reward: The Price of a Player
                                  Frank Thomas - Career Statistics through 2004
Year      Age    G     OBP      SLG     OPS     BB     TB     AB      R      H     2B    3B HR      RBI     BA      SO
1990      22    60     0.455   0.529   0.984    44    101     191    39     63     11    3     7    31     0.330    54
1991      23    158    0.453   0.553   1.006    138   309     559    104    178    31    2    32    109    0.318    112
1992      24    160    0.442   0.536   0.978    122   307     573    108    185    46    2    24    115    0.323    88
1993      25    153    0.433   0.607   1.039    112   333     549    106    174    36    0    41    128    0.317    54
1994      26    113    0.492   0.729   1.221    109   291     399    106    141    34    1    38    101    0.353    61
1995      27    145    0.458   0.606   1.064    136   299     493    102    152    27    0    40    111    0.308    74
1996      28    141    0.461   0.626   1.087    109   330     527    110    184    26    0    40    134    0.349    70
1997      29    146    0.459   0.611   1.070    109   324     530    110    184    35    0    35    125    0.347    69
1998      30    160    0.381   0.480   0.862    110   281     585    109    155    35    2    29    109    0.265    93
1999      31    135    0.410   0.471   0.881    87    229     486    74     148    36    0    15    77     0.305    66
2000      32    159    0.437   0.625   1.062    112   364     582    115    191    44    0    43    143    0.328    94
2001      33    20     0.321   0.441   0.762    10    30      68      8     15      3    0     4    10     0.221    12
2002      34    148    0.360   0.472   0.832    88    247     523    77     132    29    1    28    92     0.252    115
2003      35    153    0.381   0.562   0.943    100   307     546    87     146    35    0    42    105    0.267    115
2004      36    74     0.424   0.563   0.987    64    135     240    53     65     16    0    18    49     0.271    57
 Totals         1925   0.429   0.567 0.997 1450 3887 6851 1308 2113 444 11 436 1439                        0.308 1134

        In 2006, the A’s picked up an oft-injured DH Frank Thomas for the pittance salary of $500,000
with a possibility to make $3 million with incentives. (This after the White Sox bought out his remaining
contract for $3,000,000.) His career through 2004 reflected a high propensity to get on base (.429) and
consistently slug (.567) the baseball amongst the very best in MLB history. In the year prior, Thomas
experienced nagging foot injuries that limited him to only a minor role (34 games, 12 HRs) in the White
Sox’s run to glory, making him expendable for 1B/DH Jim Thome, who was also recovering from back
77
   Lewis M. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2004. 99.
78
   http://www.protrade.com. 2002 'Moneyball' Draft Revisited.www.mlb.com; 2006 June 6.
79
   Caron, PL, Gely R. What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. Texas Law Review Vol. 82 (1483);
2004.1493-1944.
                                                               190

injuries in departing Philadelphia via trade. This dumping of Thomas (and his 8-figure salary and attitude)
left a team like Oakland to profit immeasurably from a cheap addition that 13 other teams could have used
(considering the DH role) and possibly 16 teams in the National League who might have utilized his bat in
late-inning situations. Thomas racked up 39 Home Runs, (.381) OBP and (.545 SLG) in 2006 as American
League Comeback Player of the Year.
       However, this particularly fortunate move is not always
duplicated in their successful evaluation of talent; in the 2002
amateur draft, Beane (if indirectly through Lewis) scoffed at the
idea of New York’s picking of then high school pitcher Scott
Kazmir, who became a successful pitcher for the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays (making the AL All-Star team) in 2006.80 But so
many times, it is the sports agent, like a Scott Boras, that makes
signing a player cost prohibitive, and thus steers Oakland away
from the ‘certain talent’ a player has, either initially, or during
free agency (as was partly the case with Kazmir and his $12.5
million dollar contract with the New York Mets.)
          Oakland’s Barry Zito switched agents, moving over to
Scott Boras in 2006 – his last season contractually as an Oakland
player. Reports in mid-2006 placed his market value at $15
million per season. 81 He then signed with the San Francisco
Giants for $18,000,000 for seven seasons – the highest total
amount ($126 million) for any pitcher in MLB history to that
point. Since the acquisition, Zito has been zapped by the high
price free agent pitcher curse that strikes. (Zimbalist, Baseball and
Billions.)
          Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton were signed by
Colorado in 2000 – ranking just behind Zito as the top, failed         Scott Kazmir: Is now working in his
acquisitions. Opinion: No team should expend finite cash, or             3rd major league organization in
put long-term contracts out for pitchers beyond the four-year         landing in Los Angeles for the Angels.
mark. Risk/Reward inherently reflects this is a flawed strategy.


         Strangely, while Oakland’s GM Billy Beane talked often of this as an overriding philosophy
(picking college guys, buying cheap replacement parts, and effective pitchers without the scouting wow
factor), in Oakland’s 2006 draft, scouting director Eric Kubota assisted Beane in drafting Vista High
School right-hander Trevor Cahill as its top pick (66th overall.) As Eric Kubota explains, “It always
changes,” he said. “We're always trying to react to the market that's out there.”82 Still though, Oakland
drafted 12 of 17 players out of college on the first day of a 50-round amateur draft.

Atlanta’s Scouting: Talent from a Youthful Program
But even in this oft-perceived high school aversion and the usual financial constraints placed on a
relatively small market team like Oakland, other teams like the Atlanta Braves organization have marched
to a different beat all together, contrary to Billy Beane’s seemingly statistical and college player approach.

80
   Lewis M. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2004. 108.
81
   [TV Telecast] Rosenthal K. 77th Major League Baseball All Star Game. Pittsburgh: Fox Sports; July 11, 2006.
82
   Urban M. A's first-day results worth wait: Lack of early selection doesn't dampen draft optimism. Unknown: MLB Advanced Media,
L.P; 2006 June 6. www.mlb.com.
                                                               191

        Paul Snyder, Atlanta’s top scouting director and player development head for much of the last 3
decades, states: “I like projectable high school pitchers that don’t have any hickeys…why let someone else
groom your kids? Mold them the way you want them to play.”83 Snyder’s protégé and current director,
Roy Clark, additionally believes in summer tryout camps held by a very few MLB clubs to look at players
overlooked in the draft process.
        As Clark puts it, “Well, the most important reason to have tryout camps is not to sign players, but
to get to know the young players at an early age and then watch them progress each year…to know a kid
as a sophomore, and then you see him the next year getting better…you get a real feel for those whose
coming and who are the strongest makeup kids.”84
        Kevin Millwood was such a player drafted in the 11th round, after Roy Clark followed up
Millwood’s junior year tryout in 1993. Millwood would later become another sought after free agent by
Texas, receiving a healthy payday. Atlanta though developed him.
        The 2006 June draft saw Atlanta continue with their ‘high school’ philosophy of selecting
prospects as Mark Bowman of www.mlb.com reports:

         Cody Johnson, OF, 1st round: The youngest of the draft's first 125 selections, Johnson was
         named Florida's 5A state Player of the Year this year and last summer was named the MVP. He hit
         .525 with 15 homers during his senior season at A. Crawford Mosley High School.
         Cory Rasmus, RHP, 38th selection: Although his fastball has touched 97 mph, Clark thinks his
         slider and changeup make him more than just a power pitcher. A competitive athlete, he was
         Phoenix City's catcher when it advanced to the 1999 Little League World Series. His brother was
         selected in the first round by the Cardinals last year.
         Steven Evarts, LHP, 43rd selection: His 6-foot-4 frame has allowed him to draw comparisons to
         Steve Avery. The 18-year-old from Tampa's Robinson High has a fastball has been clocked at 93
         and he has shown some improvement with his curveball.
         Jeffrey Locke, LHP, 2nd round: Pitching in New Hampshire, Locke isn't as advanced as many
         other high school pitchers. But his 94 mph fastball has led some to compare him to Billy Wagner.
         The Braves believe he has a real high ceiling.
         Chad Rodgers, LHP, 3rd round: He wrapped an undefeated scholastic career at Walsh Jesuit
         High with a state championship in Ohio on Monday. The Braves love his competitive makeup and
         were surprised to see him available with the draft's 100th selection. 85

         Atlanta’s love of youngsters is a laundry list of high-quality breakout performers, and apart of the
Clinton era dominance on the field. Starting in 1990 with pitcher Steve Avery, the Atlanta pipeline of
talent saw Chipper Jones in 1993, Ryan Klesko (93), Jason Schmidt (95), Andruw Jones (96), Rafael Furcal
(2000), Brian McCann (2005), and pitchers Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens in 2009. Their 2010 top
prospect Jason Heyward hopes to make a Jonesian impact on the future of Atlanta at only 20 years old.

        Bill Shanks, author of Scouts Honor, restates Atlanta’s overall philosophy, “It’s about knowing what
kind of person your dealing with, the work ethic of the player, and knowing their makeup. It’s not
sabermetrics or bean-counting or number-crunching. It’s instinct and gut and intuition and experience. It’s
makeup.”86 But Atlanta’s Roy Clark also adds, “ The stats can be misleading…but we do look at stats.”87

83
   Shanks B. Scout’s Honor: The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Team. New York: Sterling & Ross Publishers; 2005. 50.
84
   Shanks B. Scout’s Honor: The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Team. New York: Sterling & Ross Publishers; 2005. 55.
85
   Bowman M. Braves again load up with pitching: Atlanta takes 17 hurlers among 22 first-day draft picks. www.mlb.com; 2006 June 6.
86
   Shanks B. Scout’s Honor: The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Team. New York: Sterling & Ross Publishers; 2005. 58.
                                                                192

         Dayton Moore (hired as GM of the Kansas City Royals in 2006) was hired by Clark as Director of
Player Personnel said this about Clark’s approach: “a relentless commitment to this philosophy that’s in
place.”88 Much of the philosophical approach can be lent to prior generations of trial and error at scouting
ballplayers. Even when enormously talented, the ball field can sometimes throw off players, and
evaluators.
         Dayton Moore was later dismissed in Kansas City even though in 2009 an emotionally troubled
starting pitcher, Zach Grienke, overcame personal obstacles to land the Royals a Cy Young award. Moore
was considered instrumental to this resurgence in Grienke’s performance.
         But no playoffs, no job.

Back to the FDR Future: Down on The Rickey Farm
The farm system concept had existed for nearly forty years with innovative manager Harry Wright even
attempting it in 1883 – with a reserve squad – but getting little support. Throughout the late 19th century,
others, like St. Louis Browns owner Chris Von der Ahe, and Cincinnati and Indianapolis magnate John T.
Brush, would succeed in using alternative teams as a source of talent, and trade bait. However, most could
only maintain these relationships for short durations, as most minor league teams were money losers, or
drains on the finances of the owners.89
         Rickey, with a healthy incentive to make the Cardinals profitable, tried again to make a farm system
work with the assistance of head scout Charlie Barrett by amassing talent in huge tryouts. From 100s of
young men, each trying to escape either trouble or monotony, Rickey’s newly acquired raw talent would
get assigned to newly acquired and owned franchises. (Example: Class C, Forth Smith, Arkansas, Western
Association in 1920.)90
         Even when not completely owned, the St. Louis Cardinals had more control of the process of
player development. Before, minor league ownerships could violate working agreements with the majors;
abuse the player through undue work load; sit a good player or stagnate development; sell options to player
that were not technically theirs to sell. (With the legal battles that might come, prying eyes could see into
operations and contracts. Never a very good idea.)
         Broadway and Polo Grounds haunter Damon Runyon remarked in great detail on Chain-Store
Baseball – That’s St. Louis Idea – Cards Own Five Clubs – And 200 Players after the 1926 World Series:

         “When Mr. Branch Rickey took hold of the Cardinals the club had no money in the treasury, or
         anywhere else, for that matter. It could not pay all those fancy prices for baseball players. It had
         enough trouble paying laundry bills…
                 Eventually, Mr. Rickey began taking over clubs in the small leagues, controlling five
         different clubs – Fort Smith, Ark.; Austin, Tex.; Syracuse; Houston; and Danville, Ill. It owns most
         of them outright…
                 …Houston, in the Texas League, for instance, is held to be worth $230,000, counting the
         franchise and real estate.
                 [Using the tax code] they can write off a pretty heavy loss against a club if that club
         develops one good big-league player, for big-league players nowadays cost anywhere from $4,000
         on up to six figures.
                 Take the Fort Smith club…Chick Hafey; Taylor Douthit; (Billy) Hallahan, a left-handed
         pitcher; Flint Rhem; (Ed) Clough; and Hank Mueller. Hafey and Douthit cost St. Louis $500

87
   Shanks B. Scout’s Honor: The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Team. New York: Sterling & Ross Publishers; 2005. 60.
88
   Shanks B. Scout’s Honor: The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Team. New York: Sterling & Ross Publishers; 2005. 61.
89
   Morris Peter. A Game of Inches: The Game Behind The Scenes; Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2006. 8-20.
90
   Golenbock Peter. The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of The St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. New York: Harper Entertainment; 2000.
91.
                                                               193

         each…the price paid the men who originally tipped Mr. Barrett to the players…Clough and
         Mueller [cost] nothing.
                  Mueller was picked up from the sandlots by Mr. Barrett then traded even up to the Giants
         for Billy Southworth, so Southworth cost the Cardinals nothing. On that batch of ballplayers, the
         Cardinals could write off a tremendous loss on the operating expense of the Fort Smith club.
                  Austin…recently sold a player named (Harry) McCurdy to a big-league club for $25,000
         and two ballplayers…”91

         Rickey’s idea though could not have launched successfully without the astute and fortunate
dealings of Sam Breadon. As a self-made Manhattanite, Breadon had gone from bank clerk, to popcorn
seller at 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, to auto dealer, before getting a few shares of the Cardinals in 1917. In
three years, Breadon was president of the cash-poor Cards. He then worked out a rental agreement of
Sportsman’s Park while selling League Park for $275,000.92 (The cash went to paying off Helene Britton
and funding the new minor league ownership plan and development system.)
         Oddly, these men were opposites: Breadon, a Democrat, straight-shooting drinker and loyal to the
spirit of a deal, whereas, Rickey, Republican, a teetotaler, Bible thumper, but supreme operator of the gray
areas of the law. (Being a trained lawyer helped.)
         The success of this partnership came immediately, at least, the financial part. Between 1920-1922,
the Cardinals generated $374,000 in profits, with only the Giants and Pirates making more.93 Meanwhile,
Branch Rickey, field manager of men, was still unsuccessful in moving the Cards to 1st place. Though from
a 1919 record of 54-83, they improved to 87-66 by 1921. Regression in the next three seasons sealed
Rickey’s fate: giving up the reins of on-the-field maneuvers for the front office, scouting, trading, and team
guidance. This move proved successful as the Cardinals locked up their 1st World Series title in 1926.
(Even with Rickey’s arch nemesis, Roger Hornsby, technically, getting the credit for this first title.)
         The Cardinals would rank amongst the elite of the National League over the next decade –
appearing in the 1928, 1930, 1931 and 1934 World Series – while putting performers like Dizzy Dean,
Pepper Martin, Joe Medwick and Leo Durocher on the field, a.k.a. “The Gashouse Gang.”
         Rickey would get a 10-year contract in 1922 for $25,000 and made his fair share off the
development deals from stock options in the Cardinals. (Until the Great Depression – when he lost
$300,000, investing on margin.)
         Long before “Saint Rickey” made it a design to integrate – due as much to players’ abilities and the
profits that came from selling that every day – Rickey had significantly altered the landscape of major
league baseball, if only by dusting off a 40-year old idea.




91
   Reisler Jim [Editor.] Guys, Dolls and Curveballs: Damon Runyon on Baseball. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers; 2005. 407-409.
92
   Golenbock Peter. The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of The St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. New York: Harper Entertainment; 2000.
90.
93
   Golenbock Peter. The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of The St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. New York: Harper Entertainment; 2000.
95.
                                                   194



 Branch Rickey’s Farm System
    Cash Flow funds Operations
                                                                     Call up developed players
    •
    •
          Acquire More Teams
          Run Tryouts                      Team Ops.                 or send down players for
    •     Sign Players cheaply
    •     Pay Coaches                                                seasoning or trade later
    •     Generate Profits
    •       Pay Rickey
                                                                     while maintaining player
                                                                     control of 100s

                                                $ CASH $
                                                                The Chain Store:
       Tryouts                                                  AAA-AA-A-
      100s of                 Assigned
                              Based On
                                                                B-C-D Teams
     “ferocious
     Gentlemen”               Talent:                           owned in whole
                              Quality                           (or in part)
                              From Quantity

 Other Benefits:                                                                Sell outright
 Did not have to
 Bid on Minor                                                               or Trade for players
 League talent (Jack Dunn)
 or Trade with others
 to fill needs at an
 Elevated price                         Other NL or
                                        Minor Leagues Teams
        The New York Yankees would soon mimic Rickey’s farm system, the sincerest form of flattery in
any profession, and produce plenty of talent with greater resources. With Ed Barrow and George Weiss
taking Col. Ruppert’s money and Yankee net earnings (tops in the majors) and plowing them back into
franchise – for coast-to-coast scouts, direct player acquisitions, and minor league teams. Some would say
they outdid Rickey; but they did ‘get by’ with Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle. And that Yankee
mystique got them plenty of farm boy signatures.)
        Going over to the Brooklyn Dodgers as general manager, Rickey again built up hefty minor league
backdrop to support his farm operations. (Now, getting a 15% commission on every player contract he
sold. So any player moves were of the benefit directly to the GM. His arrangement at the end in St. Louis
                                                               195

totaled $30,000 alone from player sales, and $80,000 per year all total – more than three times what HOF
slugger Mel Ott got in his prime. 94)
         Rickey, by then, had plenty of ideas and visions of what constituted a good player. Aside from the
typically fast, healthy, and innate hunger for the game, being married with children, morally sound, and
under 28 years old, would be his own, sometimes flawed, paradigm. “Ferocious gentleman,” was a tagline
he offered as the model ballplayer. (And he sought out such models; but wound up with the Leo
Durochers, Eddie Stankys, Dixie Walkers, and Don Newcombes, that, all had their various fistfights,
excesses, and off-the-field antics with fans, front office, owners, and fellow and opposing players.)
         Rickey acquired the moniker as the “Father of Baseball Scouting”95 that comes from his
employment of pitching machines, batting cages, and helmets. He initiated group tryouts for anyone
wanton to become a baseball player in 1919 at Robison Field in St. Louis.96 His utilization of these minor
league plantations for major league crop growing was the heartbeat of the great successes seen with the
Cardinals in 1920s and 1930s, Dodgers in late 1940s, and 1950s Pirates organizations, that all won with
Rickey men.

         As Economist Andrew Zimbalist states in his 2006 book, In the Best Interests of Baseball?:

         “Branch Rickey went to work developing baseball’s first extensive farm system. Rickey’s idea was
         to extend the working arrangements and cross ownership that existed between the majors and the
         top classifications minors down to the lowest…By establishing a vast scouting and player
         development system, Rickey implemented a strategy to allow a relatively poor club like the
         Cardinals to procure top talent more cheaply…[or] prospects to sell or trade…By 1928, Rickey’s
         Cards owned five minor teams…By 1937, the Cards’ farm system peaked at thirty-three clubs,
         controlling almost seven hundred players.”97 (Whereas, his National League rival – the Cubs (then
         owned by P.K. Wrigley) – “did not believe in farm systems.”98)

        Rickey though is not without his flaws. “Adumbrating McCarthyism, Branch Rickey stated the
reserve clause was opposed by people with communist tendencies…”99 This was after the moves by
several ballplayers to the Mexican League in the mid 1940s under the initial days of Happy Chandler’s
commissionership and, specifically, Danny Gardella (New York Giants OF) leaving the majors, then suing
MLB for treble damages. Rickey’s particular attitude was triggered more by the financial motivations to
keep players tied to the repressive ‘reserve system’ and his farms than any real assertion that ballplayers
were espousing to a then intensely scrutinized and divisive political philosophy as Communism during the
late 1940s and 1950s with McCarthyism running amok.
        In the end analysis, Rickey portraits as a snake-charming, carnival barker with a religious edict in
one firm hand, and a malleable reality clutched strongly by the collar in the other. He could take a sinner
on in Durocher, convince him to be a would-be saint, and pay the bum less than a much fairer man would,
and should – and do it all with a prophet’s gracefulness and a politician’s grandstanding grandiosity. And
all done with an eager, innocent smile purchasing the assets of ferocious gentlemen ready to play.


94
   D’Antonio Michael. Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O’Malley, Baseball’s Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of
Brooklyn and Los Angeles. New York: Riverhead Books; 2009. 62.
95
   Shanks B. Scout’s Honor: The Bravest Way to Build a Winning Team. New York: Sterling & Ross Publishers; 2005. 39.
96
   Kerrane Kevin. Dollar Sign on The Muscle. New York: Beaufort Books, Inc.; 1984. 9.
97
   Zimbalist AS. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons,
Inc; 2006. 45.
98
   Veeck B, Linn E. Veeck as in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck, with Ed Linn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1962. 39
99
   Zimbalist AS. In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons,
Inc; 2006. 54.
                                                                 196

        And talked he would: Rickey never tired; his targets in the conversation, would eventually give in, if
only to hopefully figure out how conned they were, much too late.
        With Rickey, he was always playing, “let’s make a deal you can’t refuse to see the logic of.”


The Lasting Legacy of Branch Rickey
Rickey’s methodology in development and farm systems was not some flash-in-the-pan idea. Its tentacles
reverberated long into the consciousness of baseball. As James makes notice of in Baseball Managers: “Not
some or many, but most of the dominant field managers in baseball since 1960 were products of [the
Dodgers minor leagues of the 1940s and 1950s].”100

A Few, Good Dodger (Rickey) Disciples
Managers                      Record & Championships           Notes
Walter Alston                 2040-1613, 4 Titles              Hired in 1946 to manage Roy Campanella and Don
                                                               Newcombe. 8 Years as Minor Lg. Mgr. Great Pool
                                                               Player – better than Leo. 1960s LA dominance.
Tommy Lasorda                 1599-1439, 2 Titles              Pasta, Popbellies, Positivism, and Pennants. Lost to The
                                                               Bronx Zoo. 1981 & 1988 WS Champion.
Don Zimmer                    885-858                          1978 Boston Red Sox. Cubs 1989. Joe Torre’s right
                                                               hand man for the Yankees.
Dick Williams                 1571-1451, 2 Titles              1967 Miracle Red Sox. Oakland A’s 1970s dynasty. 1984
                                                               Padres. HOF 2008.
Sparky Anderson               2194-1834, 3 Titles              The Big Red Machine, 1984 Detroit Tigers
Gene Mauch                    1902-2037                        1964 Phillies collapse. 1970s Expansion Expos. 1980s
                                                               Angels success. Lost ALCS to 1986 Red Sox.
Danny Ozark                   618-542                          1976-77 Phillies won over 100 games.
Roger Craig                   738-737                          San Francisco Giants of 1980s. WS 1989.
Gil Hodges                    660-753, 1 Title                 Miracle Mets of 1969.

Others: Preston Gomez, Larry Shepard, Clyde King, Roy Hartsfield, Frank Howard, Bobby Bragan,
Cookie Lavagetto.


It’s Psychological and Statistical
        Rickey’s farm and stats was tuned up by Jim McLaughlin (as discussed in Dr. Kevin Kerrane’s
seminal work Dollar Sign on the Muscle) and would add to the burgeoning, but then relatively crude, scientific
analysis by utilizing a 3-part evaluation process for talent evaluation and obtainment:
    1. Substituting centralized management for old-fashioned individualism: Computerize player data,
        rationalize draft procedures and development of consistency in hiring, training and grading of
        scouts
    2. Professional psychological tests like the AMI (Athletic Motivation Inventory)
    3. Physical testing to evaluate eyesight, general health, bat speed, reflexes and other ratios of physical
        strength101

       McLaughlin’s success can be seen in the powerhouse teams of the Orioles and Reds of the 1960s
and 1970s. Both of which won championships and had a multitude of Hall of Fame players on their

100
      James Bill. The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers: From 1870 to Today. New York: Scribner; 1997. 208.
101
      Kerrane Kevin. Dollar Sign on The Muscle. New York: Beaufort Books, Inc.; 1984. 117.
                                                              197

rosters. (And in the Orioles case, they utilized “greenies” (amphetamines) as a pep pill, as Jim Bouton’s
Ball Four suggests as a factor to success, though not usually seen as positive one. See: LBJ Era, Drugs.)
         McLaughlin was out to incorporate new methodologies into a system that was often controlled by
roughed old-fashioned individualists. He also saw himself as the potentially the next evolutionary step up
from Rickey’s “quality out of quantity” formula. He respected Rickey’s approach to scouting out finds, but
not so much the man’s principles: “he was an ethical fraud.”102 Ye,t Rickey and McLaughlin could likely
find common ground if they had reason ever to work together as a team.
         This ‘scientific bent’ has often reshaped the way the game is seen, through numbers, and some
purists often forget that the game is developing because of the sheer data available to properly divine
which players will score more runs or stop those runs from scoring. No team can just go by a scouts’ feel
alone. Or simply ignore a players’ success at lower levels of baseball. Or even properly evaluate the player’s
background without rational tools. But it is a conglomeration of knowledge about players that ultimately
determines successful projection to the Show.

On the Borderline: Lackluster Evals and ‘Ordinary’ Skills
Future Hall of Fame candidate Greg Maddux never wowed anyone with his stature, velocity, or
intimidation factor from his speed alone, yet with a 88-92 MPH fastball in his early years (later, 86 MPH,
wind-aided), and impeccable control, he won over 350 games playing home games in two predominately
hitter-friendly ballparks in Wrigley (depending on the wind) and Atlanta Fulton County (later, Turner
Field.) I doubt any scout would have predicted such success with Maddux’s velocity alone.
         Barry Zito falls into this class of pitcher: an 88 MPH fastball103 but won consistently on his guile
(as winning the 2002 Cy Young award usually confirms and pitching 200+ innings for six consecutive
seasons bolstered. Later troubles do not undo what he has done).
         Another story could be told about Mike Piazza, now the all-time home run leader as a catcher, who
was drafted as more of a favor (in the 62nd round) than an actual evaluation of his soon-to-be harnessed
talent. Piazza was never considered a superior defensive player, as his position most often dictates in the
dominate fielding and throwing tools, yet his outstanding bat and power allowed him to succeed despite
those glaring position deficiencies.104 (The Oakland A’s picked up Piazza to fill the role of Frank Thomas
as DH, after Thomas received a 2-year deal at $9 million per season from Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P.
Ricciardi, Beane’s former right hand man.)
         A young Wade Boggs was seen by a MLB scout as, “He can’t run. He is a below average third
baseman. He probably won’t hit with power. I don’t project him higher than Triple-A.”105 Boggs managed
to “not run”, or “field well”, while amassing over 3,000 hits. He rates as one of the top sabermetric players
with a .415 lifetime OBP, good for 9th all-time among players with over 1,000 games. (Ted Williams (.482)
–1st, Barry Bonds (.443) – 2nd, Todd Helton (.430) – 3rd, Mickey Mantle (.421) – 5th, Edgar Martinez (.418)
–6th, Stan Musial (.417) –7th, Lance Berkman (.416) – 8th, Jackie Robinson (.409) – 14th and Rickey
Henderson (.401) – 19th.)

Table 3.3.2. Wade Boggs Lifetime Batting Statistics
  G AB H 2B 3B HR OBP SLG BB SO
2,439 9,180 3,010 578 61 118 0.415 0.443 1412 745


102
      Kerrane Kevin. Dollar Sign on The Muscle. New York: Beaufort Books, Inc.; 1984. 118.
103
    Caron, PL, Gely R. What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. Texas Law Review Vol. 82 (1483).
2004. Footnote 59, pg.1496.
104
    Coleman G. 52-Week Baseball Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2000. 251.xiii.
105
    Kedrowski Ryan. Analyzing Player Performance in Baseball: A Sabermetric Approach Using Data Envelopment Analysis.
Cambridge, England: Cambridge Judge Business School; 2005. 17.
                                                               198

         In Boggs’ case, the fact he wasn’t able to run or field extremely well was not (and should not have
been) a deciding factor for his future MLB position. 3rd baseman are primarily bat men, which Boggs
satisfied exceedingly well. His speed was (and for most positions is), at best, a 5th tool. Granted, many
scouts feel that speed is the foundation for a player’s athleticism, and therefore, ultimately decisive in initial
evaluations, but like other lumbering souls, Boggs made up for it with his ability to hit and patiently wait
out any pitcher he ever faced. (I always wondered: Boggs’ obsession with chicken – eating it, everyday,
would that get you a negative evaluation by a scout?)
         From 1983 to 1989, aside from 1984, Boggs rated in the top 3 in VORP (Value Over Replacement
Player) in the entire American League. However, he never ranked above 4th in the AL MVP voting. (In
1986, he was 3rd in VORP while obtaining only a 7th place in the AL MVP. The Red Sox went to the World
Series.)106
         Pitcher Billy Wagner goes about 5’6”-5’7”, and from reports, was only throwing in the high
seventies out of high school. College, and twenty miles on his fastball, he succeeded in becoming the best
lefty closer in major league baseball for a period of nearly a decade. Doubtful any scout could project that.

Table 3.3.3. Five Tools by Position and Priority for Professional Scouts107
Position         1st    2nd      3rd    4th       5th
Catcher         Field Arm        Bat Power Speed
 st
1 Baseman        Bat Power Field Arm Speed
 nd
2 Baseman Bat Field Speed Power Arm
Shortstop       Field Arm Speed Bat Power
 rd
3 Baseman        Bat Power Field Arm Speed
Left Field       Bat Power Speed Field Arm
Center Field Speed Field Bat            Arm Power
Right Field      Bat Power Field Arm Speed

         Yet such poor initial evaluations have happened; and by whatever methods to success another
team considers in evaluating talent, this has to be weighed in the context of on-the-field performance at
some future time. The utilization of statistics, spreadsheets, databases, stopwatches, video tapes, radar
guns, pitching/batting/fielding charts, and other tools is fine as long as it results in success (winning more
than you lose, and hopefully, pennants.)
         In a rational market, the pay to players would also reflect the ideas about scarcity and performance
dictating compensation; but it does not always in Major League baseball. Most former and some current
stars get much more than they are actually worth. And younger players with more potential for growth and
sustained production are closer to the league minimum than extravagant payouts. (Until they become free
agents after 6 seasons. Or receive arbitration once amassing enough MLB time.) Leveraging this
knowledge, about players’ salaries and performance, teams like the Oakland Athletics fielded teams with
lower payrolls for several seasons that outplayed the Yankees with extravagant payrolls for big-name
players. As [Hakes and Sauer] state, “The lack of a market premium for hitters with superior skill at
reaching base validates the Athletics’ systematic approach to identifying such players…at a discount
relative to their competition.”108 (Note: This is during the regular season – in the post season, the few
number of games and a certain ‘luck’ factor has more to do with winning, and possibly, losing. Or as Billy
Beane put it in Moneyball: “My shit doesn’t work in the playoffs.”)

106
  Kedrowski Ryan. Analyzing Player Performance in Baseball: A Sabermetric Approach Using Data Envelopment Analysis.
Cambridge, England: Cambridge Judge Business School; 2005. 17.
107
  Gola Mark. The Five Tool Player: Become the Total Package that Pro and College Baseball Scouts Want. New York:
McGraw-Hill; 2007. 13.
108
      Hakes JK, Sauer RD. An Economic Evaluation of the Moneyball Hypothesis.Unknown: SSRN; 2005 October 20. 9.
                                                        199

Rich Man, Poor Man: Who Wins And What Is in a Ballpark?
As Baseball Prospectus writers Nate Silver and Dayn Perry recently submitted in a critique aptly entitled,
Why Doesn’t Billy Beane’s Shit Work in the Playoffs? (Baseball Between the Numbers, 2006, pgs. 352-
368), the A’s were held back by the confluence of a weak closer, lacking strikeout pitchers, and better
fielding ability behind finesse pitchers in 2000-2002 post seasons. (By 2003, this would not be the ultimate
problem for Oakland.)
        In their analysis, it was evident that teams laden with a talented bullpen, power pitchers, and
defensive superiority excel more often in the post-season due to the balancing out of winning teams on the
whole while participating. The strength of this combination (closer, fielding runs above average, and K
Rate) in ranking 180 teams reflected the higher composite rankings were in the World Series nine times out
of the top 10, winning seven of them, whereas, the bottom 10 never made it once.109 Additionally, playoff
teams that are more offensively-oriented are not anymore likely to dominate, since the mantra of good
pitching/defense can trump a talented offense, can, typically, hold true. (Not without exceptions, in either
case, however.)
        Their best example to reflect the disparity of this effect: the 1990 Reds. A team lacking in
offensive talent, an overpowering no.1 starter (Browning), or even great speed, but had an elite bullpen
with 3 main guys, Rob Dibble, Randy Myers, and Norm Charlton, with Tim Layana adding to the mix, to
go with a sound defense. Of the playoff teams from 1972 to 2005, the Reds rated #38 in closer, #15 in
FRAA and #49 in K ratio, second only to the 1979 Earl Weaver-led Orioles in averaging the composite,
and tops amongst the World Series winners.
        Compared to other champions, the Reds are not considered an elite team; but in a short series their
arms, gloves, and ability to befuddle hitters took over. And their ‘crap’ did work.

      In a further explanation of the strategic front office differences between the Oakland A’s and New
York Yankees in the late 90’s and early 21st century, Eric Gartman opines in Strategies for General
Managers:
      “By far the greatest success story in baseball over the past three years has been a team that hasn't
      even made it past the first round of the playoffs. The perennially poor Oakland Athletics have
      managed to make the playoffs each of the past three years, despite one of the lowest payrolls in the
      game…Beane's formula has been to disregard speed and stolen bases, while focusing on Power
      and On-base percentage. With a meager budget he has also had to look for bargains…focusing on
      stats rather than what scouts think. Finally, Beane has used the July 31[st] trading deadline to his
      advantage, dealing for quality players from teams who were no longer in contention…
               A typical example of a player Beane took that most other teams viewed as useless is Matt
      Stairs, who most scouts considered too fat. Similarly, Beane gave up next to nothing for Jeremy
      Giambi, who produced well in Oakland. Beane also drafted Tim Hudson, who most scouts
      considered too small at only 160 pounds. Hudson has turned into one of the top pitchers in the
      majors. Beane also signed free agent Scott Hatteberg, who has produced well in Oakland, for
      cheap, as most other teams viewed him useless. Beane also used his high first-round draft picks to
      land Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, who along with Hudson, make the most formidable top three in
      the majors… Beane's mid-season trades have sparked the second-half rallies for which the A's
      have become famous. In 2001, he acquired Jermaine Dye for three minor leaguers… Similarly, in
      2002, he acquired Ray Durham to spark the top of Oakland's lineup. Given his low budget, what
      Beane has done in Oakland make him the best GM in the majors in my opinion…
               …It's hard to argue with success. And no one has been more successful than the New
      York Yankees in the last few years, winning championships in 1996,'98,'99, 2000, and very nearly
109
   Perry D, Silver N. Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Doesn’t Billy Beane’s Shit Work in the Playoffs?New York:
Prospectus Entertainment, LLC; 2006. 367.
                                                           200

         in 2001. They have reached the playoffs every since in 1995. Of course, they have more money to
         work with than anyone else, but none of it has been squandered. The Yanks dynasty is not just
         based on free agency. They developed Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte,
         Mariano Rivera, and more recently, Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson from within the
         organization. Around this solid core, they added key players via free agency: David Wells, David
         Cone, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Paul O'Neil, Jason Giambi, and now, Hideki Matsui… The
         Yanks also took some chances. They signed Cuban defector Orlando Hernandez, and unknown
         quantity, to a four-year deal…. He was a solid performer who won 41 games in three years with
         the Yankees before being injured.
                 There were also some deals that did not go so well for the Yankees. Most notably, Hideki
         Irabu…but the Yankees managed to trade him for prospect Ted Lilly. Chuck Knoblauch and Tino
         Martinez played well in the early years of their contracts, but faded… The Yanks did not resign
         either one. Money is very important in the free agency era, and the Yanks showed the right way to
         spend it.”110

Graph 3.3.1. Bill James’ Runs2 formula to predict Win % for the Regular Season111




    For a further view of this phenomenon, a Bill James’ predictor for Winning % is tied to Runs Created
vs. Runs Allowed in the formulation:

      Win % = 1.0103 *(Runs Scored)2 /(Runs Scored) 2 +(Runs Allowed) 2
         R2 Adjusted = .9298 (for 20 seasons, comparing the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s)


110
   Gartman E. Strategies for General Managers. Unknown: Unknown; 2005. 6.
111
  Keri J. Editor. Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game is Wrong. New York: Basic Books;
2006. 279.
                                                                   201

Whereas, the usage of Salaries as a predictor in a simple linear model outputs:
      R2 Adjusted = .1858 (for 20 seasons, comparing the Yankees and Oakland A’s)

         This reflects a wide disparity in what Salaries Paid predicts as an outcome (of a season) and what
Run Generation and Run Stoppage will predict. Granted, these are different objectives.
         But it reflects the necessity to breakdown a team into components to garner success. Not just
throw money at what people decide is considered a good player on the market or in the draft. Each
component of a player’s game is important as it fits into a grander team strategy that must reflect hitting,
fielding, pitching, speed, and the ballparks.
         To further illustrate this point, the payrolls and wins for the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees
are reflected in stark contrast in the following table:

Table 3.3.4. 1998 –2004 Snapshot of 2 Winning Franchises Financials versus Wins
Franchise                Salaries112       Win%      Projected Year      W       L      Runs      Runs    Per Win        Ratio
                                                                                                  Allowed
New York Yankees         $66,806,867       0.704     0.684        1998   114     48     965       656       $586,025     2.04
New York Yankees         $86,734,359       0.605     0.603        1999   98      64     900       731       $885,044     3.15
New York Yankees         $92,338,260       0.540     0.534        2000   87      74     871       814       $1,061,359   3.02
New York Yankees         $112,287,143      0.594     0.560        2001   95      65     804       713       $1,181,970   3.57
New York Yankees         $125,928,583      0.640     0.624        2002   103     58     897       697       $1,222,608   3.15
New York Yankees         $152,749,814      0.623     0.600        2003   101     61     877       716       $1,512,374   2.89
New York Yankees         $184,193,950      0.623     0.552        2004   101     61     897       808       $1,823,702   2.79
Oakland Athletics        $21,303,000       0.457     0.463        1998   74      88     804       866       $287,878     0.49
Oakland Athletics        $24,431,833       0.537     0.527        1999   87      75     893       846       $280,826     0.32
Oakland Athletics        $31,971,333       0.565     0.576        2000   91      70     947       813       $351,333     0.33
Oakland Athletics        $33,810,750       0.630     0.653        2001   102     60     884       645       $331,478     0.28
Oakland Athletics        $40,004,167       0.636     0.599        2002   103     59     800       654       $388,390     0.32
Oakland Athletics        $50,260,834       0.593     0.588        2003   96      66     768       643       $523,550     0.35
Oakland Athletics        $59,425,667       0.562     0.533        2004   91      71     793       742       $653,029     0.36

        Given those numbers, it is fairly obviously that Oakland kept up with the Yankees over a period of
years while spending significantly less per win than the Yankees. (Oakland’s 2004 payroll didn’t even
exceed the Yankees 1998 payroll.) The Yankees last championship (during this period) came in 2000, while
winning only 87 games! Oakland’s post-season failures are well documented, and discussed above, but
cannot be held as a total failure to win games to get to the post-season, the first step to a championship.
        And that is what also usually drives fans to the ballpark – winning games – while under the auspice
of the general business requirements that a team is there to turn a profit for the private ownership and
stockholders.
        Yet, Oakland suffered too from the unappealing effects of their home ballpark.

        This can be seen further in the Appendix 9.3. in looking at the various successes of MLB teams in
Winning, Revenues, Runs Scored, and Attendance during eight seasons (1998-2005).
        Oakland is an outlier with regard to what winning baseball games should result in (Statistical R=
.6399): higher revenue streams. The Yankees generate huge revenues, greater than even their winning can
account for, if the analysis has validity over these eight seasons.
        Meanwhile, teams like Kansas City, Detroit, Washington (Montreal), Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, and
Pittsburgh cluster around the bottom of the winning boundary yet do generate modest revenues (relative

112
      Salaries determined through utilizing the Sean Lahman Database and the reported salaries at USA Today website.
                                                      202

to significantly better teams) in light of losing consistently. Colorado and Baltimore generate billion-plus
dollars in revenues while racking up horrible winning percentages.
         Even teams that win do not always get fan support. (Statistical R= .5976) Oakland again is
horribly uncorrelated to their winning ways of the 1998-2005. Florida, the Chicago (White Sox), and
Minnesota also found it difficult to find fans, even while winning three of the eight World Series
combined, and going to the playoffs each at least twice during this time frame. Florida is in the process of
getting a new ballpark. Minnesota opens their new outdoor cathedral for the fans (Target Field) in 2010.
         Whereas, the Chicago (Cubs), Los Angeles (Dodgers), Baltimore and Colorado, all get people to
come even in losing times. In the case of the Cubs and Dodgers, their traditions, one for losing, and the
other for winning, is likely the reasons for such consistent attendance.
         Offense does have some correlation to revenues. (Statistical R= .5492) The Yankees, Boston,
Cleveland, Texas Rangers, and Colorado put up regularly 850 runs a season. All have in excess of billion
dollars in revenue streams during the course of those seasons, with the Yankees at the extreme of that
revenue to runs scored analysis. Texas actually under performs the most by having prolific scoring, but not
creating revenues in line with that scoring machine.
           Only Atlanta generates (3rd overall in revenues) succeeds with a good mixture of pitching and
hitting. (Future HOFers Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine through most of the those seasons.) The usual
suspects in losing, low revenues and low runs scored are at the bottom: Washington, Tampa Bay,
Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. (Three in the same division, the NL Central.)

         As one can surmise, the Yankees are by far the most successful in combining Revenues, Wins,
Attendance, and Runs Scored into one business model. By having powerful offenses, fans attending due to
tradition (and 26 World Championships), wins coming as always, their revenues are $500 million ahead of
their closest counterparts.
         Oakland is an enigma for the time, given their winning ways, they consistently were amongst the
poorest in revenues. This is attributed to their stadium, and the So Cal mentality with regard to
entertainment options. Yet their cross-town counterpart have a new stadium, win comparably to Oakland,
but have billion dollar revenues, nonetheless, reflecting the ballpark problem.
         Atlanta and Boston, are somewhat close to the Yankees in winning, generating revenues a plenty,
but are still in a class separate from the Yankees, oft called ‘The Evil Empire’ by rival Bostonians.
         Florida, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay were easily the worst franchises from
solely a business model standpoint. Some of which has to do their inability to attract free agents, spend
accordingly, media market size (or lack of skill in harnessing proper interest) and the current populations’
lack of interest (or lacking of tradition, as is the case for the Florida teams). Washington has the possibility
in the future of building a tradition – with a new stadium – and new ownership in 2006. In selecting
pitcher Stephen Strasburg in 2009, they hope to finally create a team around a pitching ace.
         Other franchises, the Orioles, the Cubs, and the Dodgers, amongst the group – are making it
without seriously addressing flaws in runs scoring, or winning season to season. Partly, tradition helps.
Their ballparks are among the most venerated examples of either recent construction or longevity of
classic places to play. How long this novelty lasts is a product of the enduring fascination with the baseball
and the fans ability to accept the losing while spending time at the old ballpark.

                3.4. General Managers: The New, Young Moneyball Breed
As the hiring practices of Major League Teams have changed to include more business-oriented and
statistically-savvy youngsters, the framework of what did work is now becoming what will work. The days
of hiring former players and scouts solely to run teams has turned instead to finding youthful, uniquely-
interested and prominently-educated people to run ball teams. As Raymond D. Sauer and Jahn K. Hakes
also note, “a diffusion of the knowledge discussed in the book [Moneyball] subsequently took place. We
                                                               203

find the anomaly disappears as members of the Athletics’ organization were hired to run competing
franchises.”113

           First to exit Beane’s school was J.P. Riccardi, hired away from Oakland to become Toronto’s GM.
During the 2006 season, Toronto seemed to make significant headway in unseating Boston and New York
as the powerhouses of the AL East (49-39 record, 4 ½ games out of first, as of the 2006 All-Star break.)
However, the Jays faltered, and continued to take the 3rd billing behind the Yankees and Red Sox, who
combined to spend over 350 million dollars on their teams’ salaries in both the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Injuries to closer B.J. Ryan and 2003 Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay derailed the Jays quickly in
2007. And an enormous contract given to centerfielder Vernon Wells was followed up by injuries and
disappointments. Then the Tampa Bay Rays passed Toronto in 2008, as they made their improbable, real.
          Soon, Riccardi, more proud and stubborn, than measured and flexible, would take the heat and get
fired in late 2009. His failures are attributable to not listening to various employees (scouts, personnel
development, and analysts) and not seeing a bigger picture in dealing away Halladay during the 2009
season. (Halladay would leave later via a monster 3-team trade. See: Bush Era, Fantasy).
          Billy Beane had employed Paul DePodesta, a Harvard graduate that had little practical baseball
skills, aside from an educational intern stint under John Hart with the Cleveland Indians in the mid-1990s.
But DePodesta employed a classical statistical bent that eventually led to the post of Los Angeles Dodgers’
GM (though fired late in 2005 and replaced by a former sports reporter in Ned Colletti). DePodesta then
would move on to San Diego under long-time GM Kevin Towers. Ownership troubles in L.A. may have
been the kiss of death to this too-quick-to-evaluate marriage.
          That said, results are what make the successes of the remaining new moneyball breed all to clear.

                                                                              Theo Epstein (1973-), a Yale-educated
                                                                     lawyer, was the initial prodigy in becoming the
                                                                     youngest GM in MLB history in 2002, after the
                                                                     Boston Red Sox were sold to John Henry (and
                                                                     former Padres owner Tom Werner) for
                                                                     $700,000,000.114 Epstein’s rapid success led to the
                                                                     first World Series title for Boston in more than 80
                                                                     years in 2004. (The Red Sox hired sabermetric
                                                                     founder Bill James as a ‘consultant’ during this
                                                                     time.)
                                                                              In the early 1990s, Epstein interned with
                                                                     the Baltimore Orioles before graduating from Yale
                                                                     in 1995 with a degree in American Studies. He
                                                                     then moved west – working long hours for the
Theo Epstein – the head of the Boston Red Sox                        Padres in public relations while attending
resurgence from 86 years sans a title. Here                          University of San Diego Law School – before
celebrating the Red Sox winning it all. (Photo:                      heading up baseball operations under GM Kevin
Wikipedia Commons)                                                   Towers.




113
      Hakes JK, Sauer RD. An Economic Evaluation of the Moneyball Hypothesis.Unknown: SSRN; 2005 October 20. 5.

114
   Associated Press. Change of Sox: Club Sold in Record Deal to Group Led by Henry, Lerner. AOL Time Warner Company; December
22, 2001. http://www.cnnsi.com Last accessed July 13, 2006.
                                                            204

        As online technology company www.wiley.com reflect on the success of the 2004 Red Sox as a
learning tool for its technology modules:

         “Baseball is a business where employee performance can be measured down to every swing,
         throw, or step taken. Baseball analysts can easily establish baselines on every facet of the athlete’s
         physical characteristics, such as height, weight, and medical condition. This observation extends
         even to minutely defined activities such as arm strength, hitting discipline, and mental errors… The
         Rex Sox go so far as to require players in their farm system to keep a log of their every at-bat.
                  The Red Sox are practitioners of Sabermetrics… Sabermetricians argue that traditional
         measures of ballplayers’ performances are not precise. For example, runs batted in (RBIs) is heavily
         dependent on where a player hits in the batting order. Therefore, sabermetricians have developed
         measures that more accurately reflect a player’s value toward achieving a win. One such measure is
         “runs created.” This statistic counts the number of times a batter gets on base, be it by walk or hit,
         and factors in an added value for the power of a hit, be it a single or a home run.
                  To use Sabermetrics the Red Sox must have extensive data. The team uses a software
         package called ScoutAdvisor (www.scoutadvisor.com), which keeps track of player talent from the
         minors to the pros. The heart of the system is housed in a data center in Tampa, Florida. There,
         computers store raw data on baseball players, such as high school and college records, family
         backgrounds, psychological profiles, and medical histories.
                 The system gathers data daily from a range of sources. The Major League Baseball Scouting
         Bureau provides the results from its Athletic Success Profile test of prospects, asking 110 questions
         designed to uncover athletes’ psychological profile. SportsTicker (www.sportsticker.com) provides
         game reports, while STATS, Inc. (www.stats.com) employs a small army of “reporters” at games to
         gather statistics…[on a wide array of situations.] The huge advantage of ScoutAdvisor is that the
         system can slice and dice player data any way the team wants. In essence, ScoutAdvisor allows the
         Rex Sox to analyze the data to produce actionable business information. For example, the Red Sox
         put the system to good use when the team paid a large amount of money for All-Star pitcher Curt
         Schilling and traded All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs.”115

         This framework allowed the Red Sox to make numerous deals (trading for ace pitcher Josh
Beckett), bringing up young players (pitchers Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, CF Jacoby Ellsbury and 2007
Rookie of the Year 2B Dustin Pedroia) and go back to the World Series in 2007. Because of Epstein’s
coattails, the Diamondbacks hired rookie GM Josh Byrnes at 35 years old, who was a former English
major, and then close assistant to Theo Epstein.116

         Quickly general manager Josh Byrnes found himself leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to 1st
place in the NL West in 2007, without Schilling (but with a hurt Randy Johnson), or a lineup of well-
known players. This after the Diamondbacks had won only 51 games in 2004. With a young lineup of
Chris Young (a power-laden CF via the White Sox), Eric Byrnes (an Oakland CF washout), Stephen Drew
(top SS draft pick in 2005), Conor Jackson (1st base), Mark Reynolds (power-laden lad up from the minors
to replace 3rd baseman Chad Tracy) and Justin Upton (top pick in 2006), the Diamondbacks scored less
runs than their counterparts (701-721), but won 90 games, tops in the National League in 2007.
        This counter-sabermetric formula was due primarily to a dominating bullpen, as discussed, this
influenced Arizona’s success. Led by Jose Valverde as the closer, the Diamondbacks played games
extremely tight (and put their bullpen to work in high-leveraged situations) and made the best of every

115
    Duvall M. Boston Red Sox: Backstop Your Business. Unknown: Baseline Magazine; May 14, 2004. unknown. Wiley.com compiled
the article from this source.
116
    Antonen M. Youngest GMs All Business. USA Today 2006 June 1; Sect C: 1C.
                                                    205

opportunity in reaching the National League Championship series against the also surprising 2007
National League World Series representative, the Colorado Rockies.

Table 3.4.1. 2007 Arizona Bullpen Statistics
Born   Pro Debut         Pitcher      G W L IP ERA SV SO BB H HR WHIP HR/9 K/BB
1982   2006-07-18      Tony Pena      75 5 4 85.3 3.27 2 63 31 63 8         1.10 0.84 2.03
1979   2003-06-01     Jose Valverde   65 1 4 64.3 2.66 47 78 26 46 7        1.12 0.98 3.00
1978   2001-08-21       Juan Cruz     53 6 1 61.0 3.10 0 87 32 45 7         1.26 1.03 2.72
1979   2001-08-04     Brandon Lyon    73 6 4 74.0 2.68 2 40 22 70 2         1.24 0.24 1.82
1980   2006-09-04      Doug Slaten    61 3 2 36.3 2.72 0 28 14 41 4         1.51 0.99 2.00
                    Averages/Totals   65 21 15 321.0 2.92 49 296 125 265 28 1.21 0.79 2.37

        Dan O’Dowd, Colorado’s GM, once worked alongside Arizona’s Josh Byrnes while both were
doing a stint Cleveland under then GM John Hart. O’Dowd took over a Colorado Rockies franchise that
from its inception relied solely on power hitters Andres Galaragga, Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, and Ellis
Burks to win, and little else, sans pitching during the all years. Though consistently leading the National
League in runs, the team struggle to reach even .500. Free agent pitchers refused to come to Coors Field,
or when they did, failed miserably – such as the Mike Hampton/Denny Neagle deal in 2000.
        As the 2007 season came to a close, the Rockies were far behind until they went on a streak,
winning 13 out of the last 14 regular season games. After an exciting one-game playoff, with an extra-
inning win against San Diego, they continued by winning seven straight in the 2007 NLDS and NLCS.
Behind the solid play of Rookie SS Troy Tulowitzki (.291, 24, 99), RF Brad Hawpe (.291, 29, 116), 3B
Garrett Atkins (.301, 25,101) and MVP candidate LF Matt Holliday (.340, 36, 137), all of whom came
through the Rockies farm system, the club had offense, but it wasn’t solely the offense. The pitching staff
led the National League in ERA in the 2nd half of the season with youngsters Jeff Francis (17-9) and
Manny Corpas, backed by veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins. They also set a MLB record for the highest
team fielding percentage in MLB history at .9893.

Table 3.4.2. 2007 Colorado Rockies Fielding Statistics
POS PO       A        E FDG% TC/G
 1B 1,608 100          6 0.9964 10.51
 2B   321 529          6 0.9929 5.25
 3B    97   288       16 0.9600 2.46
 C   1,004 86          8 0.9927 6.74
 CF   414    11        6 0.9861 2.64
 LF   317     7        3 0.9908 2.01
  P    79   217        5 0.9833 1.85
 RF   295     7        6 0.9805 1.89
 SS   281 597         12 0.9865 5.46
Team 4,416 1,842      68 0.9893 38.81

       Unfortunately, they ran into a worthy obstacle in Boston, and bowed out after a franchise-defining
season of success.

         Hoping to follow this trend, the Texas Rangers Jon Daniels (graduate of Cornell in applied
economics and business management) at 29, and Tampa Bay’s Andrew Friedman (Tulane, management
and finance) also 29, are both running organizations long before normal baseball convention would
typically allow. Friedman’s assistance to financial securities executive, and now, owner of the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays Stuart Steinberg in the acquiring the Devil Rays led to the ultimate position: being Executive
                                                             206

Vice President of Baseball Operations or a.k.a., the General Manager of the Rays. As Theo Epstein
reflects, “Not everyone needs to put in decades and decades. It depends on the person more than the
resume.” 117
         In late November 2007, Friedman made his first eye-opening trade acquiring starting pitcher Matt
Garza, SS Jason Bartlett, and minor league Eduardo Morlan for OF Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and
Jason Pridie. One the same day, the Rays announced plans to build a new open-air, retractable roof
stadium (est. cost: $450 million) to replace the once-slated home of the Chicago White Sox – Tropicana
Field.
         The 2008 Rays broke through in the AL East and marched to the World Series, taking the Boston
Red Sox to task in an exciting American League Championship series. Youth in 3B Evan Longoria and
LHP David Price, and vets Scott Kazmir, Edwin Jackson, Matt Garza, and Carl Crawford (still under 30)
made this a dangerous team to both Red Sox Nation and Bronx Bomber fans ultimate supremacy goals in
AL East.
         Friedman has not done this all alone. Former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker and manager Joe
Maddon provide information and ideas from in creating a ‘winning attitude’ with this youthful, exciting
and talented team fighting against the mighty, spend-thrift Yankees, recent 2-time World Champion Red
Sox, and a revamping Blue Jays. (Not an easy task.) As the key to all insightful decisions potentially made
(in baseball) is the right energy, vitality, knowledge, analysis, consensus, and respect.

         Meanwhile in mid-July 2006, Texas GM Jon Daniels had positioned the Rangers for a possible
pennant run – tying for 1st place in the AL West with Beane’s Oakland Athletics. (Unfortunately, even in
acquiring free agent LF Carlos Lee, the Rangers fell apart during the stretch run, as did the A’s. In 2007-
2008, the Rangers brought up the rear in the AL West.
         The 2009 season then saw a legitimate run to the post season with pitching coming to ‘The
Ballpark in Arlington.’ 20-year old fireballing phenom Neftali Feliz broke out in September and is expected
to anchor an improving pitching staff with youth and talent populating the Texas farm system. Jon Daniels
now calls on HOF pitcher Nolan Ryan for advice. )
         These ‘boy wonders’ need to know more than personnel decisions as Steinberg surmises, “ I need
someone who knows more than just picking the best shortstop.”118 The growth process needed starts with
people learning from people that have done it before, but still respect the future. Daniels also learnt his
craft from an internship with the Colorado Rockies and former Cleveland/Texas GM John Hart, who led
the Cleveland Indians to division wins in six of sevens seasons starting in 1995 as their GM. (John Hart
drafted and brought along Richie Sexson, Brian Giles, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome through that
Cleveland system, becoming stars on other teams – after many productive seasons in Cleveland.)

          It is the new evolution of baseball to utilize people of all ages and backgrounds and to add
statistics of all sorts to further success on the field of play. As Paul Caron and Rafael Gely emphasize in
quoting Mark Gerson’s Home Run from The Weekly Standard, “[I]f the market for baseball players is not
efficient, then no industry can be safely considered efficient. And inefficient markets create opportunities
for people who think in new ways. Billy Beane is a baseball genius, but it doesn’t take a genius to follow his
example and start asking the right questions.”119 And with this questioning, often the evaluation process
must consider people from non-baseball industries as possibly more talented in controlling teams’ futures
than the long-time standard bearers of the sport – the well traveled scouts, the minor league managers,

117
      Ibid. 2C.
118
      Ibid. 2C.
119
  Caron, PL, Gely R. What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics. Texas Law Review Vol. 82 (1483).
2004. 1498.
                                                             207

people with generational ties to the sport and former players whose knowledge is often skewed by certain
experiences, and colored beyond any logical end.
          The work of the SABR organization and the individual efforts of Bill James has resulted (if only
years later) in a salient, tangible, and productive usage of stats incorporated into the complex realm of
baseball operations. The Oakland Athletics may have been the first and marginally best (under Sandy
Alderson and Billy Beane’s regime) to understand the power of statistics, the financial opportunity in
cheaper replacement parts, and the paying accordingly to those special skill sets, but before Moneyball could
be properly assessed for what it is (as a written documentary of how the Oakland team is/was put together
under newly learned methods in the late 1990s-2002), several other teams had instituted their unique
version of that particular program, and will have to be judged accordingly, failures with successes alike.

Forerunners and Copycats
        Other men such as long-time Houston chief executive, consultant and baseball man Talbot Smith
(who learned under Gabe Paul of Cincinnati (1951-1960), Cleveland (1962-1973) and New York Yankee
(mid-1970s) General Manager fame) recognized the power of statistics during the very early incarnations
of the SABR. (Smith is also a member.) In a September 2007 interview with Bizofbaseball.com’s founder
Maury Brown, Tal Smith reflects his opinions what a GM needs:
        “I guess it’s like asking about a player … you would like a 5 Tool player. You want a 5 Tool
        general manager, as well. Obviously that is a question we have asked because Drayton and I both
        think that sabermetrics and statistical analysis is a tool – it is a resource that should be employed in
        conjunction with the normal scouting activities. I think you use everything at your disposal. I think
        we want somebody that is comfortable and conversant with that; they don’t have to do the
        crunching of the numbers or understand all of the formulas and what-not, but I think they have to
        be receptive to that. Ideally you would like somebody that has a good sense from an evaluation
        standpoint; but again, I have to make the distinction that a good scout and the GM position is not
        the same thing. A GM gets to evaluate his own talent and the rest of the job is managing and
        directing, and I think some people confuse that and look at people who are successful talent
        evaluators and believe that is the key ingredient. It is a part that you would like to have in a GM,
        but not all great talent evaluators are going to become competent GMs.”

        Houston would later hire ex-Philadelphia GM Ed Wade (1998-2005), who had worked for Talbot
Smith from 1981 to 1986. Wade was an associate at Tal Smith Enterprises, a sports consulting company
that specializes in representing baseball teams in salary arbitration.120 (Bill James and Smith have faced off
– James by accounts is not any fan or favorite of Mr. Smith.)
        Wade’s ability had put together a significantly talented infield in Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and
Ryan Howard that were power cogs in the 2008 World Series winner and return appearance in 2009.

        When a meddlesome owner got suspended for two years, the New York Yankees of the early
1990s got on track not by acquiring the “flavor of the month” but by drafting and developing the talent
that led to the last dynasty: 1996-2001 Yankees.
        Gene “Stick” Michael was the GM, who with the vast resources of the Cleveland baron of ship
repair and Yankee baseball destruction121, would draft Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, and
Andy Pettitte while signing Jimmy Key and trading Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill. A drafted guy name
Mariano became a pretty good closer.


120
  Rosenthal Ken. Astros to hire ex-Phillies GM Wade. Unknown: Fox Sports Media Interactive; 2007. Last Accessed: December 11,
2007.
121
      George Steinbrenner.
                                                             208

        Amongst Michael’s staff, Mitch Lukevics was a minor league pitcher in the Chicago White Sox
organization who got a college degree at Penn State. From there he taught pitching in the minors under
then White Sox GM Dave Dombrowski (who engineered the Detroit Tigers to a 2006 successful World
Series appearance.) After a White Sox shakeup, Lukevic would survive, and learn more about the inner
cogs of a baseball team functions.
        Lukevics abilities were soon sought by the Yankees – and he move up to farm director during the
banishment of The Boss. The Yankees first return to World Series in 15 years had the handprints of
Michaels, Lukevics, George Bradley (player development) and Billy Livesay (quality control) on it:

             Catcher Joe Girardi via trade of Steve Schumacher & Mike DeJong
             Catcher Jorge Posada (draft)
             1B Tino Martinez via trade of Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis
             2B Chuck Knoblauch via trade of Eric Milton and Christian Guzman
             3B Wade Boggs (free agency)
             3B Scott Brosius (free agency)
             SS Derek Jeter (draft)
             OF Paul O’Neill via trade of Roberto Kelly and Rodney Hines
             OF Bernie Williams (draft)
             SP Andy Pettitte (draft)
             SP Jimmy Key (free agency)
             SP David Cone via trade of Marty Jansen, Michael Gordon and two draft picks

         For their troubles: all were fired after the 1995 season, the first where the Yankees made the
playoffs. “So you can see making of that 1996 ball club was through player development and scouting.
From the year 1988, when Bernie was signed, to when we were fired in Arizona in 1995, we kept telling
George what we had, but he really didn’t know what we had. Player developmentally, he didn’t know what
he had.”122
         Mitch Lukevics though came full circle on The Boss: He heads up player development for the
Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays under Andrew Friedman. While the Rays made the series, the madness in king
George slowly ebbs toward finality. (George has for years let the people “in Tampa”, make the calls on
issues, even when they won.)123 Yet, even George has achieved one last roar despite Lukevics’s efforts.

         Baseball has become a “copy cat” league, much in the same vein the NFL has been through
various incarnations of defenses (4-3, 3-4, Tampa 2) and offenses (West Coast and Fun and Gun).
Whatever seems to work for one team – high school player development, college drafting, trading excess
talent, recyclable superstars, great bullpens, platoons, market inefficiencies – can be employed, if the
statistics reflect a more favorable return in going that route. The key is: commitment to a strategy.
          As Baseball Prospectus writer Dayn Perry reflects in Baseball Between the Numbers, “ Why make an
either-or quandary out of two options that can coexist and be equally embraced? Beer or tacos? Nope:
beer and tacos. Stats and scouts. After all, when it comes to evaluating baseball talent, stats and scouts are
complementary, not contradictory approaches.”124 The purpose of each method should be to draw up a

122
   Golenbock Peter. George: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built The Yankee Empire. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.;
2009. 283.
123
      The Yankee Years and George.
124
  Keri J. Editor. Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game is Wrong. New York: Basic Books;
2006. 370-371.
                                                                  209

better sketch of what a player is, and how that will work in a game to the benefit of the team’s success.
The reality is with millions of dollars at stake, anything available should be used to improve such
knowledge.
          Maybe an unrelated, yet a truer statement of what has happened in recent baseball management
and scouting comes from Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat in providing this baseball applicable quote:
“It is this triple convergence – of new players [in the front office], on a new playing field [of statistical
analysis], developing new processes and habits for horizontal collaboration [in building a professional
baseball team] – that I believe is the most important force shaping…the early twenty-first century [of
baseball].”125
          And thus this statistical management mantra is sung to fruition…with traditional scouting still very
important to the future of the game.

Diagram 3.4.1. A Sabermetric Family Tree?

                                          Sabermetric GM Family Tree
                                      Brian Cashman                                                        Kevin Towers
       Houston Astros                 •New York Yankees GM                                                 •San Diego GM
        Talbot Smith                  •OBP Proponent                                                       •Former boss of Epstein
                                      •Rival of Epstein                                                    •Hired DePodesta after
                                                                                                           LA GM stint
                                      • Ex-GM Gabe Paul
                                      Worked with Tal Smith
                                                                 Boston Red Sox
 Andrew Friedman
 •Tulane, Mgmt. & Finance, 29 when hired
                                                                  Theo Epstein
 •Assisted Tampa owner Stuart Steinberg
                                         Mark Shapiro
 •Hired as Tampa GM
                                         •Took over for John Hart as Cleveland GM Josh Byrnes
 •Assist by Ex-Houston                                                              •Assistant under Theo Epstein
                                         •History major at Princeton
 GM Gerry Hunsicker                                                                 •Interned under John Hart
                                         •Father Ron was an agent in MLB
                                                                                    •Director of Scouting in Cleveland
                                                    Jon Daniels                     •English major
                                                    •Interned in Colorado
      Cleveland Indians/                            •Interned under John Hart
                                                                                    •Assistant under Dan O’Dowd
                                                                                    •Hired as Arizona GM
        Texas Rangers                               •Graduate of Cornell, Economics
                                                    •Hired as Texas GM
          John Hart
                                             Neal Huntington                                        Oakland A’s
                                             •Spent 9 years in Cleveland under Hart
                                             •Amherst College Graduate                              Billy Beane
                                             •New Pittsburgh GM

 Dan O’Dowd                                  Paul DePodesta
 •Interned under John Hart                   •Assistant GM under Beane
 •Indians Farm Director                      •Interned under John Hart in Cleveland       J.P. Riccardi
 •Hired as Colorado GM in 1999               •Harvard Graduate                            •Assistant GM under Beane
 •Josh Byrnes’ boss in Colorado              •Hired as LA Dodger GM (fired)               •Interned in Cleveland, under John Hart
                                             •Works for San Diego’s Kevin Towers          •Hired as Toronto GM (fired)




125
      Friedman TL. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2005. 181-182.
                                               210




Year    AB    Hits   HR    Runs    BA      Jackpot Jones: Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones debut on
1993     3     2      0     2      0.667
                                           9/11/93 at 21 years 5 months old. And Atlanta has never
                                           looked back. His ‘raw’ statistics rate him the best switch-
1995    524   139    23     87     0.265
                                           hitting third basemen ever. Only Eddie Murray and Mickey
1996    598   185    30    114     0.309   Mantle have more home runs as a bomber from both sides.
1997    597   176    21    100     0.295   If he can play past 40, healthy, he may join them in the 500
1998    601   188    34    123     0.313   HR club. Jones has a small chance of joining the 3,000 hit
1999    567   181    45    116     0.319   club. First ballot HOF soon to follow. (Photo: Courtesy of
2000    579   180    36    118     0.311
                                           Keith Allison)
2001    572   189    38    113     0.330
2002    548   179    26     90     0.327
2003    555   169    27    103     0.305
2004    472   117    30     69     0.248
2005    358   106    21     66     0.296
2006    411   133    26     87     0.324
2007    513   173    29    108     0.337
2008    439   160    22     82     0.364
Totals 7,337 2,277   408   1,378   0.310
                                                               4
                                        IKE ERA (1950 –1963)
      Television influences the
      shape of Major Leagues
      and Minor Leagues
      Shifting Franchises
      Expansion into The West
      Expanded Schedule to 162
      games
      Astroturf and Domes
      become a reality
                                                                                                         Willie Mays
        Bobby Thomson: Shot Heard ‘round the World                Don Larsen: Perfect Game in 5th game of 1956 WS
                                      Boston Braves                  NY Giants and                        Strike Zone
                 CF: Willie Mays      Move to                        Brooklyn Dodgers                     expands and
   The Whiz Kids Mickey Mantle,
                                      Milwaukee                      head West                            Mounds are
                                                                                         ‘Go-Go’ White
     1950        Duke Snider                       NY Giants   1955                      Sox              kept higher
                                                                        Milwaukee
                                                   Cleveland            Braves
                   NY Yankees: still dominate      Indians                                      Harvey Haddix
                                                                                                Bill Mazeroski

    Re-        1951 Park                        1953        Roberto           1957          1959            1961        1963
                    Attendance                              Clemente
    definition                                                               Anti-Trust & Monopoly   10 teams per league, 162
                    Drops                                 Brooklyn           Subcommittee:           game schedule and Roger
    of Strike                                             finally            Growth of Television    Maris’s asterisk becomes
    Zone                                                  wins it all        continues               a thought...
                                                                                   Killebrew,
  Best MLB Players: Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews
  Duke Snider, Frank Robinson, Richie Ashburn, Warren Spahn, Robin Roberts, Early Wynn, Whitey Ford, Bob Lemon


From The Boys of Summer by New York sportswriter and renowned author Roger Kahn:

“…The year 1952 casts a disturbing, well remembered shadow. It was then that the American electorate
disdained the troubling eloquence of Adlai Stevenson for Dwight Eisenhower and what Stevenson called
green fairways of indifference. That very baseball season Eisenhower outran Robert A. Taft for the
Republican nomination and, hands clasped above his bald, broad dome, mounted his irresistible campaign
for the Presidency. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy rose in Washington and King Farouk fell in Egypt.
Although the Korean War killed 120 Americans a week, times were comfortable at home. A four-door
Packard with Thunderbolt-8 engine sold for $2,613 and, according to advertisements, more than 53
percent of all Packard manufactured since 1899 still ran…It was a time of transition, which few
recognized, and glutting national self-satisfaction. Students and scholars were silent. Only a few people
distinguished the tidal discontent beginning to sweep into black America.”
                                                               212

McCarthyism. The ‘Say Hey’ Kid. Brown v.
Board of Education. Black & white television
broadcasts. ‘I like Ike.’ The nuclear-
powered submarine Nautilus. West Side Story.
Sputnik. A Raisin in the Sun. From Here to
Eternity. The continued integration of
baseball. These things circled the minds of
Americans in a decade that saw growth and
expansion to the West Coast. Home
technology improved and expanded in a
booming housing market, while people
began to watch ballgames more regularly on
TV, and baseball owners saw falling profits
due to inner city decay, old ballparks lacking
amenities, and neighborhoods losing             1950s Housing developments in the suburbs were a
                           1
populations due to crime.                      measure of the growth of personal prosperity. (Courtesy
                                                                   of Ian Duke.)

                                                         During the 1950s, many social problems not addressed
                                                         before (equality) grew into the Civil Rights movement. It
                                                         seem to start at the back of a bus with Rosa Parks
                                                         standing up for her inalienable rights, but the tell tale
                                                         signs of change came first via sport and military service.
                                                         Baseball’s spring training and travel schedules sparked
                                                         culture clashes as black athletes experienced rejection
                                                         and racial slurs for using basic rights that Parks obtained
                                                         via the U.S. Supreme Court. Still, many Dixieland
                                                         locales refused any service to those of color and
                                                         backlash and violence loomed on the horizon.

                                                         (Left: Rosa Parks at the start of racial desegregation on
                                                         buses, schools, and other public places. Martin Luther
                                                         King Jr. talking in the background. Courtesy of the
                                                         National Archives.)


         The U.S.S.R., all ready considered a serious threat to the American way of life, launched the first
satellite in 1957. The space race was triggered – and plenty of progress came from the birth of NASA as
the United States sought to catch up to the Russians. The divide grew greater from our recent allies of
WWII and our determination to prevent the spread of Communism into various spots on the globe (Cuban
Missile Crisis) became an onerous task that became a linchpin to the social upheaval in the next era.
         President John F. Kennedy took over the mantle of curtailing the Iron Curtain’s march across the
globe in 1961, and found his adversary, Nikita Kruschchev, was irrationally decided to trap the United
States into warfare once again. Berlin heard Kennedy’s words: “Ich bin ein Berliner.” But the Wall went



1
 James Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: The Classic – Completely Revised. New York: The Free Press; 2001.
241.
                                                              213

up; Checkpoint Charlie, a place of lasting intrigue and late night meetings, fostered misgivings; as these
nations plotted and plodded through the half-century long Cold War.2

         The growth of television introduced us to Uncle Miltie, the Texaco Star Theatre, Ed Sullivan and a
talking horse, Mr. Ed. Cultural stereotypes played out blissfully – like The Lone Ranger’s Tonto – but a closer
examination of the deeper contexts became possible as television provided an instant medium unlike any
that had come before. In the 1960 Presidential campaign between Senator John F. Kennedy (whose father
attempted three times to buy MLB teams) and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon (seen at Yankee games
after Watergate and whose owner was convicted of illegal contributions to Nixon’s campaign) participated
in that first televised debate. Kennedy’s youthful appearance on television was cited as the deciding factor,
whereas, radio audiences thought Nixon won on the merits. The nation’s course was partly determined by
a box and tube soon derisively called: “the idiot box.”
        Culturally, the birth of Rock and Roll took place in
various forms. Whether it was Billy Haley & the Comets,
Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny
Cash, or Motown, the world of music would never be
the same again. The developers of the beat (4/4 time
signatures) and the chords (3 or 4 at most), added in
lyrics that expressed more than just simple love and
happiness themes. The blues and jazz influences came in
the more complex pieces, with driving rhythm sections,
and spontaneity in the bridges and during live
performances.3 Barry Gordy established Hitsville, USA,
and soon, no teenager was hip without knowing the
latest hits playing on the growing FM radio dial.
                                                              Elvis Presley was just another soldier as
                                                                the ‘King of Rock and Roll. ‘ (Courtesy
                                                                       Fitch Hollister, Wikipedia)

        Iconic Toots Shor, located at 51 West 51st Street, NYC, was the most envied saloon in all of
America. Nearly every famous ballplayer, gangster, Broadway/Hollywood mover and shaker, politician, or
Supreme Court judge that came through the city that never sleeps had a night out at Toots. The sleazy
characters, such as Godfather Frank Costello, did a salute to U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren while another
big Frank, Sinatra, would be drinking with Dino Martin, while Joe D. (DiMaggio) would be in a back
corner listening to his favorite sportswriter/chauffeur Jimmy Cannon.
        Toots, meanwhile, when not calling his sports clientele “crumb-bums” for every loss that the
Yankees had – which were not that many come October – could press the flesh with future commander-
in-chiefs and dour at the notion his place was on the map because of its sterling menu. When Louis B.
Mayer flew in, and had to wait for a table, he cracked on Toots’ food, to which Toots replied, “It will be
better than some of your crummy pictures I stood in line to see.”4 Before there was a Spago, or TMZ,
seeing celebrated guys out mingling meant only one place in America. (See LBJ Era: Drugs & Baseball
Culture)



2
  Smyser WR. Kennedy and the Berlin Wall: A Hell of a Lot Better than a War. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers,
Inc.; 2009. 235.
3
    World Book. The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. U-V. Chicago: World Book, Inc.; 2002. 377.
4
    Barra Allen. Yogi Berra: The Eternal Yankee. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2009. 187-189.
                                                                    214

        In baseball, the Boston Braves owners (Lou and Charles Perini) moved to Milwaukee from Boston
following their apathetic 1952 attendance of only 281,278.5 In the ensuing years in Milwaukee, 1.8 to 2.2
million fans attended their games. Walter O’Malley and Horace Stoneham jetted their New York teams in
1958 to Los Angeles and San Francisco, following the model of the Braves franchise. (Two of the very
best teams of the 1950s couldn’t make it in the largest media and population market in America.) By the
end of this era, four more ‘expansion’ teams would don uniforms in Los Angeles (1961), Minnesota
(1961), Houston (1962), and New York (1962.) (See LBJ Era: Stadiums)

Have Dinger, Will Miss
One particular change rarely mentioned is the ‘re-definition’ of the baseball strike zone in first in 1950 and
then in 1963.6 It is assumed that the prior strike zone was (in the years following WWII) left even more to
the umpires’ discretion (than it all ready is) and that they were arbitrarily shrinking it to the benefit of
hitters, as seen by the drastic increase in home runs and walks relative to the 1930s and early 1940s.
Obviously, some complaints by pitchers could have led to this ‘re-defining.’
         Nonetheless, hitters became more aggressive, striking out more, walking relatively the same
amount of times but cranking out the long balls in bushels. Stolen bases nearly disappeared from the
arsenals of players, as seen by Dom DiMaggio American League-leading 15 swipes in 1950.7 The strategies
had shifted from contact, walks, and stolen bases to swinging for the fences, station-to-station base
running, with good pitching, hopefully.

Diagram 4.0.1. Strike Zone Definition from 1950 to1968.

                                   E volving B alls and Strikes: 1950-68 Strike Zone


                             Sh oulder-T o p o f Z one


                                                                                                 A rm pits -T o p o f Z one
                            M o u nd s k ep t at or
                         ab ove 15” in m an y p a rks

                                  1963-68                        1950-62
                               S trik e Z on e                 Strik e Z one


                                                                                            T op of K nee -B ottom of Z o ne
                                          B ottom of K n ee-B otto m of Z on e




5
  Baseball Statistics [1871-2005]. Lahman S, Editor. Access Database, Edition 5.3. Rochester, NY: Baseball Archive Website; 2005. 25
MB. http://www.baseball1.com, Website; 5/01/2006.
6
  Reichler Joseph, editor. The Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Official Record of Major League Baseball. 7th Ed. New York:
Collier Macmillan Publishers; 1988. 2871-72.
7
 Reichler J, editor. The Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Official Record of Major League Baseball. 7th Ed. New York: Collier
Macmillan Publishers; 1988. 402.
                                                                    215

        A comparison between the 1950s players and the 1990s can be summed up in this quote from
Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats:

            “…It was a time when skinny shortstops didn't hit 20 home runs a year. The ball wasn't juiced up,
            and a pitcher could actually manipulate the cover to raise the seams and get a better grip for
            throwing a curve…there were no muscle-toning and exercise rooms adjoining clubhouses or
            nearby special indoor areas for batting practice…Branch Rickey, squeezed the dollar with a death
            grip. Greedy agents hadn't discovered how easy it was to siphon money out of the game...Today
            players are bigger and faster than they once were. They have the benefit of vastly improved
            equipment, including batting gloves, specialized sunglasses, and elaborate protective gear for
            catchers.”8

       Yet, Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, soon reset the standard from the skinny shortstops to power-laden,
middle-of-the-order sluggers. It only took thirty years to become the ‘standard’ reality.

Table 4.0.1. Strikeout or Home Run Kings? (Men with 160 Ks in a season)
Year      Player           SO     HR     Ratio   Year       Player        SO    HR   Ratio   Year      Player         SO HR Ratio
1963 Dave Nicholson        175    22     7.95    1996 Henry Rodriguez     160   36   4.44    2005 Pat Burrell         160 32 5.00
1968 Donn Clendenon        163    17     9.59    1997 Ron Gant            162   17   9.53    2005 Richie Sexson       167 39 4.28
1968 Reggie Jackson        171    29     5.90    1997 Sammy Sosa          174   36   4.83    2005 Adam Dunn           168 40 4.20
                                                                                                    Curtis
1968    Dick Allen         161     33    4.88    1997   Jay Buhner        175   40   4.38    2006   Granderson        174   19   9.16
1969    Bobby Bonds        187     32    5.84    1998   Sammy Sosa        171   66   2.59    2006   Adam Dunn         194   40   4.85
1970    Bobby Bonds        189     26    7.27    1999   Jim Thome         171   33   5.18    2006   Bill Hall         162   35   4.63
1971    Reggie Jackson     161     32    5.03    1999   Sammy Sosa        171   63   2.71    2006   Alfonso Soriano   160   46   3.48
1975    Mike Schmidt       180     38    4.74    2000   Preston Wilson    187   31   6.03    2006   Ryan Howard       181   58   3.12
1977    Butch Hobson       162     30    5.40    2000   Mo Vaughn         181   36   5.03    2007   Mike Cameron      160   21   7.62
1979    Gorman Thomas      175     45    3.89    2000   Jim Thome         171   37   4.62    2007   Jack Cust         164   26   6.31
1980    Gorman Thomas      170     38    4.47    2000   Jim Edmonds       167   42   3.98    2007   Dan Uggla         167   31   5.39
1984    Juan Samuel        168     15    11.20   2000   Troy Glaus        163   47   3.47    2007   Ryan Howard       199   47   4.23
1985    Steve Balboni      166     36    4.61    2000   Sammy Sosa        168   50   3.36    2007   Adam Dunn         165   40   4.13
1986    Jim Presley        172     27    6.37    2001   Jose Hernandez    185   25   7.40    2008   Chris Young       165   22   7.50
1986    Pete Incaviglia    185     30    6.17    2001   Pat Burrell       162   27   6.00    2008   Mark Reynolds     204   28   7.29
1986    Rob Deer           179     33    5.42    2001   Richie Sexson     178   45   3.96    2008   Jack Cust         197   33   5.97
1986    Jose Canseco       175     33    5.30    2001   Jim Thome         185   49   3.78    2008   Carlos Pena       166   31   5.35
1987    Rob Deer           186     28    6.64    2002   Brad Wilkerson    161   20   8.05    2008   Dan Uggla         171   32   5.34
1987    Pete Incaviglia    168     27    6.22    2002   Jose Hernandez    188   24   7.83    2008   Ryan Howard       199   48   4.15
1987    Juan Samuel        162     28    5.79    2002   Mike Cameron      176   25   7.04    2009   Jack Cust         185   25   7.40
1987    Cory Snyder        166     33    5.03    2002   Adam Dunn         170   26   6.54    2009   Brandon Inge      170   27   6.30
1989    Bo Jackson         172     32    5.38    2002   Derrek Lee        164   27   6.07    2009   Mark Reynolds     223   44   5.07
1990    Mickey Tettleton   160     15    10.67   2003   Jim Thome         182   47   3.87    2009   Adam Dunn         177   38   4.66
1990    Andres Galarraga   169     20    8.45    2004   Mark Bellhorn     177   17   10.41   2009   Jason Bay         162   36   4.50
1990    Cecil Fielder      182     51    3.57    2004   Corey Patterson   168   24   7.00    2009   Carlos Pena       163   39   4.18
1991    Rob Deer           175     25    7.00    2004   Craig Wilson      169   29   5.83    2009   Ryan Howard       186   45   4.13
                                                 2004   Adam Dunn         195   46   4.24


        The further re-definition in 1963 to include area above the armpits to the shoulders and to the
bottom of the knees was a primary reason the pitchers of the 1960s were so dominate. Add to that, the
practice of keeping mounds at or above the legally regulated 15” in height (as stated in the Complete


8
    Kuenster John. Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2001. 6-7.
                                                                                                                 216

Official Rules (1961.)9 One can understand why hitters starting losing more battles from 1963 through
1968. (As Dave Nicholson became the first 160-strikeout man in 1963. Since then, 76 players have topped
that plateau, a strikeout per game. The Bush era, in only four seasons, has seen nearly as many 160-K men
as the LBJ and Reagan era combined did in 28 seasons.)

        This pitching dominance did not happen immediately – but took time to progress – because, like
other rule changes, subjective to umpires, pitchers fine-tuned, and batters countered back, game to game.
(As they also had in the Grant Era.) But since 1952, neither league has average more walks per team than
strikeouts. (See Graph. 4.0.1.) As the decade wore on, walks remained (relatively) constant, but strikeouts
rose, and then exploded in the late 1960s. They came back down thereafter, as the mound was lowered.
        In the more recent seasons, strikeouts have remained high while walking is more ‘a natural talent’
than a honed skill taught by the farm systems of MLB. (Exceptions occur obviously.) As a new crop of
superstars tend to swing very freely for the fences, strikeout ratios of five (or six) – to – one home run are
not unusual, as long as thirty dingers hit the boards per season. (Ask new record holder for strikeouts, 3B
Mark Reynolds of the Diamondbacks, about this phenomenon. See: Table 4.0.1. above).
                                                                                 G ra p h 4 .0 .1 .: S trik e o u ts to W a lk s 1 9 3 7 to 1 9 7 7
                                                                                             (A d ju s te d fo r S e a s o n L e n g th )
                                1000




                                 900
                                                             L a s t T im e S trik e o u ts w e re
                                                             L e s s th a n W a lk s in M L B H is to ry



                                 800
                                                                                                                                    Y e a r o f th e P itc h e r:
    Avg No. of Times per Team




                                                                                                                                    N L W a lk s c o m p a re d
                                                                                                                                    to S trik e o u ts a t
                                                                                                                                                                                                AL Ks
                                                                                                                                    A ll-tim e lo w

                                 700                                                                                                                                                            AL BBs

                                                                                                                                                                                                NL Ks

                                                                                                                                                                                                NL BBs

                                 600




                                 500




                                 400
                                       1937

                                              1939

                                                     1941

                                                            1943

                                                                   1945

                                                                          1947

                                                                                  1949

                                                                                         1951

                                                                                                1953

                                                                                                       1955

                                                                                                               1957

                                                                                                                      1959

                                                                                                                             1961

                                                                                                                                       1963

                                                                                                                                              1965

                                                                                                                                                     1967

                                                                                                                                                             1969

                                                                                                                                                                    1971

                                                                                                                                                                           1973

                                                                                                                                                                                  1975

                                                                                                                                                                                         1977




                                                                                                              Y ear


        As Don Malcolm in the Big Bad Baseball Annual 2000 remarks, “one gets the sense that the impact
of the strike zone change on hit and walk prevention during the initial transition year (1963) was roughly
equal in scope. However, when we examine H9 [hits per nine innings] and BB9 [walks per nine innings]
differentials for 1962-63, we see that the BB9 difference is more than twice that for H9 (12% to 5%).” In
9
 Treat S, Turkin H, Thompson SC. editors. The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball. 5th edition. South Brunswick and New York: A.S.
Barnes and Company; 1970. 656.
                                                               217

his article he studies QMAX, a matrix analysis for starting pitchers hit and walk prevention per start, and
finds that finesse pitchers did improve a great deal as well as power pitchers, who are normally noted for
having poorer control, for the 1963 season. Pitching in the long-term benefits the power pitchers more
due to hit prevention over walk prevention.10 Hitters though, swung hard no matter who tossed the pill.

Doctor Field Good
In Diamonds, groundskeeping legend Emil Bossard’s prodigious ability to doctor the ball diamond, to ‘build
up’ foul lines, and to craft a mound is well recorded: “When the American League decided to standardize
all eight pitching mounds in 1946, a group of veteran hurlers were consulted about the best model. They
simply said, ‘Copy Cleveland’s.’”11 Once again reflecting the adaptability involved in shaping a field to cater
to a particular team or style of play – or to identify the best place to pitch at or hit at based on the field
setup. (As discussed in FDR era, Emil’s ability was passed down to Roger Bossard, who is still the Chicago
White Sox chief groundskeeper, and in November 2007, removed the “crown” on the cross-town rivals’
ballpark, Wrigley Field, that functioned as a drainage tool for nearly a century. Fenway Park also went
through similar transformations in the 21st century.)

       But this was the defining era of a plethora of talented center fielders. Willie Mays became the
standard to which all others were measured against. Bobby Thomson was heard around the world. Richie
Ashburn was Pete Rose (before Pete) was (eventually) for the Phillies. Duke Snider was the 3rd best CF in
New York, but considered 1st anywhere else. And with the departure of all-time great Joe DiMaggio, the
mantle was passed to one…

                      4.1. Centerfield: Statistics and Stories from the Golden Era
In 1951, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle came to New York from humble southern roots. Fifteen years
earlier, Joe DiMaggio had moved into the Yankee outfield where the Babe had just left it in immortality.
But aside from the greatness of Mays, Mantle and Joltin’ Joe, there were centerfielders a plenty baptized
during this period. From 1950-1963, seventeen centerfielders of considerable talent (either offensively,
defensively, or both) patrolled the outfields of the classic, remodeled, and temporary ballparks of the day.
Where the DiMaggio brothers, Andy Pafko, and Bobby Thomson declined (or retired) in the early 1950s,
Larry Doby, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, and Mantle supplanted (and exceeded) their memorable talents.
         Mickey Mantle had years no other centerfielder (or switch hitter) had begun to envision. Three
times he won the MVP award (back to back in 1956 & 57), the Triple Crown in 1956, while appearing in
11 World Series during this era, 10 times as the starting centerfielder. During the World Series, Mantle
slugged .505 with 16 home runs and was on the winning side 8 times. That is a lot run production and
winning coming from a rural mining district12 in Oklahoma.
         His New York counterparts in the National League, Mays and Snider, were consistently tearing the
cover off the ball to the cheers and acclaim of fans in the stands and at the beat writer’s desk, where this
trio of men were made into baseball deities, almost from the very start of their careers.
         As this long passage by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Ben Cramer in Joe DiMaggio: The
Hero’s Life reflects on this rookie’s first day on the job being blown out of proportion and the writer’s
duties (and perks thereof) of keeping star players’ activities on a heroic level:



10
  Malcolm D, Hanke B, Forman S, Furtado J, Ruane T. Big Bad Baseball Annual 2000. Unknown: Long Gone Press; 2000.
91-106.
11
     Gershman M. Diamonds: The Evolution of The Ballpark. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; 1993. 147.
12
     Mantle M, Gluck H. The Mick, an American Hero: The Legend and the Glory. New York: Doubleday; 1985. 3.
                                                            218

           “After Joe’s first day of spring training, the gray and eminent Herald Tribune informed New York:
           ‘Rookie Outfielder Blasts Three Homers in Debut’…and only in the body of the story did one
           learn, that was at batting practice – scrimmage games hadn’t even begun.
                    IN A SENSE, the writers didn’t have any choice. Not if they wanted to keep their jobs.
           And that was the best job on any newspaper. Baseball writers had status, visibility, more freedom
           than any other reporter, more travel, more good times and more money…And the quickest way to
           lose it all was to run afoul of the fellows in the business – not the newspaper business, but the
           baseball business.
                    Everyone knew stories of writers who annoyed the club management or players, and that
           was the last you ever saw of them…Club owners thought nothing of complaining to the editors,
           and their complaints carried weight. It was the ball clubs…that paid for the writers’ train fairs, their
           hotel rooms, their food and drink. Why shouldn’t the teams have the sort of writers they wanted?
           But it wasn’t really threat that kept the hero machine humming; the club was a traveling fraternity.
           The men at spring training – or on their special railroad cars, heading north – were your buddies,
           your meal-mates, the first guys you talked to at breakfast about some story in the paper…Sure, you
           were there to cover the club, but when the club did well, you did well…If two or three writers
           were drinking in the ante room of Babe Ruth’s suite, while [he] was disporting in the bedroom with
           a succession of female fans…well, of course their feature stories on the great Bambino were bound
           to mention his vast appetites…
                    It was Ruth who set the standard for the press, as he did so much for the modern game…
           And so, when [New York sportswriter Dan] Daniel anointed this West Coast rookie as successor
           Ruth, and the hero machine kicked into action, it didn’t merely send a call, ‘All Hands on Deck!’ It
           also sent a message, ‘Handle with Care.’”13

Table 4.1.1. Centerfield Offensive Statistics
Birth Full Name          Games CF      % CF AB          OBP SLG BA              Hits    Walks 2B     HR Runs RBI SB
                               Games
1931    Willie Mays      2992 2827     94.5%   10,881   0.385   0.557   0.302   3,283   1464   523   660   2062   1903   338
1940    Willie Davis     2429 2237     92.1%   9,174    0.311   0.412   0.279   2,561   418    395   182   1217   1053   398
1927    Richie Ashburn   2189 1995     91.1%   8,365    0.394   0.382   0.308   2,574   1198   317   29    1322   586    234
1931    Mickey Mantle    2401 1745     72.7%   8,102    0.422   0.557   0.298   2,415   1733   344   536   1677   1509   153
1938    Curt Flood       1759 1693     96.2%   6,357    0.339   0.389   0.293   1,861   444    271   85    851    636    88
1938    Vada Pinson      2469 1676     67.9%   9,645    0.326   0.442   0.286   2,757   574    485   256   1366   1170   305
1914    Joe DiMaggio     1736 1638     94.4%   6,821    0.395   0.579   0.325   2,214   790    389   361   1390   1537   30
1926    Duke Snider      2143 1590     74.2%   7,161    0.380   0.540   0.295   2,116   971    358   407   1259   1333   99
1929    Bill Bruton      1610 1550     96.3%   6,056    0.328   0.393   0.273   1,651   482    241   94    937    545    207
1931    Bill Virdon      1583 1504     95.0%   5,980    0.317   0.379   0.267   1,596   442    237   91    735    502    47
1917    Dom DiMaggio     1399 1338     95.6%   5,640    0.380   0.419   0.298   1,680   750    308   87    1046   618    100
1923 Larry Doby          1533 1329     86.7%   5,348    0.384   0.490   0.283   1,515   871    243   253   960    970    47
1929 Jim Piersall        1734 1214     70.0%   5,890    0.332   0.386   0.272   1,604   524    256   104   811    591    115
1934 Jim Landis          1346 1132     84.1%   4,288    0.338   0.375   0.247   1,061   588    169   93    625    467    139
1923 Bobby               1779 982      55.2%   6,305    0.330   0.462   0.270   1,705   559    267   264   903    1026   38
     Thomson
1928 Gus Bell            1741   811    46.6% 6,478 0.330 0.445 0.281 1,823 470                 311 206 865        942    30
1921 Andy Pafko          1852   803    43.4% 6,292 0.344 0.449 0.285 1,796 561                 264 213 844        976    38




13
     Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 81-82.
                                                   219




Mickey Mantle and the fans: Showing off an award, Mantle was a crowd pleaser for his feats and
carried the Yankees to wins and World Series throughout his career. (Courtesy of John Shanahan – his
brother, Kevin, is holding the award.)


         Richie Ashburn (1927-1997) was passed over for the Hall of Fame until 1995 (mainly due to lack
of power statistics), but he defined what a leadoff batter was in the #1 Philly uniform. Richie’s tenacious
play, reckless abandon, and ultimate toughness in a town wanton of that grit, encouraged teammates and
garnered praise during the less-than-successful seasons that beset the Phillies after 1950. A five-time All
Star over his career (with Mays, Snider, Bell, and Pinson sometimes making it in his stead in the National
League), Ashburn racked up more seasons with 400 putouts (See Table 4.1.2.) than any other centerfielder
in baseball history.
         Richie Ashburn’s greatness on defense, lifetime .308 BA, and .394 OBP certainly should have been
honored sooner by the National Baseball Hall of Fame than 1995. In reflection, this author would rate him
the 5th best centerfielder of this group (behind Mays, Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Duke Snider) if only
because his defense was near the top amongst all centerfielders in MLB History in as much as putouts,
assist records, and fielding percentage do reflect his total ability.
                                                                220

         Bill James: “[Ashburn] has the best defensive statistics of any outfielder ever to play major league
baseball.”14 On the last day of 1950 season, Ashburn made a game saving throw to home to cut down the
potential winning run of Cal Abrams in the 9th inning. Duke Snider, fellow centerfielder, had singled to
Ashburn but it went for naught. In the 10th inning, George Sisler’s son, Dick, hit a homer that sent the
Phillies to the World Series.15
         Ashburn also was a foul ball wizard to such an extent that he likely cost the National League
$4,000 in baseballs (at $2 per ball, per year). So difficult a man to put a baseball by that Giants owner
Horace Stoneham remarked, “Look at that little devil take money right out my pocket,” after 13
consecutive foul balls in one at bat.16 He once played 730 games in a row and ended his career as a .300
hitter in his last full season, one of only a handful to accomplish the feat while also hitting 7 home runs,
twice his usual total for any other year.

Table 4.1.2. Centerfield Records for Most Years with 400 Putouts
Centerfielders         400 PO Seasons       Putouts     Total Assists
Richie Ashburn                 9            6089        178
Willie Mays                    6            7095        198
Max Carey                      6            6363        339
Brett Butler                   5            5341        123
Lloyd Waner                    5            4860        159
Chet Lemon                     5            4993        115
Kirby Puckett                  5            4392        142
Dwayne Murphy                  4            3579        80
Garry Maddox                   4            4774        107
Andre Dawson                   4            5153        157
Sam West                       4            4622        155
Dom DiMaggio                   4            3859        147
Taylor Douthit                 4            3500        76
Sam Chapman                    4            3754        118
Notables: Joe DiMaggio (3), Bill Virdon (3), Gus Bell (2), Willie Davis (2), Jim Piersall (2), Vada
Pinson (2), Bill Bruton (2), Jim Landis (1), Bobby Thomson (1), Curt Flood (1)


The Measure of a Centerfielder
        To further this point of view, an analysis of why this holds merit comes from examination against
the standard which all centerfielders in the post racial-integration era are measured: Willie Mays.

The fairness of this analysis comes from certain measurements:
1. Utilizing 1951-1957 Records. Both players were in the same home ballparks each season; were both
   at the prime or near prime of their defensive abilities; each had roughly the same players flanking them
   during the time.
2. Pitching Staffs were very close in ERA (3.71 NY to 3.74 Philly) and gave up close to the same
   amount of Home Runs (977 NY to 948 Philly.)
3. Adjustments were made for higher percentage of balls hit to outfield. The Phillies did use the fly
   ball out more than New York. New York though turned significantly more double plays from both the
   outfield and infield. Phillies had mediocre corner OF defense (Del Ennis, Johnny Wyrostek, Rip
   Repulski and Elmer Valo amongst the group) whereas, Monte Irvin, Don Mueller, and Bobby

14
   Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 22.
15
   Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 22.
16
   Kaplan Jim. The Fielders: The Game’ Greatest Gloves. Alexandria, Virginia: Redefinition Books; 1989. 22.
                                                     221

    Thomson patrolled around Willie Mays. This does help Richie’s totals, by corralling out of zone plays,
    but his high fielding % reflects he made catches consistently even under a likely lack of support from
    his corner comrads. Even as Mays was considered much more daring, he did not amass the same
    amount of catches from just poaching his counterparts’ chances.

Table 4.1.3. Outfield Statistics and Pitcher Strikeouts 1951-1957
Analysis of Outfields of Two Teams with Great CFers
         TC by OF             PO by OF              SO by Pitchers       % of PO (minus SO)
                                                                         by OF
Year     Phillies   Giants   Phillies   Giants     Phillies    Giants    Phillies Giants
1951     1265       1166     1188       1103       570         625       33.17%   30.55%
1952     1164       1066     1082       993        609         655       30.49%   28.72%
1953     1167       1087     1091       1012       637         647       31.44%   29.35%
1954     1212       1135     1135       1064       570         692       32.20%   30.59%
1955     1125       1079     1052       1006       657         721       30.84%   29.27%
1956     1141       1036     1080       960        750         765       31.94%   28.50%
1957     1229       1047     1151       986        858         701       34.41%   28.23%
Totals   8303       7616     7779       7124       4651        4806


        Philadelphia did have an imbalance of outfield putouts made during this span of time. The benefit
was most egregious in 1951 and 1957. However, the true measure of one players’ contribution to a team’s
defense comes from the percentage of outs he is responsible for. And adjustments can be made for
obtaining more opportunities than other outfields, or centerfielders.
        Willie Mays lost two prime seasons (1952 & 1953) to serving his country during the Korean
conflict. It is not hard to imagine what could have been the final totals of Mays if not for losing this time
(over 700 home runs for certain.) But the fairest defensive comparison of these men can be seen from
1954 to 1957 when both played over 150 games and compiled staggering numbers of chances and putouts.

Table 4.1.4. Total Chance Comparison Ashburn and Mays
Individual Comparison of the Ashburn and
Mays
       Total Chances % of OF TC              Adjusted TC/G               % of Team Outs
Year Ashburn Mays         Ashburn Mays       Ashburn Mays                Ashburn Mays
1951 566          376     44.74% 32.25% 3.53          3.24               15.02% 9.78%
1952 465          118     39.95% 11.07% 2.89          3.63               12.06% 3.15%
1953 523          0       44.82% 0.00%       3.24     0.00               14.29% 0.00%
1954 505          477     41.67% 42.03% 3.20          3.27               13.70% 12.88%
1955 407          446     36.18% 41.33% 2.85          3.00               11.35% 11.84%
1956 526          444     46.10% 42.86% 3.26          3.07               14.88% 12.32%
1957 534          450     43.45% 42.98% 3.17          3.26               15.01% 12.08%
Total 3526        2311


        To adjust for Ashburn’s fly ball pitching staff, the additional total chances were multiplied by his
percentage of total outfield chances, halved and then subtracted from his real total chances. And Mays
received the same benefit but those chances were added to his totals. This adjustment gives both men the
same number of potential opportunities in the outfield based on their teams’ ratio of outfield chances.
                                                     222

Table 4.1.5. Adjusted Total Chances
Ashburn’s Fly ball difference
Year      Tm       Extra flies Adj.     Games Adj.         Extra flies Adj.     Games Adj.
          Diff                 Ash            TC/G                     Mays          TC/G
1951      99       22.1        543.9    154   3.532        15.96       391.96   121  3.239
1952      98       19.6        445.4    154   2.892        5.42        123.42   34   3.630
1953      80       17.9        505.1    156   3.238
1954      77       16.0        489.0    153   3.196        16.18      493.18    151      3.266
1955      46       8.3         398.7    140   2.848        9.51       455.51    152      2.997
1956      105      24.2        501.8    154   3.258        22.50      466.50    152      3.069
1957      182      39.5        494.5    156   3.170        39.11      489.11    150      3.261
                   Overall     3378     1067 3.166                    2420      760      3.184
                   4 year      1884     603   3.124                   1904      605      3.148

         Willie Mays and Richie Ashburn differ by a mere twenty balls and (.024 ball/game average) over a
4-year span. Given the statistical closeness, both playing in spacious ballparks (Connie Mack Stadium was
in excess of 445 feet to center and had much greater foul line dimensions than the Polo Grounds) and
Richie’s mediocre cohorts (who even with his .985 Fielding % could muster only a .9784 % compared to
.9793 % for the Giants with Willie’s .9813% during this span), Ashburn was nearly identical to Mays in
terms of defensive talent and numbers, not offensive prowess. As Daryl Sconiers states in an Anaheim
Angels web blog, “Any centerfielder who posted 500+ TC, behind even the weakest pitching staffs and
teams, was a great defensive centerfielder, at least that season. And any player who posted 500 or more TC
[Total Chances] in a season behind a strong staff is likely one of the, if not the, best of all-time.” Ashburn
(5) five times in this time span achieved 500 total chances. Certainly, once he had to have a strong staff.

TABLE 4.1.6. OUTFIELDERS PO, ASSISTS, FA% AND TEAM
PITCHING STATS
Year          Phillies Giants Reds Pirates Cubs Dodgers Cards                    Braves
1951          1188     1103 1125   986     1070 1069    1063                     1057
1952          1082     993    1064 952     1101  976    943                      1026
1953          1091     1012 1125   1083    1062 979     966                      1036
1954          1135     1064 1077   1073    1035 1015    983                      992
1955          1052     1006 1036   1010    1031 944     1000                     1048
1956          1080     960    1002 1052    1116  901    950                      1055
1957          1151     986    1143 1120    1006 914     960                      1015
Total PO      7,779    7,124 7,572 7,276 7,421 6,798    6,865                    7,229
T. Assists    285      266    253  351     281   257    198                      254
T. Errors     178      156    148  191     167   126    148                      193
OF Fielding % 0.9784 0.9793 0.9814 0.9756 0.9788 0.9825 0.9795                   0.9749
Avg.          1,177    1,078 1,139 1,117   1,124 1,026  1,030                    1,097
TC/Season
TC Per Game 7.65       7.00   7.40 7.25    7.30  6.66   6.69                     7.12
% Over 7/G 9.2%        0.0% 5.7% 3.6% 4.3% -4.8%        -4.4%                    1.7%
Comp ERA 3.741         3.709 4.180 4.508 4.208 3.775    4.091                    3.493
HR allowed 948         977    1059 1078    966   1087   1027                     810
Strikeouts    4651     4806 4142   4223    4739 5481    4887                     4713
Total Wins 543         573    525  397     462   665    555                      593
                                                                 223

Statistics and Distortion
The table above reflects that the Phillies were not such an anemic pitching staff every year during this
span. The Cubs and Reds had staffs that also gave up fly balls. Only the Dodgers and Cardinals were
significantly more groundball (and strikeout) laden, but that might also be slightly attributed to outfielders’
range lacking on high pops that are shallow but caught by their range-plentiful infielders (Duke Snider:
“[Dodgers] had three shortstops.”) St. Louis garnered the least number of assists by a large margin –
reflecting either a great respect, or total inability to throw out runners – whereas, the Pirates were far and
away the leaders in that category. (Led by Bill Virdon, Roberto Clemente, Frank Thomas, Bobby Del
Greco, Gus Bell, Cal Abrams and Hal Rice, with Clemente well known for his arm.)
         In 1953, Gus Bell played centerfield for the Reds and had 474 Total Chances in 145 Center field
games (and 6 RF games.) Yet the Reds managed to win some games even with their high fly ball totals,
poor pitching, and high home run allowed totals. The Cubs and Pirates were truly atrocious due to
pitching, as their W-L records indicate. The Braves had Bill Bruton and Sam Jethroe making plenty of
errors (double digit totals for both, though Jethroe was experiencing eyesight problems by 195217 and
Bruton was young and aggressive) and getting plenty of chances (over 400 Total Chances four times) but
had great pitching from Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, and Bob Buhl to counteract this deficiency. This
while Ashburn had Del Ennis doing his part to make an abundance of errors until 1957 when Ennis took
his act to St. Louis. But this outfield defense of the National League is only part of the story.
         The Dodgers, Giants, and Braves had very good pitching staffs. The Braves led the NL in ERA by
a wide margin (nearly a quarter of a run) during this seven-year period. The Dodgers led in most strikeouts
garnered by their staff, but also gave up the most home runs. Philly was bunched in a group between the
Giants and Dodgers in ERA and gave up the least amount of home runs behind the Braves, but lost out
on further appearances in the World Series due to a below-average offense. But as it turns out, the teams
with the good pitching won the National League (Brooklyn (4), Giants (2) and Milwaukee (1)) and World
Series (each won once) during this time.
         Philly led the NL in ERA once in 1952 by a wide margin (3.07 to 3.53) but Ashburn ‘worst fielding
season’ still saw him led the league in putouts (428), assists (23) and double plays (5.) In 1953, Philly
ranked 2nd behind the Milwaukee Braves in ERA, and Ashburn again led in putouts (496) and assists (18).
The Phillies pitching staff continued to stay under a 4.00 ERA in 1954 and Ashburn had his normal
numbers (483 and 12). Even during his 1955 ‘injury’ season, his defense was still superb, but he also led
the National League in batting average over Willie Mays while walking 105 times.
          Lastly, in 1957, Ashburn led all outfielders in both Putouts (502) and Assists (18) on a staff that
was still very comparable to the league-leading ERA of the Brooklyn staff with the likes of Drysdale,
Newcombe, Podres, Maglie, and Roebuck leading the way. Team strikeouts (891 Brooklyn to 858 Philly),
walks (456 Brooklyn to 412 Philly) and complete Games (44 Brooklyn to 54 Philly) reflected a better
showing by Philly than is usually mentioned. Philadelphia continued to have an under 4.00 ERA (at 3.80)
even with Hall of Famer Robin Roberts losing 22 games at a 4.07 ERA clip.
         Any defensive centerfielder conversation without Ashburn included in it is ignoring all statistical
information and anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Maybe more importantly, the New York media’s
concentration on Mays, Mantle, Snider and even Joe DiMaggio, in his last few seasons (1948-1951), was
more the reason Ashburn’s skills were diminished in the eyes of baseball experts, then, and possibly, now.
         This player distortion idea is not new. As Daryl Sconiers suggests, “…the truth is that most
opinions about defensive center field are based largely on lore, anecdote and the regional or team biases of
those crafting the tales of talent. Too often, any list of great defensive centerfield includes a majority of


17
     Loverro T. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 154.
                                                               224

players whom the modern fan never saw play.”18 As this fan can attest to, I did not see Richie Ashburn or
Willie Mays play, other than highlight reels that played the over-the-shoulder signature grab Willie Mays
made of the Vic Wertz bomb in the 1954 World Series, a play that etched Willie Mays in the immortality of
baseball. In the crucial moment of the 1950 season, Ashburn made the perfect throw to stop a Dodger
from scoring the game winner at the end of the season, thus allowing George Sisler Jr. to hit the home run
that put the Phillies in the World Series. So each had their moments. May’s undoubtedly more spoken
about due to television and the marquee games that are the World Series.
         In Mind Game (2005), Ashburn’s 8-year stretch in center field (1951-58) is rated amongst the best
ever had by center fielders of any era using WARP 3 (Wins Above Replacement Player) factor. On the
list, Willie Mays (1958-1965: 97.2), Mickey Mantle (1954-1961: 94.1), Joe DiMaggio (1937-1947: 85.2),
Duke Snider (1949-1956: 74.0) and Ashburn (73.3) reflects the elite level at which these center fielders
were playing. Two others of note, Kirby Puckett (70.8) and Ken Griffey Jr. (81.9) are considered the
standards of excellence in the last twenty years.19 This WARP measurement also has CF Bernie Williams
(71.7) considered a top 15 MLB player (16.3) from 1995-2002. (See: Dynasties)

Diagram 4.1.1. Connie Mack Stadium as Listed in the Baseball Encyclopedia in 197020




Pitching & The Wiz Kids
Certainly, Richie’s pitching staff assisted by allowing more fly balls, but someone still has to run and catch
them. Sconiers concurs: “An outfielder creates his plays…this makes an outfielder, defensively, only as
good as the balls he can get to.”21 A Philly Staff (from 1948-1961) usually consisting of: Robin Roberts,

18
   Sconiers D. Defensive Centerfield. Unknown: http://www.haloblog.com/oct1504.html; 2004 October 15. 9. Last Accessed: August 2,
2006.
19
   Goldman Steve, editor. Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for
Winning. New York: Workman Publishing; 2005. 56.
20
   Treat S, Turkin H, Thompson SC. editors. The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball. 5th edition. South Brunswick and New York: A.S.
Barnes and Company; 1970. 62.
21
   Sconiers D. Defensive Centerfield. Unknown: http://www.haloblog.com/oct1504.html; 2004 October 15. 9. Last Accessed: August 2,
2006.
                                                              225

Ken Heintzelman (L), Curt Simmons (L), Morrie Martin (L), Karl Drews, Jack & Russ Meyer, Murry
Dickson, Harvey Haddix (L), Don Cardwell, Bubba Church, Harry Byrd, Carl Scheib, Bob Miller, Jim
Owens, Steve Ridzik, Turk Ferrell and Jim Konstanty.
         Only ‘Rapid’ Robin Roberts, a Hall of Famer, Simmons, Haddix, and Jim Konstanty (with his
special curve) were consistently decent pitchers in their careers. This also reflects that some talent did exist
– or was made existent – by Ashburn’s defensive ability in center.
         Lastly, as noted, the 1950 regular season, Roberts, Simmons, Russ Meyer, Miller, Church, and
Konstanty put together mound wizardry along with Richie Ashburn in center, Del Ennis in right, and
Andy Seminick at the plate only to fall in close games 4-0 to the New York Yankees in the World Series.
The scores of the series: 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and 5-2. This was the only World Series appearance the Philadelphia
Phillies would see until 1980, when they won it all. (And now 2008 and 2009.) Nevertheless, Richie
Ashburn’s efforts in Philly were never questioned, and he should be duly considered amongst the best in
centerfielders in the vastness that is baseball history.

                                                                       Strength in Numbers
                                                                       Daryl Sconiers on Vada Pinson, Curt Flood and
                                                                       Willie Davis: “The crop of centerfielders of the
                                                                       1960s, including Mays, Willie Davis, Paul Blair,
                                                                       Vada Pinson, and Curt Flood are some of the
                                                                       best of all-time in anyone’s eyes…In fact, 1959-
                                                                       1974 no centerfielder managed to post more
                                                                       than 439 TC in a single season, despite the
                                                                       notorious strength of the position in those
                                                                       years…”22

                                                                       More than chances, a bevy of men were
Willie Davis (1940 – 2010) crashing into the wall at his               respected for their defense in shrinking
new digs: Dodger Stadium. Davis would amass 2,561                      ballparks, but the added quirks of Astroturf and
hits, 182 home runs, 398 stolen bases and over 1,000                   the dome.
runs and runs batted in, mostly as a Dodger.
Considered at one time the fastest player in MLB.

         Vada Pinson (1938– 1995) amassed nearly 2,800 hits, 250 home runs, and 300 stolen bases in the
neutral-to-negative offensive era of the 1960s, yet is conspicuously absent from the Hall of Fame; Curt
Flood was not only a deciding force on the field, but later became a divisive and recognizable name off the
field in his Supreme Court case; Willie Davis offensively and defensively supported the Dodger pitching
domination seen in the 1960s by patrolling the then-much-larger Chavez Ravine outfield. These players
made centerfield a centerpiece of the Reds, Cardinals, and Dodgers organizations and furthered the
dominance of these teams in obtaining World Series championships immediately, or shortly thereafter in
the 1960s and 1970s.




22
   Sconiers Daryl. Defensive Centerfield. Unknown: http://www.haloblog.com/oct1504.html; 2004 October 15. 9. Last Accessed: August
2, 2006.
22
   Snyder Brad. A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports. New York: Penguin Group; 2006. 36.
                                                                 226

Pinson started out playing youth baseball in
Oakland for George Powles, an extremely
influential baseball man and father figure and is
responsible for the early development of top
stars such as Frank Robinson and Curt Flood.
But initially, Pinson was a trumpet player that-
just-happened to like baseball.
     In A Well-Paid Slave, Brad Snyder quotes
Powles giving Memphis-born Pinson a choice in
his teens between, “the trumpet or the bat.”23
After a brief call up in 1958, at age twenty,
Vinson from 1959 to 1967 would average nearly
680 plate appearances a season and rank
favorably with the greats of his day.




                                                                          Vada Pinson & Frank Robinson


Table 4.1.7. Comparison of Full-time Centerfielders for Eight Seasons
CF Stats (1959-
                    AB     BB      Hits    2B      3B      HR     Runs      BA       OBP        SLG      SB      CS
1967)
Davis (LA)         303     15.3    85.1    12.7    2.8     7.3    38.9     0.281     0.317     0.431      9.8    4.00
Flood (STL)        519     36.3   153.8    22.9    3.9     7.2    71.6     0.296     0.345     0.412      7.3    5.2
Mantle (NYY)       414      92    119.3    16.1    2.3    29.9    81.1     0.288     0.415     0.566      7.8    1.6
Mays (SFN)         570      70     173     29.4    5.6    38.7    114.1    0.303     0.379     0.597      15     4.2
Pinson (CIN)       638     40.7    191      34     10      20     99.8     0.300     0.343     0.510     22.4     8


Hall of Fame Absentia
         During this time frame, of players that average 100 at-bats (482), Vada Pinson ranks 22nd in all of
baseball in Slugging Average. (Table below.) On this list are several HOF omissions, Vada Pinson, Ron
Santo, Dick (Richie) Allen, all are accomplished on various merits. That Pinson amassed nearly 3,000 hits
and also 300 steals, and did it playing in centerfield the majority of his career, should merit more
consideration for the Hall of Fame. So talented was Pinson, he once clocked in at 3.3 seconds down the
first base line, reflecting his superior athleticism.24 (Mickey Mantle came in at 3.1.)
         (Side Note: Ron Santo obtained superior numbers for the entire decade and was considered in the
same conversation as Ken Boyer and Brooks Robinson on the defensive side, and better offensively.
         Dick Allen was versatile, if below average on defense – playing the corners, left field, and even a
handful of games in the middle infield. Allen made his real living terrorizing pitchers.
With a lifetime .534 SLG% and 1.05 Pt/AB Rating on the Fantasy scale (See Chapter 7 and Appendix)
Dick Allen’s career is comparable to Earl Averill (HOF 1975) who played in the offense-friendly 1930s
and HOF CF Larry Doby. These men certainly deserve entry into the Hall. But are forgotten; or derided.)


24
  Erardi John, Rhodes Greg. Cincinnati’s Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark. Cincinnati, Ohio: Road West
Publishing Company; 1995. 140.
                                                    227

Table. 4.1.8. Top 30 Players by Slugging Average between 1959 and 1967
        Name           AB       SLG       OBP        BA       R     SB           Hits
Allen, Dick            452     0.600      0.387     0.311    85     9.6          141
Mays, Willie           570     0.597      0.379     0.303    114 15.0            173
Aaron, Hank            599     0.594      0.379     0.316    114 19.4            189
Robinson, Frank        538     0.592      0.400     0.308    104 15.9            166
Mantle, Mickey         414     0.566      0.415     0.288    81     7.8          119
McCovey, Willie        382     0.555      0.369     0.276    64     1.7          105
Killebrew, Harmon 521          0.552      0.379     0.266    91     0.8          139
Williams, Ted          291     0.540      0.415     0.287    44     0.5           84
Cepeda, Orlando        459     0.538      0.361     0.309    72     9.7          142
Nieman, Bob            110     0.531      0.373     0.301    12     0.3           33
Rader, Doug            162     0.531      0.360     0.333    24     0.0           54
Conigliaro, Tony       458     0.531      0.339     0.276    72     2.5          126
Oliva, Tony            407     0.528      0.361     0.312    66     9.2          127
Stargell, Willie       373     0.525      0.339     0.278    49     0.8          104
Kaline, Al             495     0.522      0.387     0.302    86     8.4          150
Clemente, Roberto 572          0.521      0.369     0.327    91     6.3          187
Hart, Jim Ray          467     0.519      0.352     0.289    70     2.8          135
Williams, Billy        490     0.518      0.357     0.291    74     6.0          143
Post, Wally            179     0.517      0.329     0.266    26     0.1           48
Cash, Norm             448     0.515      0.386     0.275    74     4.1          123
Maris, Roger           428     0.514      0.356     0.265    73     1.0          114
Pinson, Vada           638     0.510      0.343     0.300    100 22.4            191
Santo, Ron             563     0.506      0.365     0.285    79     2.9          161
Banks, Ernie           558     0.504      0.326     0.271    73     1.7          151
Howard, Frank          401     0.503      0.336     0.271    52     0.4          109
Stuart, Dick           410     0.502      0.318     0.265    52     0.2          109
Mathews, Eddie         473     0.502      0.372     0.267    80     3.4          127
Allison, Bob           474     0.500      0.364     0.258    79     8.0          122
Adcock, Joe            388     0.498      0.342     0.272    45     1.4          106
Yastrzemski, Carl      576     0.498      0.380     0.298    87     7.4          172
Bold denotes HOF inductee

Pennant Race: The 1961 Reds
         In 1961, with Frank Robinson leading the way (.324-37-124), Pinson’s Reds were in the World
Series, and soon chronicled by relief pitcher-turned-writer Jim Brosnan in Pennant Race. In one passage,
Pinson proved to be pretty effective with the glove:

       “[Starting pitcher Joe] Jay was in trouble throughout the game; but he survived only because of
       three sensational plays in the outfield. The Phillies seemingly weren’t strong enough to hit the ball
       out of the park, and neither Robinson nor Pinson let anything fall safely. Pinson caught one fly ball
                                                               228

         just as it was dropping over the bleacher screen at the 390-foot mark. That ball did get out of the
         park but it was inside Vada’s glove which was on Pinson’s right hand.”25

         Vada Pinson would win his only gold glove in that pennant-winning season.

         Also playing part-time outfield for the Reds in 1961 was Gus Bell, who had been a consistent .290
hitter from 1953-59. Bell would pinch hit 3 times in his only World Series. Gus raised steady-hitting, sure-
fielding 3B Buddy Bell, who played over 2,000 games at the hot corner.
         On that team, early on, was a 22-year lefty, Claude Osteen, who was sent down on May 10th, to be
claimed by the woeful Washington Senators. Osteen would make his name as a solid, if unspectacular,
workhorse (8 times over 250 inning pitched, 2-time 20-game winner) for Alston’s Dodgers in the late
1960s.
         The 1961 Reds would succumb to the powerful Yankees 4-1 in the World Series. Pinson would
falter badly going 2 for 22 in the series.


Table 4.1.9. Vada Pinson’s Fielding statistics as a full-time Centerfielder
Year GCF PO A DP E FA%
1959 154 423 11 4 7 0.984
1960 154 401 11 1 8 0.981
1961 153 391 19 4 10 0.976
1962 152 344 13 1 4 0.989
1963 147 357 9 0 8 0.979
1964 156 299 14 1 9 0.972
1965 159 354 9 1 3 0.992
1966 139 344 9 1 13 0.964
1967 157 341 4 1 5 0.986
1968 120 258 7 0 6 0.978


The Real Pinson Shame
         Pinson’s career was marred by his attack of a sportswriter after a series of negative articles, and
therefore, Vada often was considered an immature hot head, and a malcontent. However, the greater
measure of Pinson is his minority support of Curt Flood’s lawsuit as author Brad Snyder reflects via a
quote made by Pinson on the fight: “Something had to be done and Curt is doing it…Curt’s doing it for
all of us. But it’s too bad all the players don’t dig what he’s doing…He’s convinced the reserve clause is a
bad one and he’ll fight it to the end, regardless of what happens to him. That’s just the way it is.”26
         Vada Pinson died of a stroke and was not found until three days later. He was inducted into the
Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.27 As stated, his career deserves a second look that should earn HOF
induction by the veteran’s committee.
         Pinson’s ‘bad act’ is none the worse in light of numerous revelations in more recent eras.




25
   Brosnan Jim. Pennant Race. New York: Harper & Brothers; 1962. 68.
26
   Snyder Brad. A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports. New York: Penguin Group; 2006. 121.
27
   Snyder Brad. A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports. New York: Penguin Group; 2006. 345.
                                                                 229

The most disregarded of the 50s centerfield
legends is Larry Doby (1923-2003), the first
African–American in the American League. He
began his MLB career on July 5, 1947, starting
off slowly in his first season as a 2nd baseman,
but owner Bill Veeck Jr. was undeterred, and
switched him to outfield. Larry Doby was a 2nd
baseman by trade in the Negro Leagues, but
received his formal outfield indoctrination from
Hall of Fame CF Tris Speaker making him over
into best overall centerfielder in the American
League. During the late 1940s and very early
1950s, Doby supplanted Joe DiMaggio as the
best (until ‘The Commerce Comet’) came to the
Big Apple. Doby was also the first black in the
American League to star in the annual mid-
summer classic in 1949. (Picture: Courtesy of
Negro League Museum)                                                  Larry Doby – 1st African American in the
                                                                        American League and 7-time All-star

          Playing in Cleveland though, Larry’s talents were largely ignored by the baseball establishment. Yet
in looking at his lifetime statistics, he measures up very well to his contemporaries. (5th in Slugging behind
Mantle, Mays, DiMaggio & Snider.) But initially, The Sporting News and some white ballplayers reflected a
typical prejudice about Doby’s preparedness for the big leagues, citing that he should go through the
minors like white players and that the ‘race issue’ was no longer a dilemma.28
           “…To show how smart I am, the shortstop was Monte Irvin,”29 Bill Veeck’s remembrance of the
signing away Larry Doby for $15,00030 from Effa Manley, but not signing the Newark Eagles shortstop at
that very same time for $1,000 because of Monte Irvin’s age, who went on to play (and star) for the Giants
and Cubs in the 1950s. (An unspoken ‘quota’ for blacks was in play from various accounts.)
          Doby became an outstandingly feared hitter that received more (or slightly less, depending on the
source cited) of the same insults, racial bigotry, intimidation tactics, and backhanded compliments that
Jackie Robinson often garnered as the first Negro ballplayer. His heroics nearly equaled Jackie’s according
to Veeck: “And when Doby hit a tremendous home run to put us ahead in the fourth game of the World
Series [off Johnny Sain], it could be observed that none of the 81,000 people…seemed at all concerned
about – or even conscious of – his color.” 31 During that same ‘48 World Series, the legendary Satchel
Paige appeared for one inning, after compiling a 6-1 regular season record for the Indians in beating out
Boston in a one-game playoff. With Larry Doby’s bat and Satchel Paige’s arm, the Indians drew massive
crowds, as author Neil Lanctot noted in his recent work, Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black
Institution, one August 13th night game at Comiskey Park drew 51,013 fans.32


28
   Lanctot Neil. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
314.
29
   Veeck Bill, Linn Ed. Veeck as in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck, with Ed Linn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press;
1962. 176.
30
   Lanctot Neil. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
314.
31
   Veeck Bill, Linn Ed. Veeck as in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck, with Ed Linn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press;
1962. 176.
32
   Lanctot Neil. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
336.
                                                                 230

          During Doby’s seasons with Cleveland, Bill Veeck Jr. moved spring training from Ocala, Florida to
Tucson, Arizona in light of the prevalent Jim Crow laws and bigoted feelings. Veeck learned first hand
from the locals (in both places). In 1957, Larry punched Art Ditmar of the Yankees, after being thrown at
and hit – something that had been a consistent theme of intimidation throughout his career, and one that
he responded virulently against.33 Doby even surmised that black players had to be “twice as good” to earn
playing time in The Show away from white players.34 Unlike Jackie Robinson’s quiet strength outside of
baseball, but fierce demeanor on the field, Larry Doby did not take slights as easily and was considered
very sensitive to the unfortunate racism still openly existing in the late 1940s and early 1950s which Bill
Veeck considered a detriment to Larry’s overall talent. Bill Veeck’s final perspective on Larry Doby: “ If
Larry had come up a little later…he might very well have become one of the greatest of all time.”35
          Larry Doby served in World War II in the U.S. Navy stationed in the Pacific in a segregated unit –
in much the same vein Jackie Robinson did in service to the U.S. Army as a 2nd lieutenant – and also
starred in the Negro Leagues for the Newark Eagles, winning World Series titles in both leagues (appearing
in championship series in 1946(N), 1948, 1954.) He joins the exclusive company of Mays, Monte Irvin,
and Satchel Paige as participators in both leagues pinnacle event.36 In an odd symmetry, Larry Doby
became the 2nd black MLB field manager for the White Sox in 1978, following Frank Robinson’s hiring.
Once again, owner Bill Veeck made that a reality.
          In Art Rust, Jr.’s work about the Negro Leagues, Larry Doby reflected on Bill Veeck’s importance
in his life: “You know, Bill Veeck was just as important to me as Branch Rickey was to Jackie Robinson.
Veeck told me to curb my temper and to turn the other cheek. The guy really motivated me. There were
places my wife, my daughter, and I couldn’t go into. Veeck would say, ‘If they can’t go in, I won’t go in.’
Veeck was quite a man, a great man. I think of Bill Veeck as my second father.”37
          Doby was inducted into Cooperstown in 1998, once again years after he should have been properly
honored.
                                   A short story in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four about Jimmy Piersall
                                   (1929- ):“Piersall used to get mad as hell and call [Jim] Coates a lot of
                                   names, the most gentle of which was thermometer, but it didn’t seem to
                                   hurt the way he played. I remember a game in Washington. Piersall was
                                   playing center field and Coates was giving him hell from the Yankees
                                   bullpen. Piersall was turning away from the game to give it back when
                                   somebody hit a long fly ball to left-center and Piersall had to tear after it.
                                   All the time he was running he was screaming at Coates, and when he
                                   got up to the fence he climbed halfway up it, caught the ball, robbing
                                   somebody of a home run, and threw it in. But not for a second did he
                                   stop yelling at Coates.”38



        Jimmy Piersall



33
   Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 80.
34
   Lanctot Neil. Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2004.
380.
35
   Veeck Bill, Linn Ed. Veeck as in Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck, with Ed Linn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press;
1962. 180.
36
   Loverro Thom. The Encyclopedia of Negro League Baseball. New York: Checkmark Books (Facts on File, Inc.); 2003. 80.
37
   Rust, Jr. Art. Get That Nigger Off the Field!: A Sparkling, Informal History of the Black Man in Baseball. New York: Delacorte Press;
1976. 86.
38
   Bouton J. Ball Four: Twentieth Anniversary Edition. New York: Wiley Publishing, Inc; 1990. 129.
                                                                 231

         Piersall was as gifted on defense as he was with a not-so-gentle barb. He grew up in Waterbury,
Connecticut, born in 1929, within scouting range of the turfs of Boston and New York. As a multi-sport
athlete, like many others in baseball, he had numerous opportunities floated to him but eventually signed
with the Red Sox, after scout Neil Mahoney told him Boston had one of the best farm systems in
baseball.39
         From the moment Piersall signed, he was on the move. Energetic and overly determined to
support his family, Piersall made it to the majors at 20 years old in 1950, shortly after marrying Mary
Teevan, a nurse, in October 1949. His father had had a heart attack just recently and his mother had been
in and out of Norwich State Hospital, a mental health facility, several times.40 His now wife, had a
miscarriage late that year. As pressures mounted, to play baseball and work off-season for a living, Jimmy
Piersall was to succumb to exhaustion mentally and physically, only to rebound into one of the best
defensive centerfielders in baseball history.
         Piersall’s first at bat came late in the 1950 season against knuckle ball heaver Gene Bearden, an
unsung hero of the 1948 World Series. In nervousness, he lost his grip and threw the bat over the dugout
in his first major league swing. He would later get a single.
         After that cup of coffee in 1950, Piersall bought a house in Waterbury only to worry more and
more. After three days in a new house, he forced his new bride, his baby and his own family out of the
home, and moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania with Mary. There he settled down, for a time.
         Piersall was very comfortable on the field, as Dominic DiMaggio commented in 1951 spring
training, “Kid, from what I saw of you in Boston last year and here this spring, you’re the best center
fielder in the American League right now.”41 Piersall though was not a great pull hitter; and as noted
before, the Red Sox thrived on right hand hitters that could pepper ‘The Monster.’ As a result, he would
make the big club, but see so little action that he demanded to go back to the minors. He was racing from
one problem to the next, only to find the problem was within himself.
         As he tore up the minors, once he got settled, he looked forward to starting for the big club in
1952. Only problem was he was expected to convert over to shortstop via HOF SS Lou Boudreau
insistence. As a result, Jim Piersall likely reached his ultimate breaking point and his wife stood by him
steadfast as he was soon to be admitted to Westborough State Hospital where he was administered
electroshock treatments.
         He literally forgot the beginning of the season, where he did, in fact, play shortstop:

Year G POS PO A E TC/G F%
1952 30 SS 41 75 9 4.17 0.928

         Boudreau benched him, then he went to the outfield, then to Birmingham, where Jimmy left twice
to go back to Boston. By then, the confusion and violent episodes were too much. As one sportswriter
surmised: “Jimmy Piersall, former Barons outfielder, who practically tore the ball park apart with his mad
antics the last time he was here, will never play baseball again. Now a hopeless mental case, he will spend
the rest of his life in a institution…”42
         But that was not the end. Piersall came back to the game and renewed his fearless pursuit of
baseball. He was always “mixing it up” with umpires, that led to some ejections and garbage being thrown
on the field by unruly fans. He did calisthenics in center field during the game. Ran his 100th home run
around the bases backwards. (Thus causing a revised rule of “touching the bases in order” to be added to


39
   Piersall Jim, Hirshberg Al. Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 1955. 50.
40
   Piersall Jim, Hirshberg Al. Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 1955. 73.
41
   Piersall Jim, Hirshberg Al. Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 1955. 82.
42
   Piersall Jim, Hirshberg Al. Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; 1955. 132.
                                                        232

Major League baseball.) The likely bi-polar Jimmy Piersall was gifted with a fearless attitude in catching
deep drives destined for the fences.
        Jimmy Piersall went on to 17-year baseball career, winning 2 gold gloves in 1958 and 1961 and
batting .322 in his 1961 season in Cleveland.
        And fear did strike out with him.


      Dom DiMaggio (1917-) was often dismissed
      playing in the Hall of Fame shadow of his big
      brother Joe DiMaggio and teammate Ted
      Williams, but consistent numbers, defensive
      prowess, and the moniker as the “Little
      Professor” speaks volumes of his ability and
      unusual demeanor. A .298 hitter (.380 OBP),
      with 10 years of leading off the Red Sox lineup
      everyday, his place in the annals of baseball
      history is firmly secured.




                                                         Dom DiMaggio – underrated, but appreciated

         Dom was born in San Francisco in 1917, the youngest and smallest of the DiMaggio clan. After
spending much of his childhood in the shadow of his older brothers, and likened more as a possible lawyer
than a ballplayer, Dom joined the San Francisco Seals in 1937. After hitting above .300 in 1937 and 1939,
he was signed by the Boston Red Sox for $75,000 – substantially more than the Yankees were reported to
have signed his brother Joe for.
         Dom twice had hitting streaks in excess of 26 games, was seven times an AL All-Star and seven
times racked up 100 runs scored (thanks to Teddy Ballgame). He was noted for his unusual fielding stance
in the outfield43, facing the left field line with his shoulders with the rabid Boston faithful yelling out that
Dom played both centerfield and left field (Ted Williams’ position). Aside from the stats, he served
faithfully in WWII (losing time as so many others did) and was respected throughout the game as a player
and a man, eventually going in the plastics business. Much like his brothers, his career was mainly in the
FDR era, however, Boston took three years to replace Dom – with personality plus Jimmy Piersall in 1955.
          Dominic DiMaggio was inducted into the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 and
should be considered for immortality at Cooperstown.

Duke Snider (1926 – ) for 16 seasons (18 total) played for one of the most storied franchises in all of
baseball in the Dodgers. His 11 home runs in World Series play rank 4th amongst the elite, behind Mantle,
Ruth, and Yogi Berra and his World Series RBI totals rank 7th All-time. Just those numbers alone reflect




43
     [Message Board] Dom DiMaggio. July 12, 2006.
                                                                233

the sheer greatness of the ‘Sliver Fox’44, but as fate would have it, he played in the most competitive town
against (and opposite) two of the greatest center fielders and overall ballplayers in Mantle and Mays.
         In discussing his teams, Snider noted the talent on his 1952 team was even better than the 1955
Brooklyn World Championship team, the only one in Brooklyn’s history. “We had three centerfielders
playing outfield, and we had three shortstops playing third base, shortstop and second base.”45 Those
teammates: Andy Pafko, Carl Furillo, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and Billy Cox. Along side those
greats stood legends at first baseman in Gil Hodges and catcher Roy Campanella. Over those next five
seasons (1952-1956) the Dodgers won nearly 97 games on average and 62.7% of all regular season games,
second only to the Yankees (at 490).
         Among the myriad of players with side gigs during this time, Duke Snider ‘delivered the mail’46 and
eventually went into avocado grove ownership.47 Mickey Mantle made similar off the field deals to
supplement his baseball income in hotel ownership and bad commercials.48 These were definitely not the
times of money ruling the game, from the players’ standpoint. “The dollar signs rule the game of baseball,”
[Duke Snider] said,49 speaking about present day affairs.
         In one story, Duke relates how a bet initially cost him $200 in fines which he eventually turned into
$400, a large sum in those days. The bet involved throwing a baseball out of the LA Coliseum, the one
better known for the 1984 Olympics and numerous USC running backs juking hapless defenders on their
path to the Heisman trophies. 3B Don Zimmer initiated the bet, with Duke accepting it and failing by just
inches to throw it over 87 rows of seats and the four-foot retaining wall, and in the process, hurting his
arm.50 After getting fined $200 by Buzzie Bavasi, then GM of the Dodgers, he went on to play the rest of
the season, waiting for another chance. After the final game, he attempted the task again, succeeding on
the first try and receiving the money from the initial bet. Then Bavasi returned the $200 fine to him –
making him $400 to the good, as Duke states: “I made $400 on the deal.”51 What a way to make a buck.


Andy Pafko (1921– ) grew up in Boyceville, Wisconsin and would play on four historic teams in the
annals of professional baseball history. His first taste of a real dynasty was in the minor leagues playing for
the perennially powerful Los Angeles Angels in 1943. The Angels, owned by the Wrigley family with the
first ‘Wrigley Field’ built in LA, not Chicago, are considered several times amongst the greatest minor
league teams of all-time52 according to historians Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright.
        In that 1943 season, Pafko led the Angels and the Pacific Coast League in hitting (.356), run
batting in (118) and total bases (326). In producing the likes of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, the
Pacific Coast League had always been a stepping-stone to the majors and great numbers even during
wartime still meant a quick promotion to the majors. Pafko was no different. He came up late 1943 after
the 110-45 Angels had lost four straight in the Governor’s Cup series. From the first day, Pafko impressed

44
   Baseball Statistics [1871-2005]. Lahman S, Editor. Access Database, Edition 5.3. Rochester, NY: Baseball Archive Website; 2005. 25
MB. http://www.baseball1.com, Website; 5/01/2006.
45
   Naiman J. Snider among Legends of Baseball at Hall of Champions. Fallbrook, CA: The Village News Inc.; 2005 May 27.
http://www.thevillagenews.com. Last Accessed: September 14, 2006.
46
   Leavy J. Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc; 2002. 288.
47
   Naiman J. Snider among Legends of Baseball at Hall of Champions. Fallbrook, CA: The Village News Inc.; 2005 May 27.
http://www.thevillagenews.com. Last Accessed: September 14, 2006.
48
   Mantle M, Gluck H. The Mick, an American Hero: The Legend and the Glory. New York: Doubleday; 1985. (pages??)
49
   Naiman J. Snider among Legends of Baseball at Hall of Champions. Fallbrook, CA: The Village News Inc.; 2005 May 27.
http://www.thevillagenews.com. Last Accessed: September 14, 2006.
50
   Naiman J. Snider among Legends of Baseball at Hall of Champions. Fallbrook, CA: The Village News Inc.; 2005 May 27.
http://www.thevillagenews.com. Last Accessed: September 14, 2006.
51
   Naiman J. Snider among Legends of Baseball at Hall of Champions. Fallbrook, CA: The Village News Inc.; 2005 May 27.
http://www.thevillagenews.com. Last Accessed: September 14, 2006.
52
   Weiss Bill, Wright Marshall. Team #13:1943 Los Angeles Angels. Unknown: http://www.milb.com/history/top100.jsp ; 2006. Last
Accessed: December 28, 2006.
                                                             234

the Cubs with his bat and glove. Luckily for the struggling Cubs, Pafko had been rejected for military
service due to high blood pressure.53
        By 1945, Pafko was the premier centerfielder in the National League leading all centerfielders in
baseball with 110 RBIs, a solid .298 BA in 140 games. His play and a veteran pitching staff led the Cubs to
a wartime pennant and 7-game World Series loss to the Detroit Tigers.
        Pafko suffered some setbacks in the late 1940s in playing only half of 1946 and not at all in 1948.
In 1950, he returned to form with a career season - hitting 36 home runs to finish 2nd in National League
and in the top 10 for batting average for those with over 400 at-bats.
        For his career year, Pafko earned a trade to first division Brooklyn Dodgers in June 1951. Pafko
would hit 18 home runs for the Dodgers and watch the ‘Shot Heard Round The World’ sail over his head
as former centerfield cohort Bobby Thomson ruined the Dodgers season in a three-game playoff.
Thomson, Pafko, Snider and Mays, centerfielders all, were on the field during that play. (Mays was on
deck.)
        Pafko would stay in Brooklyn to see the Dodgers make in the World Series in 1952 only to pack
his bags and head to Milwaukee and his home state. There, he would see the magic of Warren Spahn as
the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series in 1957.

        Jim Landis (1934– ) would fuel the go-go Sox of 1959 to their only World Series appearance
against the newly-minted Los Angeles Dodgers, scoring a series high six runs on seven singles. His batting
though was mediocre (.247) lifetime, but his glove skills earned him 5 gold gloves between 1960-1964.
Year G POS PO A E TC/G F%                        Award
 1960 147 OF 372 13 6 2.66 0.985 Gold Glove
  1961 139 OF 389 9 5 2.90 0.988 Gold Glove
 1962 144 OF 360 2 2 2.52 0.995 Gold Glove
 1963 124 OF 264 6 2 2.19 0.993 Gold Glove
 1964 101 OF 183 7 1 1.89 0.995 Gold Glove

        In December 1965, Landis would be traded to Cleveland for a young Joe Rudi, whose 1972 World
Series catch against the left-field wall is among the greatest photographs in baseball history.




53
 Weiss Bill, Wright Marshall. Team #13:1943 Los Angeles Angels. Unknown: http://www.milb.com/history/top100.jsp ; 2006. Last
Accessed: December 28, 2006.
                                                    235

“The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the
Pennant!”

Bobby Thomson (1923-) is the most famous 20th century Scottish-born ballplayer, who happened to play
in the era of great outfielders. (Pitcher Jim McCormick of the 1880s was also born in Glasgow, Scotland
and won 264 decisions.) Thomson’s home run hit off Ralph Branca propelled the 1951 Giants into World
Series.




              Bobby Thomson & Manager Leo Durocher shortly after The Shot


         In essentially his career season, (.293, 32, 101) as 3rd baseman/CF, Thomson came up big while
Willie Mays stood on deck, Duke Snider played CF for the Dodgers and LF Pafko watched helplessly the
ball clear the fence by a matter of a few feet. On the field that day were the following: Pee Wee Reese,
Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Willie Mays, Monte Irvin, and Leo Durocher, all in the
Hall of Fame.
         In Heartbreakers: Baseball’s Most Agonizing Defeats by John Kuenster of Baseball Digest acclaim, a
synopsis of the 3-game playoff the Giants and Dodgers had in 1951 shows the importance of Bobby
Thomson (and other greats) in 1951.

Game 1: Bobby Thomson and Monte Irvin smacked home runs, to help Jim Hearn, who pitched a 5-
hitter, only giving up a home run to Andy Pafko. (3-1 Giants)
                                                                236


Game 2: Clem Labine pitched a 6-hitter to shutout the Giants. According to Kuenster, “Dressen could be
a punitive character, and he had a grudge against the brash Labine who had lost a critical game to the
Phillies on September 21.”54

Game 3: Don Newcombe vs. Sal Maglie. Dodgers led 4-1 into the ninth, but Newcombe faltered against
Alvin Dark and Don Mueller for singles. Then retired Irvin on a pop, only to surrender a double to Whitey
Lockman. With a 4-2 lead, runners on second and third, the pitching change came down to Ralph Branca
or Carl Erskine. Erskine had bounced a curve ball in his warm ups, so pitching coach Clyde Sukeforth
choose Branca due to his fastball looking solid in warm ups. Branca had pitched two days earlier giving up
a homer to Thomson then.
        3B Bobby Thomson awaited Branca. He was the best hitter in the second half for the Giants
according to Alvin Dark. (And recent games, since Thomson hit a homer against the Braves in the last
game of the season. And hit a homer off Branca in game one. Soon to make it three homers in four
games). In an announcement that portended impeding doom, “Attention, press. World Series credentials
for Ebbets Field can be picked up at six o'clock at the Biltmore Hotel.”55 The words similar to a basketball
announcer's jinx of a free throw shooter in saying, “he hasn't miss one in …”
        Thomson was having a good day all ready, going 2 for 3 with a double off a considerably better
pitcher in Don Newcombe. His only out was a RBI fly out to center. As Branca pitched ahead 0-1,
Thomson drove Branca’s pitch into immortality in the lower deck of the left field stands some five or six
rows deep according to left fielder Andy Pafko.56


Table 4.1.10. Bobby Thomson’s career hitting stats
Team Year HR RBI AB H BA
NYG 1946 2          9 54 17 0.315
NYG 1947 29 85 545 154 0.283
NYG 1948 16 63 471 117 0.258
NYG 1949 27 109 641 198 0.309
NYG 1950 25 85 563 142 0.252
NYG 1951 32 101 518 152 0.293
NYG 1952 24 108 608 164 0.270
NYG 1953 26 106 608 175 0.288
MIL 1954 2 15 99 23 0.232
MIL 1955 12 56 343 88 0.257
MIL 1956 20 74 451 106 0.235
MIL 1957 4 23 148 35 0.246
NYG 1957 8 38 215 52 0.242
CHN 1958 21 82 547 155 0.283
CHN 1959 11 52 374 97 0.259
BOS 1960 5 20 114 30 0.263



54
   Kuenster John. Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2001. 14.
55
   Kuenster John. Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2001. 15.
56
   Kuenster John. Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2001. 17.
                                                                237

         Thomson was a humble guy; as Pafko recounted that he asked about ‘The Shot’ of Thomson, and
Thomson responded, “Andy, that's history.”57
         Branca, only 25, responded so despondently to the homer, he was never the same pitcher again.
His career would end by 1956, with only 12 more victories for three teams. Before that, he had won a very
respectable 76 games for Brooklyn. But before a new season had started, Branca had injured his pelvis in a
freak accident in 1952 and his trainer provided ill support, given little regard to his injury. As another fact
about Ralph Branca, he mentions baseball history: “At the time, only six pitchers had won 21 games at age
21: Lefty Gomez, Bob Feller, Wes Ferrell, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and me.”58
         Branca's backstop, ex-Cub Rube Walker, was substituting for HOF Roy Campanella due to pulled
leg muscle in Game 1 of the playoff. Willie Mays was on-deck, a rookie hitting against a veteran in a high
drama situation. Who knows what may have happen? Would Willie Mays have shrunk in that situation?
Would Branca have become a hero?
         Evidently, even HOF Catcher Yogi Berra, a paying spectator, thought this game was over when he
left to beat traffic before the ninth inning.59

        After losing the 1951 World Series to Berra’s Yankees 4-2, in which a young Alfredo Manuel
Pesano (a.k.a. Billy Martin) would score once, but would soon enough don the shoes as the next
generation Durocher, Thomson would split time in center field while Willie Mays, ‘The Say Hey Kid’, went
off to military.
        Thomson though was inconsistent, or vacillated, with his batting average throughout his career,
thus was never able to achieve more than he did on that early October day. As a result, he would bounce
around after 1953, when Willie Mays firmly entrenched himself in center and Hank Thompson would take
over 3rd base, making Thomson expendable. Thomson’s trade on February 1, 1954 (along with Sammy
Calderone) to Milwaukee for P Johnny Antonelli, P Don Liddle, Ebba St. Claire, SS/3B Billy Klaus and
$50,000 made the Giants that season.
        Antonelli won 21, lost 7 with 6 shutouts, in leading the NL in ERA at 2.30. And would win 20
again in 1956. Don Liddle would provide 9 wins with a respectable 3.06 ERA as a swingman, pitching out
of the bullpen. Liddle would win the final game of the ’54 Series (and Antonelli got the save) as the Giants
jumped out to a 7-0 lead through 5 innings. The 1954 Indians, with likely the best pitching in the majors
(and some would argue historically), would lose 4 straight.
        As cruel fate would have it, Thomson missed out on the 1954 championship of Giants and would
also be sans the championship in 1957, when he was traded back to the Giants mid-season from
Milwaukee, who won that year. So after leaving his mark on the Giants, he never tasted the ultimate
reward: as a member of World Series Champion.




57
   Kuenster John. Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2001. 22.
58
   Kuenster John. Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2001. 24.
59
   Kuenster John. Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee; 2001. 28.
                                                    238

Bill Virdon (1931– ), AL Manager of
the Year in 1974, was the manager last
hired and fired by George
Steinbrenner before Alfredo Manuel
Pesano took over ‘The Bronx Zoo.’
Before that tumultuous time, a young
Virdon had signed as a Yankee by top
scout Tom Greenwade, only to be
traded to the Cardinals for Enos
Slaughter. As the 1955 Rookie of the
Year, he hit .281 with 17 home runs,
only to see that as the power peak of
his career.




                                             Bill Virdon – signed, then traded by the Yankees.
                                             Managed them before The Bronx Zoo took shape.

         From 1957-59, he would amass over 400 Putouts flanked by a young Roberto Clemente in right
field. In 1959, Virdon led the National League with 5 double plays and 3.0 Chances per game.
         In the 1960 World Series, it was his bad hop grounder that would undo SS Tony Kubek, and the
Yankees, leading to the miracle home run by glove man extraordinaire, Bill Mazeroski. Showing karmic
fate sometimes rears its ugly head even against the Yankees.

                                                              Discovered by his future father-in-law,
                                                     Negro League legend, crack scout, and HOFer
                                                     William ‘Judy’ Johnson, Bill Bruton (1925-
                                                     1995) brought speed to every part of his game.
                                                     In his first 3 seasons, Bruton led the National
                                                     League in stolen bases (26, 34, 25) while
                                                     playing an aggressive center field. He racked
                                                     up double-digit assists (15, 14, 17) and errors
                                                     (9, 7, 14), but played behind the best pitching
                                                     staff in the National League, Warren Spahn,
                                                     Lew Burdette, Bob Buhl, Bob Rush, and Carl
                                                     Willey, and next to home run legend Hank
                                                     Aaron.
                                                              In 1957 and 1958, Bruton suffered
                                                     through an injury, allowing Felix Mantilla,
                                                     Bobby Thomson and Andy Pafko to fill during
                                                     both years. Upon his return in 1958, Bruton
 Bill Bruton – a natural centerfielder with speed    picked up where he left off, hitting .280.
                                                     During the 1958 World Series, he hit .412 (7
                                                     for 17) with 1 home run. The Braves lost 4-3
                                                     after just beating the Yankees 4-3 in the 1957
                                                     World Series.
                                                              Bill Bruton would finish out his career
                                                     with 4 seasons in Detroit, flanked in 1961 by
                                                 239

                                                   with 4 seasons in Detroit, flanked in 1961 by
                                                   HOF RF Al Kaline and LF Rocky Colavito,
                                                   during the latter’s career year (.290 BA, 45 HR,
                                                   140 RBI.) Detroit had likely the best outfield
                                                   (offense and defense put together in all three
                                                   positions) in baseball that season. Detroit’s fate
                                                   was to win 101 games, only to come up 8
                                                   games short of the Yankees. (Maris, Mantle,
                                                   Howard, Skowron, Berra, Boyer, Kubek, Ford
                                                   and Stafford had something to do with this.
                                                   Though the 1961 Yankees were not the best
                                                   team ever; not even the best Yankee team
  3B Eddie Mathews – famous teammate of            despite the 240 home runs. See: Dynasties).
  Bill Bruton, Hank Aaron, and Warren Spahn




 Joe DiMaggio in the midst before the 1937 All-Star Game (Library of Congress, Bain Collection)
Left to right: (Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, Hank
                                              Greenburg)
                                                              240

        Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999): Appeared in 10 World Series for the Bronx Bombers, starting in all
ten as the center fielder, but was known more for his hitting streaks (61 games in the minors and 56 in the
majors), his marriages (actresses Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Arnold) and his ultra-quiet, graceful, yet
oddly tense demeanor on the field, and off. As a lifetime .325 hitter, .579 slugger with only 8 more
strikeouts (369) than home runs (361), Joe DiMaggio was as close to center field perfection as seen in the
late 1930s through to the beginning of the Korean War.
        Richard Ben Cramer in Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life reflects on the near perfect realm of center
field:
        “Why wouldn’t he see life from his own point of view, the position in which he spent his most
        alive moments, that perch with the whole world that mattered before him – that was center field. It
        was a special place – not just that vastness in the Bronx, but every center field: the largest
        suzerainty in the game’s realm, it had to be patrolled by a prince. He was a man on the field most
        unconstrained by others; he had the greatest distances to roam, and the farthest from home.
        Perhaps that’s why Joe so often was the first to burst from the dugout, running, head down, on a
        beeline, with other men spraying out behind, as if they’d been pulled, uncorked by the Dago’s
        force. In center field, he had every twitch of every play in front of him: the bent back of the
        pitcher, the batter’s swing and the ball-jump, and the crack of the bat…[with him able to make any
        catch he could rightly obtain with his grace of foot receiving the ball with two hands easily]…so he
        could trot in, ball in his glove, deadpan, confident, controlling, gather teammates ahead of him
        homeward, a strong shepherd, to the dugout again.”60

         Joe DiMaggio evoked plenty of imagery because so little could be written about the actual man –
and his thoughts clearly made. He was not just sometimes quiet; but nearly always reticent, often allowing
of others to do all the conjecturing and surmising whether it be about baseball, or his personal life, both
endless topics of perusal by New York sportswriters Jimmy Cannon, Red Smith, and Walter Winchell.
“Cannon…he idolized DiMaggio, a natural hero of innate grace, raised up (as was Cannon) from poor city
streets. This was a patented Cannon story…the poor kid who became a king, the unlettered man who
knew more than professors, the eloquence of the city’s silent souls.”61
         Born in Martinez, California in 1914, growing up in San Francisco, son to a Sicilian fisherman
along with nine brothers and sisters (with younger Dom and older Vince joining him as center fielders),
Joseph Paul was not an ordinary ball-crazed young kid. In fact, he was indifferent to baseball, more
interested in tennis as a 14-to-16 year old.62 A quote from The Hero’s Life: “…Joe had walked away from
baseball. If he played anything he played tennis…His attitude on baseball wasn’t too far from his dad’s:
there was no money in it – so what was it good for?”63 His father Giuseppe had an intense work ethic –
and designed for all his boys to fish – and baseball did not reflect Giuseppe’s stance on getting ahead,
which was about having a roof overhead and food on the table.
         It was not until his older brother Vince (and various friends from the neighborhood) encouraged
him (via money) to come back to play on local semi-pro teams that Joe’s baseball career came clearly into
being. Joe’s schooling had all ready ended and handing out of newspapers was not a real living, even in
those Great Depression times.
          By 1932, Joe became a sought after commodity – for his bat, because his glove was weak as a
shortstop, but he had a cannon of an arm.64 His bat got him paid, and noticed: enough that his father



60
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 126.
61
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 194.
62
   Johnson Dick, Stout Glenn. DiMaggio: An Illustrated Life. New York: Walker and Company; 1995. 8.
63
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 29.
64
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 32.
                                                              241

would lessen pressure on him, in part, because Vince was now a San Francisco Seal and brought home
$1,500 and the scouts were watching the “DeMaggio”65 name.
         Joe DiMaggio made his professional debut on October 1, 1932 as a San Francisco Seal of the
highly regarded Pacific Coast League, playing shortstop.66 He would play those last 3 games unpaid, but
four years later, he would be playing on 1936 Yankee squad, batting where Babe Ruth did, and having a
rookie year of Hall of Fame proportions – .323BA, 29HR, 125 RBI with a league-leading 22 outfield
assists. But to assist in the legend of DiMaggio as Cramer puts it: “The poor Italian boy, who learned to hit
with a broken oar for a bat…His papa wanted him to fish, but DeMaggio only loved baseball…His
brother got him a job – his own…In other words, they would give him a story…American melting pot
stuff…”67 Joe DiMaggio lack of words, his business-like approach, uncanny natural skills, effortless
learning and improvement was not enough of story, so the legend had to be juiced up by the media of the
day. A media Joe would come to realize how integral they can be in making a player great, a mystery, and
often, an object of obsession and defilement, all in the same poetic paragraph.
         DiMaggio met his first mentor in 1935 as Francis Joseph “Lefty” O’Doul was made the manager
of the San Francisco Seals. O’Doul’s career began first as a Seal, then as a 22-year old Yankee pitcher in
1919, but after five unsuccessful years of pitching, he switched permanently to outfield play – and would
be thoroughly reconstituted five seasons later, in 1928 – as a powerful .350 hitter that William Wrigley,
owner of the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs, drooled for. O’Doul led the 1929 National League in
total hits (254) and is tied for 3rd highest total in MLB history behind Ichiro Suzuki and George Sisler.
O’Doul is among a very select group of players that have had over 200 hits and batting above .380 more
than one season in the majors. (See: Table 4.1.11.)
         O’Doul was in another select group: he got DiMaggio talking. As one Cramer quote reflects: “Joe
talked more to Lefty in a week than he’d talked in the prior two years with the Seals. Lefty could make a
street lamp talk. Now, the Seals’ clubhouse was full of talk – and laughter…They adored him…suddenly
freed of rules. Lefty didn’t care what they did at night – just be ready to play. He’d say: ‘If you come into a
bar and I’m there, don’t you dare try to get out without coming over and having one with me.’(O’Doul’s
own drinking was famously major league. When lefty wanted to open his own bar, Ty Cobb, the shrewd
businessmen, declined to go partners – for the businesslike reason: ‘He drinks more than me.’)68




65
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 34.
66
   Johnson Dick, Stout Glenn. DiMaggio: An Illustrated Life. New York: Walker and Company; 1995. 17.
67
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 34.
68
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 71.
                                                               242

Table 4.1.11. Seasons with 200 or
more hits and a .380 Batting Average
 Year        Player           AB    H     BA
  1911 Ty Cobb                591   248   0.420
  1912 Ty Cobb                553   226   0.409
  1917 Ty Cobb                588   225   0.383
  1922 Ty Cobb                526   211   0.401
  1921 Harry Heilmann         602   237   0.394
  1923 Harry Heilmann         524   211   0.403
  1925 Harry Heilmann         573   225   0.393
  1927 Harry Heilmann         505   201   0.398
  1929 Babe Herman            569   217   0.381
  1930 Babe Herman            614   241   0.393
  1921 Rogers Hornsby         592   235   0.397
  1922 Rogers Hornsby         623   250   0.401
  1924 Rogers Hornsby         536   227   0.424
  1925 Rogers Hornsby         504   203   0.403
  1929 Rogers Hornsby         602   229   0.380
  1911 Joe Jackson            571   233   0.408
  1912 Joe Jackson            572   226   0.395
  1920 Joe Jackson            570   218   0.382           Left O’Doul – A long-time friend of the guarded
  1929 Lefty O'Doul           638   254   0.398       DiMaggio. A character, with character, O’Doul was the
  1930 Lefty O'Doul           528   202   0.383
                                                    toast of San Francisco. When asked about the hitting of Ty
  1925 Al Simmons             654   253   0.387
                                                      Cobb against 1960s pitchers, he surmised that a he’d hit
  1930 Al Simmons             554   211   0.381
  1931 Al Simmons             513   200   0.390
                                                       .340. The youngster responded, “Then why do you say
  1920 George Sisler          631   257   0.407      Cobb was so great,” Lefty responded, “Well, you have to
  1922 George Sisler          586   246   0.420       take into consideration the man would now be seventy-
  1912 Tris Speaker           580   222   0.383     eight years old!” (Picture: The Library of Congress, Baines
  1916 Tris Speaker           546   211   0.386          Collection Quote: From The Image of Their Greatness.)
  1920 Tris Speaker           552   214   0.388

        Lefty took DiMaggio around San Francisco – hometown to both men – and educated young Joe
on the finer aspects of becoming a true star ballplayer – this after Joe’s hitting in 61 straight in 1933 and
suffering through a prolonged knee injury in 1934. O’Doul was as open and expressive as DiMaggio was
closed and impassive, but Joe needed some polish in order to survive the New York experience. As
Cramer reflects, “But if he [Joe] was going to be a big-leaguer, a New York big-leaguer…this was a chance
to learn at the master’s knee.”69
        As a helping hand, O’Doul did well. Joe DiMaggio won the 1935 PCL MVP with a .398 average
and secured the league championship. Next stop: The Big Apple and another Lefty mentor.

Yankee Stardom
Joe began his Yankee career on a cross-country trip in 1936 with Frank Crosetti and Tony Lazzeri, with
Joe unable (sans a license and motivation) to drive. On 3,000 miles of back roads, cow paths, and Route 66
type driving, the three would make it to St. Petersburg, Florida, unaware the Yankees would be soon
champions, once again.
        In the Yankee Clipper’s first season, he hit an exceptional .323 while scoring 132 runs. His star
shown so bright that by the All-Star break Time magazine placed him on their cover. In game two of the

69
     Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 72.
                                                                   243

World Series, FDR, the hero of The Great Depression, would salute DiMaggio after an over the shoulder
catch 475 feet from home plate. The press had turned Joe D into an Italian hero, something that was in
short supply with Benito Mussolini preening, Al Capone in prison, and Primo Carnera boxing, futilely.70
DiMaggio was none of that.

Table 4.1.12. Joe DiMaggio’s Season Statistics
 Year     G    GCF     AB     BA     Hits   2B   3B    HR    RBI     R     PO     A    E    FA%
 1936    138    55     637   0.323   206    44   15    29    125    132    339    22    8   0.978
 1937    151   150     621   0.346   215    35   15    46    167    151    413    21   17   0.962
 1938    145   145     599   0.324   194    32   13    32    140    129    366    20   15   0.963
 1939    120   117     462   0.381   176    32    6    30    126    108    328    13    5   0.986
 1940    132   130     508   0.352   179    28    9    31    133    93     359     5    8   0.978
 1941    139   139     541   0.357   193    43   11    30    125    122    385    16    9   0.978
 1942    154   154     610   0.305   186    29   13    21    114    123    409    10    8   0.981
 1946    132   131     503   0.290   146    20    8    25     95    81     314    15    6   0.982
 1947    141   139     534   0.315   168    31   10    20     97    97     316     2    1   0.997
 1948    153   152     594   0.320   190    26   11    39    155    110    441     8   13   0.972
 1949    76     76     272   0.346   94     14    6    14     67    58     195     1    3   0.985
 1950    139   137     525   0.301   158    33   10    32    122    114    363     9    9   0.976
 1951    116   113     415   0.263   109    22    4    12     71    72     288    11    3   0.990

         Joe would meet another pitcher, Vernon “Lefty” Gomez, practical jokester and all-around, good-
natured person that became his baseball consigliere71and trusted friend. In a play early on in Joe’s career,
Gomez had wheeled to turn a double play, but threw the ball away into center. When manager Joe
McCarthy yelled at Gomez about what he was thinking, Gomez responded, “Someone shouted ‘Throw it
to the Dago,’ Gomez replied mildly. “Nobody said which Dago.”72 (Up the middle: Tony Lazzeri, Frank
Crosetti, and Joe DiMaggio.)
         Lefty was Joe’s road roomie, nearby neighbor, driver to the Stadium and ultimate fun, yet
respectable, man about town. Lefty was the life of any party. Joe was the presence of all parties. People
came for Joe – not to talk to him – but to absorb his aura. But even Lefty had his limits: “The fact was, the
writers had it only half right: Joe did learn from Gomez. But Lefty, in truth, wasn’t out on the town as
much as they thought. And pretty soon, Joe was getting around to places even Lefty didn’t go…”73 Those
places (Polly Adler’s ladies of the evening) and buddies (included famous barkeep Toots Shor, famous
concierge/ticket broker George Solotaire, ex-champion Jim Braddock and a variety of mid-to-high level
mob types and hustlers) would introduce Joe to a wide array of experiences and people. And Joe returned
the favor by leaving an air of distinction on anyone he met. And those people knew it.
         Lefty Gomez had married a showgirl, June O’Dea, and Joe was destined to marry the ultimate
showgirl, after his first marriage would fail. Dorothy Arnoldine Olson (Arnold) had been on the set of
Joe’s first acting gig – Manhattan Merry-Go-Round. She was like so many Midwestern women that saw the
movies, did local plays, and went to the coasts to find fame.
          Joe and Dorothy would enter into a ying-and-yang relationship: with Joe reserved, tactfully
appealing, naturally gifted and immensely popular, while Dorothy was outgoing, beautiful, book intelligent,
wanton of attention and relatively unknown. With Dorothy, Joe grew up – socially only – but the problems
with their marriage came from Dorothy’s desire to have a career and attention, Joe’s ultra controlling

70
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 97-102.
71
   Italian origins. A member of a criminal organization or syndicate who serves as an adviser to the leader.
72
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 108.
73
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 113.
                                                                244

nature and inability to handle married stardom, and eventually, World War II and Joe’s meager
participation in it.
        As Richard Ben Cramer reflects the problems with Joe in marriage:

         “He couldn’t see why she wouldn’t just be Mrs. Joe DiMaggio, why she had to be the center of
         attention…Some nights he’d rather just be quiet, with the guys, maybe get a steak with
         Toots…[Or] get some rest. He had to be right the next day. That’s what paid the freight.
         She never could see why she had to give up work. She’d had her own life – and so many
         friends!…And if she talked, well, a lot of times he didn’t want to hear it. If she kept up…he’d walk
         out and she wouldn’t see him that night, maybe nights on end.”74

        Even after the birth of Joseph Paul DiMaggio Jr., the two would only grow more distant and
indifferent, though Joe did try to keep his marriage together – in his usual, subtlety controlling ways. By
summer 1944, Joe would be playing baseball in Hawaii75 for the Army, his divorce was final –though they
attempted friendship (and reconciliation for years) for the sake of Joe Jr.

The Streak and The Problems Begin
         1941 was a season that saw two records that will undoubtedly stand the test of time: the 56-game
hitting streak and a .406 batting average. Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams were inspiring to a nation on the
brink of its greatest fight. But DiMaggio had all ready done damage to the American League in his first five
seasons that has rarely been equaled. The streak was not unfathomable to think of for him – with the PCL
record coming many years prior – but the media attention from it, the national phenomenon, and his
future contract dispute the next season was uncomfortable for Joe as he continued the task of baseball
player perfection.
         Even the probability of such a feat is considered close to a mathematically impossibility as Stephen
Jay Gould writes:
          “Ed Purcell, Nobel laureate in Physics… [reflects on] Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in
         1941. The intuition of baseball aficionados has been validated. Purcell calculated that to make it
         likely (probability greater than 50 percent) that a run of even 50 games will occur once in the
         history of baseball up to now [1989], baseball’s rosters would have to include either four lifetime
         .400 hitters or 52 lifetime .350 batters careers of 1,000 games…[Neither of which has happened]
         He sits on the shoulders of two bearers – mythology and science.”76

         Baseball historians Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig sum up Joe’s ability this way: “Born to play
         center field, the shy, inscrutable DiMaggio was the flawless player... He ranged in center field with
         unerring judgment and poetic grace. His arm was powerful and accurate. At the plate he had no
         weakness, and not even the vast reaches of Yankee Stadium’s left and center fields could neutralize
         his tremendous right-handed power.”77

       His lack of a weakness made impossible, possible.
       The streak was the impetus behind the #1 song Joltin’ Joe Di Maggio by Allan Courtney and Ben
Homer in 1941. So Joe also sat on the shoulders of instantaneous national fame and moderate fortune –
not always to his expectations or his delight, as his 1942 contract dispute was derailed more by World War

74
   Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 156.
75
   Johnson Dick, Stout Glenn. DiMaggio: An Illustrated Life. New York: Walker and Company; 1995. 146.
76
   Johnson Dick, Stout Glenn. DiMaggio: An Illustrated Life. New York: Walker and Company; 1995. 131-132.
77
   Ritter Lawrence, Honig Donald. The Image of Their Greatness: An Illustrated History of Baseball from 1900 to the Present. New
York: Crown Publishers, Inc; 1984. 159.
                                                               245

II, and ever-the-advantageous work of septuagenarian Ed Barrow, than his perceived greed after an MVP
season and World Series title.




         Joe with his weapon. Notice that ‘DiMaggio’ is somewhat separated. Was that intentional?
                           (Wikipedia Commons, Courtesy to The Sporting News)

            As Cramer reflects in The Hero’s Life:
             “THE WAR BEDEVILED DiMaggio…Ed Barrow sent a contract without a raise – not even ten
            bucks…he’d been named the MVP, player of the year, sportsman of the year, named everything
            except God-incarnate…
                     But Barrow said, ‘Doesn’t he know there’s a war on?’ Why should DiMaggio get a raise on
            his salary – [$37,500] – when so many young men [get] one-hundredth the pay? Was DiMaggio so
            much better, so much more valuable, than those brave boys…?
                     Of course that was a specious argument – immaterial, underhanded, insulting. It called into
            question DiMaggio’s patriotism…”78

         After a national columnist, Bob Considine, suggested Joe worth at $80,000, but would likely get
only half of that, it was exactly the amount Ed Barrow proffered on the second go around. Joe did not
budge. But the press, and Barrow, would hound Joe for his holdout and greed. To that end, Joe would
settle for $42,000 in 1942, a long way from Babe Ruth’s $80,000 salary in the late 1920s.
         Joe’s 1941 season was barely a memory before his life would be permanently altered by war,
divorce, injuries, and age.



78
     Cramer Richard Ben. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2000. 198.
                                                              246

After The War
By November 1946, the Yankees were far from the juggernaut that took apart the American League of the
1930s. Time and war had caused plenty of changes – manager Joe McCarthy, pitcher Lefty Gomez, catcher
Bill Dickey, 2nd baseman Joe Gordon, all gone – and the future rested on the ulcer-ridden, problematic
heel-and-ankle of Joe DiMaggio. Both Boston and Detroit, 1945 and 1946 World Series representatives,
were better teams on paper and on the field.
         The glacier shift in fortunes started first with Joe McCarthy. He had begun a string of alcoholic
rants and ravings that would diminish his accomplishments in many baseball circles, but were enjoyable
stories, nonetheless. “McCarth