The Giants Arriving in San Francisco

Some pictures from the San Francisco Chronicle‘s coverage of the first major league game on the West Coast: the Giants beating the Dodgers, 8-0, at Seals Stadium on Tuesday, April 15, 1958. The third picture’s of the parade through downtown on Monday the 14th. Some of the Chronicle’s account of the game comes after the pictures:

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On the day of the game, the Chronicle’s Bob Stevens started off his story by saying, “The National League becomes national today at 1:30 p.m. when the San Francisco Giants meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in a history-making battle of baseballs at Seals Stadium.”

As for the game itself, the box score is here. But more interestingly, the Chronicle’s front page story talked of the final two tickets being scalped, at $15 each, to two sailors, and floral displays in the form of “a red horseshoe, a white baseball, a yellow bat”:

The band marched to centerfield, the flag went up, the national anthem was played. A few timid voices attempted to sing it, then gave up.

Next came the comedy interval, as familiar as any circus clown routine. San Francisco Mayor George Christopher took the mound, rared back and threw a blooper ball that narrowly missed the head of Los Angeles Mayor Norris Poulson, bravely standing his ground with a bat in his hand.

Christopher threw four times. Two other throws–they weren’t exactly pitches–were behind Poulson and one bounced over the plate. Poulson got his bat on one and sprinted merrily toward third base.”

On to the game itself. Bob Stevens was there, reporting on the action, and here’s some of what he wrote:

A capacity crowd of 23,448, at Seals Stadium, loud, colorful and enchanted, sat in whispering winds and under nursery blue skies to welcome major league to the shores of the Pacific, and got a show even a Barnum wouldn’t have dared to conceive. The Giants, proud and powerful in their soft white uniforms, battered into submission the Los Angeles Dodgers, behind the magnificent six-hit pitching of slender Ruben Gomez, the Puerto Rican cutie, and whistling home runs by veteran shortstop Daryl Spencer and rookie first baseman Orlando Cepeda.

In less than four innings [the Dodgers] great Don Drysdale, who deals wickedly from the side, had been swept out of the box, on the ground of which were little piles of white dust blasted from the resin bag as he slammed it down in disgust and frustration.

One of the Dodgers, right fielder Carl Furillo, nearly brained himself crashing into the cement wall of the bleachers trying to flag down the 390 foot shot unloaded by Cepeda.

From any angle you care to view it, this was a most unforgettable moment in the history of baseball in San Francisco. A minor league town since 1903, the Queen of Western cities wore robes of pure gold as she showed to the world her readiness to have and to hold National League—major league—baseball.

The thrill of reality, the fulfillment of the historic Westward Ho movement, came shortly after 1:30 p.m, when the pattern of the first big league game ever played on this side of the Rockies was established. Gomez struck out native-born Gino Cimoli.

[For the first run, in the bottom of the third] rookie Jimmy Davenport, playing his first major league game, ripped a long fly to right and Furillo, playing in shallow, turned his numbers to the crowd back of the plate and took off, reaching at the last moment to haul down what might have been a triple. The sacrifice fly scored [Danny] O’Connell and the Giants led the National League.

[In the fourth Daryl Spencer] the shortstop with fullback build snapped a home run into the pavilion at the 364 mark and, engulfed in a triumphant smile, slowly and with great dignity circled the bases, his gleaming spikes carrying him along the first home run trail in San Francisco major league history.

A sidebar column by Bill Leiser had fulsome praise for Davenport’s fielding, and added some of the firsts for the MLB in California. They included:
Cimoli hit the first foul ball, was the first strikeout, on a 3-2 count, and happened to be a son of San Francisco.
Jimmy Davenport made the first assist by getting Pee Wee Reese on a grounder and throwing it to Cepeda for the first putout.
Duke Snider got the first walk, off Ruben Gomez.
Mays grounded out in his first at bat.
Charlie Neal of the Dodgers got the first hit with a single to left.
Gil Hodges hit the first foul into the stands.
Gomes had the first Giants hit, a high bounder to third that loaded the bases in the third.
Gomez, Spencer, and Cepeda turned the first double play, in the fourth.
Jocko Conlan was the home plate umpire.

And, apparently just to add some zaniness, the Chronicle had a little snippet called “Wilmots” (as in bon mots, I suppose), and here’s the text of that tidbit:

Add baseball cats dictionary: when things are tenser, call on Spenser. Or: see ya ladah, Orlando Cepada.

The moles changed holes and confused the fans. The Bums were stewing Mulligan in the third base culvert and the Giants Fe-Fi-Fo-Fums were smelling blood in the first base dugout. Different from last year, but what isn’t?

It was decided not to call the Dodgers Bums. But, after 8-0 it should be the other way around, don’t call the Bums Dodgers. A hobo’s a hobo–even in a sack suit.

By the way, when George Christopher died at 92, on September 14, 2000, in San Francisco, Dianne Feinstein issued this statement: “As mayor, George set a course for the city as an international destination, a major league baseball city and a financial center for the West. Whether it was bringing the Giants to San Francisco, expanding the city’s business base or putting the city on the international map, the San Francisco of today has its roots in his remarkable years as mayor.”

And, when Gino Cimoli died on February 12, 2011, the San Francisco Chronicle obituary featured his status as the first West Coast batter in MLB history.

Nick Adenhart

Years before Nick Adenhart made his debut with the Angels in May 2008, he was a high school phenom attending Williamsport High in Washington County, Maryland. In May 2004, the Baltimore Sun profiled him. The newspaper said of the flurry of scouts that were tracking his every move at games:

This is what happens when you pitch a no-hitter against Allegany in the Class A regional playoffs, losing 1-0, and achieve perfection against the same team to begin your senior season. When Baseball America declares you the No. 1-rated high school player in the country and makes you a local celebrity, whether you like it or not.

“It’s something you have to block out, but I appreciate the attention,” he said after striking out nine Catoctin batters in five innings last week. “It’s obviously a good thing, and my teammates have responded really well. They treat me just like the next guy in line.”

Center of attention

The buzz surrounding Adenhart, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-hander, started three years ago during a fall tryout. It picked up after he went 6-1 with a 1.20 ERA as a junior. Now it roars like a jet engine.

“He’s been dealing with it fine,” said his stepfather, Duane Gigeous, “but I wouldn’t wish this on any 17-year-old kid.” The catch, of course, is that Adenhart isn’t like most 17-year-olds.

How many of them can throw three above-average pitches, including a fastball that touches 95 mph and overwhelms young hitters who choke up on the bat with little hope of making solid contact? How many are projected to go within the first 10 picks of next month’s draft?

“I’ve seen it happen before, where a kid comes into the season and you think, `This guy can’t miss,’ and the wheels fall off. But this kid’s got a great arm,” said a National League scout. “He’ll have a bright future in professional baseball if he decides to go that route.”

Jim Callis, executive editor at Baseball America, said of the upcoming draft: “It’s a great year for college pitchers, but I don’t see why he won’t go in the top 10. He should go off the board real quick. And I think he’ll get drafted high enough that it would be real hard to turn down that bonus.”

Callis compared Adenhart to Homer Bailey, a high school pitcher in Texas who has gone on to stardom with the Cincinnati Reds: “They’re neck-and-neck. They both have mid-90s fastballs. Nick probably has a better changeup, but both of them throw strikes and have real easy deliveries. The consensus might be that Nick is a little more polished and Bailey has a tad more stuff, but that’s splitting hairs.”

Adenhart said of all the attention: “It’s hectic. It puts a lot of pressure on you. It puts everything you do under a microscope. I like to get out and be with my friends and enjoy the high school experience as much as I can, get away from it a little. The easiest time is out on the field.”

The Sun added that the scouts “should have seen him at Camden Yards three years ago, making the Maryland Orioles fall team at 14 because he was better than the older high school-eligible pitchers who normally fill out the roster.

“We had some good ones there, too,” said Dean Albany, an Orioles scout who coaches the fall team. “Usually, they’re 11th-graders. He was in ninth, but he threw so nice and easy and fluid.”

“Dean hadn’t watched me throw before that,” said Adenhart, who also became the youngest player to make Albany’s summer team. “He said, `You can come down and throw off the mound. It’ll be an experience, but I’m not sure you’re going to make the team.’ I happened to open some eyes. I was pretty oblivious to all the things going on around me.”

His stepfather, Duane Gigeous, said: “His 10-year-old brother [Henry] keeps him in line. And he’s been dealing with this since he was 14. He’s a realist. He knows all these guys are standing here and watching, but the chapter isn’t finished. It’s like spending money you don’t have. He’s not that type of kid. We’re not that type of people.”

On May 11, 2004, Adenhart, making his last regular season start, against South Hagerstown, walked off the mound with elbow trouble. He had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in the elbow, and as a result interest in him from MLB teams declined: the Angels got him in the 14th round. Their head of scouting, Eddie Bane, explained: “He was playing shortstop the day after his injury, and we had to get that straightened out. But we said, look, you can go ahead and go to North Carolina and wait three years to turn pro. Or you can sign with us, go to Arizona State and rehab with our people, and go to the Instructional League in the fall.”

In February 2005, the Orange County Register added: “The Angels, getting the all-clear from Dr. Lew Yocum, picked Adenhart in the 14th round. Anyone could have. But not everyone would have gathered up $710,000. Adenhart signed and is scheduled to pitch from a mound in Mesa, maybe in October. If all the scouts are right, more Octobers loom. “We felt that kind of money was a bargain for a guy who can be a top-of-the-rotation guy,” Bane said. “But that’s what I’m able to do with Arte and Bill.”

In February 2008, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported:

He took two semesters of classes at Arizona State while he worked out at the Angels’ Tempe facilities for a year while his arm recovered. He finally began pitching for the team’s summer league squad and its Rookie League team, going a combined 3-3 with a 3.24 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 50 innings.

“It would be easy coming out of high school after you strike everybody out 90 percent of the time to step into a pro setting and think you’re going to do the same thing,” said Adenhart, 21, who benefited from “getting that year, year-and-a-half to take it all in and realize that everybody’s got some talent and it’s going to take something extra.”

The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder has improved his mechanics, made his motion more fluid and is throwing his curve better and with no reservations.

His rise through the team’s minor league system has been quick, and despite the Angels’ pitching depth, he could make his major league debut this season – and all the sooner if another Angels pitcher comes up lame. After going 10-8 with a 3.65 ERA for Class AA Arkansas last year, tied for third in the Texas League with 116 strikeouts, Adenhart is slated to begin the year at Class AAA Salt Lake.

At the time (2008), Mike Scioscia said: “He has a terrific arm. He’s got a live fastball with terrific action. He’s got a changeup right now that is a big major league pitch … and a terrific curveball.

“I think one thing with Nick is understanding how to put pitches together. As he gets more experience, he’s understanding that more and more. There’s a lot of reasons to get excited about him – his makeup on the mound, his stuff …”

Published in: on May 21, 2009 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Short Post About the 1975 through 1989 Kansas City Royals

Over these 15 seasons, the Royals posted an 86-72 average won-loss record, for a .544 cumulative winning percentage.
In 8 of the 15 seasons, 1975-1989, the Royals got at least 90 wins, including a peak of 102 in 1977. They were in the playoffs 7 times.
They got 90+ wins each year from 1975 through 1978, and had just 1 year from ’75-’89 of fewer than 79 wins (not counting strike-shortened 1981): 1986, a 76-win season.
This excellence made them, I’d guess, the most successful expansion franchise in the majors for quite a while. Until when? Maybe when the Blue Jays won their two World Series in 1992 and 1993.
Compare the Royals’ showing over these 15 years to their 2014 record of 89-73, a .549 winning percentage, and their 2013 record of 86-76, a .531 winning percentage.
I’ve tried to make this post be about more than just the 1985 Royals, but I close by noting that Bret Saberhagen was apparently the last ’85 Royal in the majors. His last year, 2001, was spent with the Red Sox.

Published in: Uncategorized on October 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Comparing the Best Players on the Two Teams Without a World Series Appearance

These are the best players in Seattle Mariners history that people can think of as M’s-that is, they had at least a few of their prime seasons with the team, enough time for a sizable number of the team’s fans to develop strong memories of them. They are: Ken Griffey, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro, Jay Buhner, John Olerud, Adrian Beltre, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer, Felix Hernandez, Omar Vizquel. And, for managers, Lou Piniella (the only M’s manager aside from Lloyd McClendon with an above .500 record) and Dick Williams.

The same list for the Expos/Nationals: Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Vladimir Guerrero, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Dennis Martinez, Steve Rogers (the classic Expos pitcher), Rusty Staub, Ryan Zimmerman. And, for managers, Felipe Alou and Frank Robinson. (You could add players such as Mark Langston and Marquis Grissom to both of these lists, but I had to stop somewhere.)

The Expos/Nationals have had one position player with a season WAR above 8: Gary Carter, once. Meanwhile, M’s position players have reached 8 WAR 8 times: A-Rod 3 times, Griffey 3 times, Ichiro once, and Brett Boone once.

Here is a proposed All-Star team for the Mariners:
catcher: Dan Wilson
third base: Beltre
shortstop: Rodriguez
second base: Boone
first base: Olerud or Alvin Davis
left: Ichiro
center: Griffey
right: Buhner
pitcher: Johnson or Hernandez

The same lineup for the Expos:
catcher: Carter
third base: Ryan Zimmerman
shortstop: Hubie Brooks
second base: Jose Vidro
first base: Andres Galarraga
left: Raines
center: Dawson
right: Guerrero
pitcher: Rogers or Pedro

I am not very familiar with the Expos/Nationals history, but even allowing for a couple mistakes in my selection of their All-Stars, it’s clear that if they played 50 games, the M’s All-Stars would beat the Montreal/D.C. All-Stars more than half the time. I think the biggest question, then, is: why haven’t the Mariners been in a World Series?

Published in: Uncategorized on October 12, 2014 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

BBA Award Ballots

This post gathers together the Baseball Bloggers Alliance History Chapter award voting for 2014 in MLB. My ballot for the Walter Johnson (Pitcher of the Year) award in the AL is:
1 Felix Hernandez
2 Corey Kluber
3 Chris Sale
4 Jon Lester
5 Max Scherzer

In the NL:
1 Clayton Kershaw
2 Johnny Cueto
3 Adam Wainwright
4 Cole Hamels
5 Doug Fister

Mark Aubrey with Baseball Nuggets handled the Willie Mays (Rookie of the Year) awards. He went with, in the AL:
1 Jose Abreu
2 Masahiro Tanaka
3 Matt Shoemaker

In the NL:
1 Jacob deGrom
2 Billy Hamilton
3 Yangervis Solarte

For the Connie Mack (Manager of the Year) awards, my choices are, in the AL:
1 Buck Showalter
2 Lloyd McClendon
3 Mike Scioscia

In the NL:
1 Bruce Bochy
2 Clint Hurdle
3 Matt Williams

For Goose Gossage (Reliever of the Year), in the AL, I have:
1 Wade Davis
2 Greg Holland
3 Zach Britton

In the NL:
1 Craig Kimbrel
2 Jonathan Papelbon
3 Mark Melancon

The Stan Musial (MVP) ballots, for the AL:

1 Mike Trout
2 Michael Brantley
3 Josh Donaldson
4 Adam Jones
5 Felix Hernandez
6 Alex Gordon
7 Victor Martinez
8 Jose Bautista
9 Jose Altuve
10 Robinson Cano

The following is Mark Aubrey’s ballot for National League MVP:

1  Clayton Kershaw
2  Giancarlo Stanton
3  Andrew McCutcheon
4  Anthony Rendon
5  Jonathan Lucroy
6  Buster Posey
7  Adam Wainwright
8  Jason Heyward
9  Anthony Rizzo
10 Josh Harrison

Published in: on October 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm  Comments (6)  

Some Measures of the Phillies’ Long Futility, and Brief Success

The Philadelphia Phillies appeared in the postseason once from 1916 through 1975, which I suppose is an unequaled streak of futility in MLB history. The Phillies’ record in those 60 seasons was 3973-5286, not counting being swept by the Yankees in the 1950 World Series. Their average season record from 1916 through 1975 was 66-88. The Phillies have lost 100 games 13 times, all 13 times coming before the 162-game schedule began in 1962. From 1916 through 1961 they finished 8th out of 8 teams 20 times, then escaped the cellar in the 7 years of a single-division, 10-team National League. When division play began, they finished 5th or 6th in the 6-team N.L. East each year from 1969 through 1973.

I don’t know how people rank the performance of the MLB franchises, but the Phillies, with the exception of two stretches in which they could have assembled dynasties if things had gone a little bit better, have been remarkably bad. In the first would-be dynasty, they went to the playoffs 6 times in 8 years, 1976 through 1983, with an average record of 88-67 in that time, and got to two World Series. In the second, they made it to the playoffs 5 years in a row, but now appear to be in another extended losing stretch.

The Phillies have won 100 games three times: in none of the three seasons did they make it to the Series. On the other side, as noted, they haven’t lost 100 games in a season in the 50+ years since they were first given 8 more games in which to get to 100 losses, which strikes me as one of the more surprising facts about the 30 MLB franchises.

Published in: Uncategorized on September 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm  Comments (1)  

John P. Carmichael on Gabby Hartnett’s Homer in the Gloaming

This is a column by John P. Carmichael of the Chicago Daily News, writing for the September 29, 1938 edition about Gabby Hartnett’s Homer in the Gloaming to put the Cubs on the verge of winning the pennant:

We surrender to inadequacy. This Cub-Pirate pennant fight has gone far beyond our poor power to picture in words. When you squirm to fashion the proper pinnacle for a “Dizzy” Dean only to find that you need at least its twin, that a Gabby Hartnett may also brush the stars, word-painting becomes a magic art not given to the mine run of mortals to diffuse.

So let this be, today, a confession of helplessness to treat an afternoon which beggars description; an afternoon in the life of a stout-hearted Irishman who, as darkness almost wrapped him from the sight of 35,000 quaking fans, changed the map of a baseball world with one devastating blow. And that he is alive and in one piece at the moment, ready to carry on from that smash, is no fault of a Cub team and a Cub populace gone mad.

For a second successive night we stood in a clubhouse of crazy men in play suits. Only this time they weren’t even articulate. We can still see ‘em fighting for words, staring at one another with glazed eyes. We can still see ‘em pushing Hartnett from wall to wall with the irresistible force of robots gone wild. We can still see Gabby trying vainly to free himself from idolatrous teammates.

We can still see Billy Herman, standing in the middle of the floor, arms akimbo. When he could talk it was first just a whisper of awe: “Lord God Almighty.” Dawning consciousness of the moment brought it out again, louder, hoarser: “Lord God Almighty.” Then the full realization of the terrific sight he had just watched in the twilight smote him. “Lord God ALMIGHTY;” he suddenly screamed and hurled his glove he knew not where.

He wasn’t even swearing. It was as though he was asking the heavens above to witness that this thing he’d just seen with his own eyes could really happen to him and those caught up in the maelstrom around him.

Dean’s day was great. This one was greater. This was everybody’s day until Hartnett wrested it from them all with that miraculous, breath-taking blow in the ninth with two down, two strikes against him and a tie game about to be put over for a double-header today because it was no longer possible to see in the gloom.

Far out in the stands a mailman caught the ball and even while Gabby struggled in the arms of his men, it appeared in the clubhouse with a plea for the Hartnett name. “Give him a new one and I’ll sign it,” ordered Gabby. “I want to keep this one forever. I’ve had the greatest thrill of this old life now.”

Over in a corner “Rip” Collins, himself one of the day’s heroes at that plate, tried to break the hysteria with his inevitable gag. “I get some credit,” he yelled. “Gabby used the Collins stance at the plate.” Elbowing his way to Gabby’s side strode Trainer Andy Lotshaw, a comic figure with his cap awry and wiping away at streaming eyes with a huge towel.

“You big lug,” he wept, “you hit it just like I used to do.” He was shoved aside, sniffling, and “Dizzy” Dean leaped upon the managerial desk behind which Gabby had sought refuge. “Diz” teetered there back and forth on the balls of his feet, matted gray hair hanging over his forehead like an old crone’s disheveled locks.

“Oh,” he moaned. “You… you Gabby.” He tried to talk with his hands, but lost his balance and fell back into unsympathetic arms. Sheer exhaustion at relief from the tension of what they’d gone through finally drove some to their chairs, where they slumped like marionettes whose guiding strings had let them down. Through the half-open door came the frenzied roar of the crowd from which, only minutes before, Andy Frain’s ushers had barely saved Hartnett in his entity.

Now up, now down, now up again, the Cubs and Pirates went all the heart-straining day. The tide of battle surged bitterly through breaks, good and bad. It was almost too much for human flesh and blood to watch. And that hat we do not own is off once more to HIM and THEM.

Published in: on September 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Billy Martin on Earl Weaver

This is from one of Martin’s books, either Number 1 or Billy Ball, I don’t remember which. It is Martin’s comments on Weaver, perhaps his greatest A.L. adversary in the ’70s and ’80s:

I saved the best for last. I’m not being facetious when I say that. I know we’re supposed to have a hot rivalry going between us. The way that started is that I didn’t like him when he first came into the league. Frankly, he pissed me off the way he strutted around like a little bantam rooster and the way he talked. Thought he knew it all. Then he beat me three straight playoff games in 1969 when I was with Minnesota and that got me fired.

Later, when I came back with Detroit, he was always making comments about me in the papers, and I would return them with comments of my own. During the game, I’d be in my dugout and he’d be in his and I’d hear his raspy voice yelling at the umpires or at one of my players. I’d jump up to the top step of the dugout to say something to him, but he’d run away and hide.

Even when he didn’t run, I wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye, anyway, because he’s so short. Sometimes, he wouldn’t even be there; he’d be down in the runway, yelling at somebody and lighting up one of the cigarettes that he carries inside his uniform shirt.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Toney-Vaughan Double No-Hitter of May 2, 1917

Here is how the Chicago Tribune of May 3, 1917, described the previous day’s game at Weeghman Park (aka Wrigley Field), which the Reds won, 1-0, in the 10th inning by getting the game’s only two hits:

CUBS HITLESS AS TONEY WINS IN 10TH, 1 TO 0
Two Singles Off Vaughan with Error Score Tally for the Reds
RECORD!
Three thousand or more fans who saw the Cubs-Reds game yesterday
witnessed a contest that will stand as one of the most remarkable in history.
So far as can be learned, there never was a time in the major leagues when
two pitchers went nine innings without a hit being made on either side, as
did Jim Vaughan of the Cubs and Fred Toney of the Reds.

By James Crusinberry

Fred Toney and Jim Vaughan both attempted to enter the baseball hall of
fame yesterday when the Cubs and Reds fought at Weeghman park, and the result was a pitching duel such as never before has been staged. When nine rounds had been played neither one of the stalwart hurlers had allowed a base hit, but in the tenth the break came, and it went against Vaughn. Two hits were registered with one error, and Cincinnati got a run. Toney went back in the last half and set three Cubs down in a row, thus winning the day and the honor of a no hit no run game.

Many times it has happened that a pitcher on one side has gained the honor of allowing no hits, but none of the old time fans can remember of seeing two
pitchers fight for nine innings and neither one allow a hit. There wasn’t even a
fluke which might have been called a hit in the first nine rounds. Vaughn passed two batsmen and one Cincinnati man got to first when Rollie Zeider fumbled an easy grounder.

TONEY GIVES TWO WALKS

Toney walked two batsmen, but those two were the only men to reach first base. He was given perfect support by his mates, not a bobble being made behind him. The duel was so desperate that when the ninth inning was over and the honors were even the crowd cheered both men.

Vaughn really was the more brilliant of the two pitchers for nine innings. Only
twenty-seven men faced him in that time, because each time he walked a man double plays occurred, clearing off the bases, and the one fellow who reached first on Zeider’s fumble was pegged out trying to steal. Vaughn also fanned ten men in the nine innings, while Toney fanned only three all told, and two of the three strikeouts occurred in the last of the tenth, when the big Tennessee man called upon all the reserve power in his right arm to make sure of the honor of a no hit game.

VAUGHAN’S SUPPORT FAILS HIM

It was a wonderful game for Toney to win and a tough one for Vaughn to lose.
Had Vaughn been given the keen support that Toney had the Cubs might have prolonged the battle, and possibly connected with Toney’s curves later on. But when the first hit was made in the tenth there was a general breakdown.

The first fellow to drive the ball to safe ground was Larry Kopf, the young
shortstop of the Reds. One was out in the tenth when he came up, and he hit a liner to right field. Fred Merkle made a desperate lunge to his right with one hand stretched out, and perhaps came within a foot of the ball, but it was out of reach, and the terrible suspense was broken.

WILLIAMS DROPS BALL

That blow shouldn’t have lost the ball game. Neale followed with a fly ball to
Williams, and then Chase hit a line fly right at Williams. Cy scarcely had to move, but if he had advanced two steps he could have taken it in front of his belt buckle. Instead, he had to catch it at his ankles, and he muffed the ball. Kopf was on third and Chase safe at first.

Jim Thorpe, the athletic red skin, then bounced one into the earth in front of
the plate. The ball rolled slowly toward third base, with Vaughn after it. It looked as if Vaughn figured he had lost a chance to get Thorpe at first base, and there seemed little hope of such a play, so in desperation he scooped the ball to Wilson standing on the plate, with Kopf tearing in. The ball hit Wilson on the shoulder about the same time that Kopf crashed into him, and the run was in.

Chase also tried to dash in when he saw the ball roll away, but Wilson recovered it in time to get Hal. There wasn’t any need of Hal’s run anyway, for one run was all that could be used.

Published in: Uncategorized on July 15, 2014 at 11:00 am  Comments (1)  

The Boise Daily Statesman on Walter Johnson in Mid-1907

This is a story from the Boise Daily Statesman of June 30, 1907, that I think I found in a book on Boise’s baseball history a few years ago, and scanned and put aside for quite a while. It said:

KID JOHNSON SMASHES WORLD’S RECORD FOR PITCHING
Weiser Twirler Chucks 75 Innings Without Score Made Against Him
HIS RECORD FOR THE SEASON TO DATE
Accepts Offer to Join Washington, D.C., American League Team But Remains with Weiser to End of State League Season

WEISER, June 29. The wonderful record of Walter Johnson, the Kids’ twirler, started last year when he was with Weiser in the state league and which Johnson continued with such remarkable success this year, has attracted the attention of ball players and managers all over the country and the offer of Joe Cantillion, manager of the Washington, D.C., American league team, is only one of many the phenomenal youth has received of late.

With his record of shut out games this season, Johnson has smashed to smithereens the world’s record for pitching. He has pitched 75 innings without a run having been made against him. The former record was 54 innings. Some may not consider this remarkable because of the fact that Johnson has not pitched against the big leaguers. This fact does not in any way make Johnson’s record less remarkable. No matter who is batting him the record would stand the same.

In the 75 innings 230 men faced Johnson. The complete record of Johnson for the entire season is as follows: He has struck out 166 batters; is credited with 18 base hits out of 37 times at bat, assisted 26 times and has 8 putouts to his credit. He has not made an error and only five runs have been made by his opponents. Twenty-five base hits have been made off his pitching during the season to date.

Walter Johnson was born at lola, Kan., and is 19 years of age. He is six feet and two-fifths of an inch in height in his stocking feet and weighs 180 pounds. His home is at Fullerton, Cal., where he attends school. His first ball playing away from home was with the Weiser team last season.

Johnson has frowned on a number of good offers received lately and unlike many young pitchers who, through their eagerness to get into the big leagues have spoiled bright prospects for a successful career, turned them all down, concluding that it would be better for him to get more of such experience as he is now getting before meeting the big hitters. But Joe Cantillion sent a man from Washington [D.C.] to persuade Johnson to go to the national capital and Johnson has decided to go and take a chance with the big fellows. He will probably not be pitched in a regular game this season, but will be carefully coached, it is likely, during the remainder of the season and put in the game next year.

Johnson will be with Weiser through the remainder of the Idaho State league’s
season, which closes July 14.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 30, 2014 at 5:44 am  Comments (1)  

How Do Players in Their 40s Do?

This post is a followup on the earlier look at the best MLB players in their teens. It looks at the best players from age 40 onward. Here, via Baseball-reference.com, is a list of the top 10 position players (except for pitcher Wilhelm) in career games played after turning 40.

1. Pete Rose 732
2. Cap Anson 677
3. Julio Franco 637
4. Sam Rice 543
5. Carlton Fisk 537
6. Omar Vizquel 525
7. Honus Wagner 503
8. Hoyt Wilhelm 494
9. Luke Appling 470
10. Rickey Henderson 469

The same list, for leaders in times on base after turning 40:
1. Cap Anson 1181
2. Pete Rose 1042
3. Luke Appling 780
4. Sam Rice 711
5. Rickey Henderson 691
6. Carlton Fisk 688
7. Honus Wagner 642
8. Carl Yastrzemski 620
9. Dave Winfield 587
10. Jim O’Rourke 582

The first list has seven Hall of Famers, the second list has nine.

And the top 10 in innings pitched for years 40 and after:
1. Phil Niekro 1977.0
2. Jamie Moyer 1551.3
3. Jack Quinn 1427.7
4. Charlie Hough 1346.3
5. Nolan Ryan 1271.7
6. Cy Young 1226.3
7. Warren Spahn 1163.0
8. Randy Johnson 1013.0
9. Tommy John 1000.7
10. Gaylord Perry 992.0

The top 10 in strikeouts after leaving the 30s behind:
1. Nolan Ryan 1437
2. Phil Niekro 1148
3. Randy Johnson 1004
4. Jamie Moyer 913
5. Roger Clemens 763
6. Charlie Hough 756
7. Hoyt Wilhelm 681
8. Gaylord Perry 533
9. Cy Young 519
10. Warren Spahn 503

The first list of pitchers has five Hall of Famers, the second has six. These lists have much better players than the lists of leaders in pre-20 stats: of course, if you want to play full time in your 40s, it’s a good idea to have established yourself as a markedly superior player. I think the only relatively late bloomers on the batting lists are Sam Rice and perhaps Julio Franco, while the late bloomers on the pitching lists are Moyer and Wilhelm.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm  Comments (2)  

A Couple Quotes on Hitting From Tony Gwynn

These are taken from George Will’s book, Men at Work. Among other things Tony said, here are two:

“I remember when they asked Pete Rose what do you think about Gwynn taking batting practice every day. He said, ‘he’ll learn, the more he plays the more he’ll realize he doesn’t need batting practice every day.’ Pete’s got more hits than anybody but I just don’t feel I’m prepared unless I’m doing what I can to be a little bit smarter, a little bit better, a little bit more prepared. I have been brought up in the game to do every little extra thing, get every bit of extra knowledge that can help you get a base hit in a key situation. I think my parents gave it to me.”

“Last year [1987], when I was going through bankruptcy and the team was in last place, people used to say, ‘How did you do it, hit .370?’ I said, playing was easy. That is how I got my relief, where I came to have fun.”

Published in: Uncategorized on June 17, 2014 at 8:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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