Saturday, December 30, 2017

Right Short

On page 27, a meaningful number for sure, of his Base Ball Manual, Henry Chadwick writes:

"In the present position of the game there is but one "short-stop," and he stands to the left of the infield between the second and third base positions. Ultimately, however, a "right-short" will be introduced, which will make the field one of ten men instead of nine, as now. In America the professional clubs this season play what they call exhibition games -vis., not regular matches-under the rule of ten men and ten innings, but all championship contests are played with nine men, there being no "right-short" fielder.

Chadwick's Base Ball Manual was published in London in 1874. The front page contains that title, as well as a nice illustration of a batsman, and the following, "Containing the New Rules of Base Ball as revised at the Base Ball Convention held at Boston, U.S., March 2, 1874, together with special instructions in all the scientific points of pitching, batting, and fielding, with instructions for scoring the game and rules for umpiring, by Henry Chadwick."

So...this is the latest thing I'm looking for, these ten men, ten inning or ten position game box scores. I have one, but its kind of an anomaly for these because its from 1863, and in Victoria, on Vancouver Island in what would eventually become the colony of British Columbia and part of Canada.
Here is a copy of that, its from March 31, 1863, reported in the British Colonist, a newspaper in Victoria. John Calhoun Keenan was the pitcher, and owner of the Fashion Hotel. He was from Sacramento [originally from Ireland], and played both cricket and baseball in both Sacramento and Victoria. He was also noted as a fireman.





































In addition, further research...
So, using that, I found some articles in "Forest and Stream", a sporting magazine, initial find is for October 29, 1874.

The article reviews the championship matches for the 1874 season then states:
"-The professional championship season closes on Oct. 31st, after which date exhibition games, under the ten men and ten innings rule, will be in order. From the appended record of games won and lost up to October 25th, inclusive, it will be seen that the Bostons stand first-winning the pennant-the Mutuals second and the Athletics third. The table is as follows (gives rankings, you can go to bbref and look up the 1874 standings)..
-An exhibition match, under the ten men and ten innings rule was played on the Union Grounds, Brooklyn, October 24th, between the Mutuals and Atlantics, which resulted in the success of the Mutuals in a ten innings games, played in an hour and three-quarters, with a score of 7 to 1. West, of the Chelseas, played right short for the Atlantics and made a splendid double play. Geer, of the Fly Aways, assisting with the Mutuals. The Atlantics earned the only run earned in the game.

In August, the Forest and Stream reported on a game between the Atlantics and Chicago:

"-The finest display of ball playing ever seen in Chicago was on the occasion of the benefit match given Jimmy Wood on July 29th, the match being an exhibition game between the Atlantics and White Stockings, played under the ten men and ten innings rule, Ferguson playing at right short for the Atlantics and Collins for the Whites. At the end of the tenth inning the score stood at 4 to 4 only, and in the eleventh inning the Whites won by one run. The score was as follows:
Atlantics......0  0  0  2  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  -  4
Chicago.......1  0  1  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  1  -  5
The new game is highly spoken of in the Chicago papers."


Here is another report from Forest and Stream, earlier in 1874, from March 19:

"-By the report of the proceedings of the Professional Association Convention held in Boston, it will be seen that the ten men rule though excluded from championship contests is to be the rule for all exhibition games played by professional clubs. In fact they are debarred playing any 'exhibition' game under the regular rule of play until they have played their championship series to a close. The first series of these games therefore under the ten men rule will be played the same week, in April, when the Boston Club will make an exhibition tour prior to their commencing the championship series. As at the Amateur Convention in New York last December, some of the delegates declared that the basis of their opposition to the ten men rule was the fact that the Professional Convention would adopt it, and that they wanted something different to the game that class played, by the same course of reasoning the Amateurs should adopt the new game themselves. Under their proposed rule of allowing but a square pitch in delivery, they well want ten men in the field to keep down the large scores that will be made against a simple pitch of the ball to the bat."

I've found William J. Ryczek gives the March convention good coverage in his book on the National Association, Blackguards and Red Stockings. Peter Morris also gave the attempt a page in his book A Game of Inches.

Here is a box score, finally, of a professional match. December 25, 1873. This is from "Record of the Boston Base Ball Club, Since Its Organization: With A Sketch of All Its Players for 1871, 72, 73, and 74, and Other Items of Interest. By Rockwell & Churchill, Printers, 1874." It is preceded on page 45 with the following:


Base Ball In Winter.

     "Among the sports of Christmas day was a game of base ball upon the Boston grounds between the nines or 'tens' selected for the occasion. Harry Wright and Spalding chose sides from the various players, amateurs and juniors, who happened to be present, and the game proved very interesting to four or five hundred spectators.
     The score was a tie at the end of the third, eighth, and ninth innings, Harry's side getting the winning runs in the tenth. Following is the score:-"

































Peculiar, is that Wilson is Short Left Field and Mathews is Right Short.  Al Spalding would pitch 617.1 innings in 1874, so hopefully this game didn't take too much out of him.

A retired blog on St. Louis baseball, This Game of Games, has the following article, which talks of a game played in the ten men ten inning format, also a winter exhibition. I find it interesting that Sweasy is also in this game: http://thisgameofgames.blogspot.com/2007/10/game-played-under-ten-men-ten-inning.html

In The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball by Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, he states
"a curious feature of nineteenth-century Cuban baseball is that it was played with ten men to a side, a fact that left its mark in Cuban baseball jargon. As kids we referred to sandlot games where sides were chose on the spot as a pit en, as in echar un piten, to play a casual, pickup game. The expression I know now comes from a "picked ten," a selected team of ten players."

In March 1874, the University of Virginia magazine, in Google Books as The Virginia Spectator, had this observation:

"-The Yale Courant is always quite interesting. It is generally full of news about boating, base ball, & c. We copy from a late number the following:
    The prospects that the coming base-ball season will be a successful one with amateur and professional ball-players seem very encouraging. Up to the present time seven first-class professional teams have entered the lists to compete for the whip pennant. The much talked of Connecticut "ten" will probably do so at the next meeting of the Professional Association. The new rule, which constitutes ten men and ten innings the legal game, is received with little favor by unprofessional players in this vicinity, and there exist serious doubts of its adoption by the Amateur Association, notwithstanding the efforts which will be made in its behalf by all the prominent sporting papers in this city. It is now settled beyond dispute that the Athletics, of Philadelphia, and the Red Stockings, of Boston, will play a series of championship games in England, Mr. Alexander Spaulding [sic] having already been sent over to make all the preparations necessary to a successful debut of our national game in that country. The struggle for the professional championship promises to be a very lively one. At present the prospects of the whip pennant ever being held in New York or Brooklyn are very slim, neither city being able to raise a stock organization, though New York will be represented by a team, which will be partially run on the stock principle. The following is a list of the salaried paid by some of the more prominent stock organizations this season: (the article lists players for several teams, with salary. I will note one of interest, Fergy Malone, of the Chicago team, was highest paid at $2,200. He died in Seattle, a Special Customs inspector around age 70, in January 1905. He'd been out drinking all night, and died around 4 a.m. in a cab while the driver and a fellow inspector were in bar. His body was shipped back to Philadelphia where it was given a burial.)

Continuing, in Peter Morris' Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan, he states the Jackson Mutuals voted down implementing ten men, ten innings.

The most extensive coverage, at least of Chadwick's arguments, which have been well known and the purpose of my exercise here is to find scores, accounts of the games more particularly, lineups to see who played, etc, is in Andrew J. Schiff's The Father of Baseball: A Biography of Henry Chadwick. He elaborates the winter of Chadwick's discontent and the eventual defeat of the concept and how it was representative of the game moving away from Chadwick's influence.

Okay, now, have come across another one...

September 22, 1863, New York Clipper, Excelsiors v Knickerbockers (like baseball royalty you know?). Chadwick was the scorer for this game, so another clue. However, like the other early versions, this is 10 men, 9 innings. Which I now have two box scores of.





Saturday, December 23, 2017

Game 37, Seattle Returns to the Winning Column with the arm of Wheezer Dell

Wheezer Dell vs Walter Mails. Wheezer Dell would throw over 1,400 innings for Vernon over 4 PCL seasons later in the decade. His minor league career lasted from 1909 to 1926, with a brief respite for the Brooklyn team of the National League in the mid-Teens.
Walter Mails was also on those teams, along with George Cutshaw (their star 2nd baseman) who was on the Seattle bench for this contest. Duster Mails and Wheezer Dell.


Babs B. B. Ladies Orchestra


Game 36, In Which The Indians are Best'd by Peaches Kunz

Earl Dewey Kunz, born Christmas Day in 1898, played for Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, and Seattle in a PCL career that spanned 1920-1930. His time with Seattle was still a couple years away when he beat them on a May day in 1924. Wikipedia identifies his nickname as Pinches, so maybe the columnist is yanking his chain in calling him Peaches. But, Peaches is a more familiar nickname of the time, so maybe Peaches is correct. In this game, Peaches beat Suds Sutherland.


Charles Hollocher, The Saga of

May 15, 1924 Seattle Daily Times

The Tragedy


Game 35, reported May 15, 1924, Seattle moves into tie for 4th place

"FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN FOR INDIANS MOVES THEM HIGHER
Seattle Makes Everything Count, Killefer Takes No Chances, and Acorns Are Beaten 4 to 3."

Seattle's hot hitting continued...


Game 34, Reported May 14, 1924

"FIRST VICTORY OVER OAKLAND CLUB GIVE FANS RIGHT TO HOPE
Earl Baldwin Features Win With Homer Over Left Field Wall With Bases Full-
Hard Hitting Keeps On."

The Seattle club was moving closer to .500 with a victory over Oakland. the march to the Pennant one day closer. Catcher Earl Baldwin brought the power, and Vean Gregg brought the arm.


May 14, 1924 ad for upcoming visit of the ZR-1 Shenandoah, memorialized in The Wreck of the Shenandoah


Chesterfield Ad, Seattle Times, May 14, 1924


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Well

The Mariner's won yesterday. Felix and Kuma are coming back, 2 weeks out. Okay, so awhile since I've posted, I was going to migrate this to a website, but I've realized I will never gain that level of technical competence and just prefer writing.

First, I'll get my post up about my presentation at the 2016 Fred conference at the BBHOF. Other than that, well, that's that.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jacob "Jack" Levy

Jack Levy was an early baseball manager and probably player in Victoria, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington. He came from a family that were Jewish pioneers in New Zealand, Australia, San Francisco, Victoria and Seattle. Below is a modified version of a chapter written by Protoball Digger Mark Brunke that appeared in Distant Replay! Washington's Jewish Sports Heroes, published in 2014 by the Washington State Jewish Historical Society.

Jack Levy has the distinction of being the earliest noted Jewish athlete in Washington that the Washington State Jewish Historical Society has discovered. Levy was an important early organizer and promoter of sports in Seattle. In addition to being president of Seattle's first organized Base Ball Club to play challenge matches, Levy would organize and promote the Seattle Rifle Team in international matches. The team Levy organized for a series of matches with the baseballers of Victoria developed over the following decade into an active semi-professional team. That team, the Seattle Reds, was the nucleus of baseball activity in Puget Sound prior to the advent of professional ball in 1890. Levy's efforts to promote dozens of games throughout the Northwest played a significant role in establishing organized baseball in Seattle.

Benjamin and Esther Levy were among the first Jews to emigrate from London to New Zealand in 1841. By 1848, they had settled in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and had given birth to their son, Jacob. By the early 1870s Jack was living in Seattle doing business at teh Grotto Cigar Stand on Mill Street. [This corrects for the previous version of this information, which was published with an error attributing Jack to Seattle Soda Works, which was run by two of his brothers : In his 20s, Jacob, now known as Jack, and his brother Henry Emanuel were living in the Northwest and had established Levy Brothers' Seattle Soda Works, manufacturing ginger beer, sarsaparilla, and other beverages. Jack Levy also ran the Grotto Cigar Stand on Mill Street and was the correspondent for The British Colonist newspaper in Victoria.]

In 1872, the game of "base ball" is mentioned for the first time in Seattle periodical. The establishment of the Dolly Varden Base Ball Club was announced in the July 11 edition of the Puget Sound Dispatch. Four years later, the newspaper described a challenge issued by a team from Newcastle, seeking to play any other team in the county. Levy is listed on the roster of the Seattle Base Ball Club, which accepted the challenge and beat the Newcastle Miners 51-0.
On May 18, 1877, The British Colonist published Victoria's challenge to the Seattle Base Ball Club to play a game for Queen Victoria's birthday on May 24. The Seattle nine accepted and beat the Victoria Club by a score of 15-7. Joshua P. Davis umpired the game, and like Jack's brother's Aunt Elizabeth, he was a well known leader of Victoria's Jewish community. Davis was also a founding director of the Olympic Base Ball Club of Victoria when it was formed in 1866. Along with the Pioneer Base Ball Club of Portland, these were the first two clubs in the Pacific Northwest to be formed under what were called New York Rules and more properly the rules of the National Association of Base Ball Players.

On June 1, 1877, the Seattle Base Ball Club voted to change its name to the Alki Base Ball Club and elected Jack Levy as its president. At this time, the club consisted of nine players, a president, and a secretary, William Jamieson. Jamieson was a jeweler who, like Levy, had moved to Seattle from Victoria. Jamieson had managed and played baseball in Victoria, and was the organizer of the Dolly Varden club in 1872, though there is no record of them ever playing club or match games.
The members of the Alkis also voted to invite the Victoria Club to a game in Seattle on July 4th, which would also include a rifle match. Seattle beat Victoria by a score of 21-9, but Victoria redeemed itself with a victory in the rifle match. With Levy managing the ball club, the Alkis turned in their best season that year, going undefeated in front of crowds that reached several hundred. Their home games were played in Georgetown, on the field of the Seattle Jockey Club's racecourse.
By 1879, Levy and nearly all his other original Alkis had left the game in Seattle, moving on to businesses in Seattle and Victoria, and one player, Curry Chase, playing at Cornell before becoming a reporter and eventually playing in Wisconsin. The Alkis team lasted only three years, but its players from its final year became the nucleus of a team that played as the Seattle Base Ball Club, continuing the May 24/July 4 home and away rivalry with Victoria through the 1880s. That team became known as the Reds by the mid-1880s, and the Seattle Browns by the late 1880s. Through the last part of the 1880s they were a semi-professional club, but had recruited at least 3 players from California and the Midwest who in addition to baseball worked in local banks and other businesses, some of which were operated by alumni of the Alkis. Finally in 1890, Seattle and clubs from Portland, Tacoma, and Spokane organized the first fully professional league in the Northwest. Victoria had initially been invited to this aggregation, but declined (though Victoria would partake in a league within a few years).

In 1897, Levy's business interests took him north to the Yukon with the Klondike gold rush. He prospected in Dawson and operated businesses there for the next 12 years. His brother and other family members operated a restaurant in Victoria. Levy returned there following injuries in a boating accident, dying a few years later on April 29, 1913.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Game 31, reported Sunday, May 11, 1924

After 31 games, and heading into a usual Sunday double-header that would end the current series with Portland, the Seattle Indians were 13-18. Here's the story and box score of the Saturday affair:



 

1978 Seattle Mariners Spring training

I've recently been working on some audio tapes that an old radio guy gave to our Northwest SABR chapter at a meeting in Oregon last year. Here's a link to a Soundcloud site where I've uploaded them:
https://soundcloud.com/pnw-baseball/sets/seattle-mariners-spring

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Excursion to Port Gamble, reported September 16, 1877

EXCURSION TO PORT GAMBLE

Last Sunday morning the Steamer Nellie got up steam and blew her first whistle at have past four o'clock. Early as it was there were plenty of lights in town. At half past five the boat was to start on her excursion to Port Gamble, and those who intended to participate were already a stir.
The Pacific Base Ball Club were to try their strength with the Unknowns at Gamble. The day was delightfully pleasant. The trip across the placid waters of the Sound was enough to induce any one to get on board, even if they took no interest in B. B. After the usual delays of waiting for the last man and his Mary Jane, the final whistle was blown and we started down the river, a merry crew on pleasure bent.
Quite an accession to our numbers was received at Lowell, all eager to participate. About seven o'clock we reached the mouth of the river, the tide was nearly out. Bare mud flats with nothing to relieve them except a few snags, storks and gulls, the latter so silent and still that snag or bird could hardly be distinguished the one from the other, stretched away on our left; to the right was Priest Point; behind us great reaches of tide marshes, whose waving tale and wild grasses at this season of the year reminds one of the half ripe rice fields of South Carolina, and ahead Hat Island, with its great white sand bluffs crowned with emerald. Between us and deep water, was a serpentine channel, of shallow depth, whose course could be followed by a constant use of the sounding rod. We all expected to be stuck in the mud at every revolution of the wheel. But we listened in vain for the sound of the bell. On we went, twisting and turning as if hunting a sea-serpent, heading to all points of the compass, stirring up the already ruly water, but still edging out towards Hat Island, till all at once the boat headed up Sound, we glided into deep, blue water and were over the bar at as low a stage of water as ever a steamer crossed before.
Many had tumbled out of bed as early, or rather so late for the boat, that they came aboard before breakfast. But no matter. We ask for no better breakfast than the one we all sat down to on board that morning. It is but just to remark, that all the way over and back, everything was done by Capt. Low that could be done, to make the trip a pleasant one. Every one was made to feel at home on board. Not a word of complaint was heard from any one during the day. May many such excursions fall to the lot of the Nellie, before Capt. Charley's hair turns gray.
Before we reached Gamble, the boys in blue, the Pacifics, sat down to a light lunch, preparatory to the contest to take place immediately on their arrival. We were met at the wharf by the Gamble boys, cordially welcomed and courteously entertained.
Port Gamble is a beautiful town site, and will be a beautiful town, years hence, long after the mammoth mills have become silent for want of forests to consume. It being Sunday, the mills were idle. But the presence of several large vessels at the wharves and so large a concourse of people, employed in the harbor trade and manufacture, indicated the immense business of Puget Mill Company. There are several [best] but no very costly residences. The chief beauty of Port Gamble is her fruit and flower gardens with which every home is ornamented. Where such evidences of taste are seen out door, there must be refinement within. If this is not true of Gamble, the town is an exception.
The B. B. Grounds are about one mile from town. A fine road, beautifully shaded, leads out to them. The ground is not as well fitted up as it should be. There is no convenience for spectators. It is not level. The brush is too near, and the deep gulch in rear of the home base is a great draw back. This is no fault of the club. Suitable grounds are hard to be found anywhere. But, if the ground is level, all other objections can be overcome. Well our boys take the hint, and do a little work before fair time. Our ground if put in order, is every way superior to theirs; But as it now stands, the Gamble boys are entitled to more credit than ours; for, if we had spent as much labor on our ground as they have, we should have the best field- but without more work it is not so good. So take of your coats boys and pitch in. It will do you good. You need a little muscular exercise, to prepare you for the championship at the next contest.
At fifteen minutes of twelve o'clock the game commenced, Mr. Shoe, umpire. W. D. Scott and C. Packard scorers, with the Pacifics in the field. The game was as fair and impartial as ever was played, the only advantage being that the Unknowns were at home and familiar with the ground. The umpire and scorers did their duty like perfect gentlemen, showing neither partiality or favoritism. They all three gave perfect satisfaction to the players of both clubs, and won remarks of praise from the spectators. The most perfect order and decorum prevailed during the entire game. Not a word of obscene or profane language was used by either players or spectators. A great many ladies and gentlemen were present and readily expressed their approbation whenever a good play was made by either side.
The Unknowns took the lead at the start. Towards the middle of the game the Pacifics nearly caught up with them, the former being only two talleys ahead. But they steadily gained from them till the close of the game, beating the Pacifics by a score of sixteen. Both clubs showed want of practice. Each club has some excellent players. Specimens of good pitching, batting, catching and running were exhibited by several of the participants during the play. Some difficult flies were skillfully taken, and many good ones missed. Much wild throwing was done on both sides, but we think the Pacifics did much more of it than their opponents. The utmost good feeling prevailed throughout the contest. No question at any time arose that led to any wordy altercation. The umpires' decision seemed to be received by all with satisfaction; and at the close of the game, rousing cheers were giving for both visitors and vanquished, those for the Pacifics, louder than for their conquerors.
After the game, the two clubs, with a few invited guests, repaired to the hotel and sat down to a magnificent banquet provided by the Unknowns. We acknowledge our inability to do justice in words to this tempting bill of fare, although we showed our appreciation at the time in the usual manner. The table contained all the epicure could wish, carefully prepared and in profuse or drinkable abundance. Nothing edible or drinkable was lacking. All traces of the chagrin of their defeat vanished from faces of the Pacifics as they beheld this bountiful repast. The dinner alone, was worth the trip to Gamble; the trip there and back on the Nellie, with the view of the heavens above, the snowy mountains with summits lost in the clouds to be seen in every directions, the mirror like waters of our beautiful inland sea with its borders of green, reflecting the ever changing clouds, the far off mountains and the nearer foliage of evergreen forest, is worth a trip across the continent to behold. And, then, with these beautiful scenes, free to all, to meet with such whole souled fraternal feeling, is enough to make any one willing to be defeated every day in the year. That is the way our boys felt, after parting with the Unknowns, obtaining promise from them to return the visit on October 5th, shaking hands, shouting good bye boys as we left the wharf and waiving handkerchiefs as long as anybody was in sight.
The trip home, mostly by moonlight, was a fit rounding off of a day of unalloyed pleasure.
Crossing from Port Gamble to Skagit Head we had the best view of Mount Rainier we ever beheld. No matter when whether from where seen, this hoary old sentinel of the ages is always grand, magnificent and sublime; but to see it as we saw it then, with the illusion of the waters of the Sound stretching far away, seemingly to the very foot hills at its base, its western visage all aglow with the rays of the setting sun, will photograph a picture on the brain that live will not efface.
It was approaching midnight when we reached the wharf. There was no expression of regret by any participant no signs of fatigue. We believe all hands would have gladly turned back for a repetition of the day's pleasure. We have been a five years resident of the Sound, and have never spent a happier day since we have been here.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2014 Hall of Fame

http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/hof_2014.shtml 


Above is a link to the Hall of Fame ballot for 2014.

Here are my choices:

1. Greg Maddux. This should need no explanation.
2. Edgar Martinez. Just look at the swing. But, if we need to, the key to evaluating players from Martinez' time should be to look at the whole player, as always, but a useful stat would be OPS+. I think a whole view of Martinez shows him to be one of the top 5 or 6 hitters of his time. His weakness is in being a DH, but that is a position on a baseball field for 40 years, so its not really an issue. Martinez was a good enough 3rd baseman. I also offer one more argument: Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro Suzuki will all probably end up in the HOF, Arod will probably have to wait, but still, I would argue that Edgar Martinez was a better hitter than 3 teammates who benefitted greatly from having Martinez in the lineup.
3. Tim Raines. Tim Raines is the second greatest leadoff hitter of modern times, Ichiro Suzuki is third, Charlie Hustle and Lou Brock tied in fourth, Paul Molitor is fifth, Craig Biggio is sixth, Kenny Lofton is seventh. After that you get your variations who shouldn't be in the HOF: Johnny Damon, Brett Butler, Willie Wilson. Then guys who aren't even quite to that edge, but have their own unique, and excellent, just not HOF level, time in at leadoff: Alphonso Soriano (I know, I know), Tony Phillips, Bert Campaneris, Jimmy Rollins. But, c'mon, Tim Raines. The fact is Rickey probably could have been more helpful as a 3 hitter. After all, if you have both Tony Phillips and Rickey Henderson, its not an argument that Rickey is a better leadoff hitter, but what is the best way to arrange the available bats you've got. But, that's kind of stupid of me, because if you've got Rickey Henderson, arguably to me the greatest baseball player ever, you just put him up front and let him play. Anyway, Tim Raines.
4. Alan Trammell. Are the greatest baseball players really all at first base and right field? Of course not.
5. Tom Glavine. Nuff Said.
6. Lee Smith. I think durability is something valuable when we consider the Hall of Fame. The idea to me that Kirby Puckett is a HOFer and Ferris Fain isn't is, well, just wrong.  I think talent is only part of the HOF. A HOF player should have luck, resistance to injury, any number of things, as well as a transcendent level of talent that they use to achieve at a level higher than their contemporaries. Things must be measured in context. Lee Smith is one of the best closers in baseball history. He is also the model that we now have, and one of the reasons for that is Lee Smith. His talent changed the way a game was managed, and that approach, effective because of Smith's talent and willingness to actuate that talent, is now the model across all of baseball.
7. Jack Morris. Here's the rub: who should be in the Hall of Fame: Jack Morris or Curt Schilling? Jack Morris, for now, then Curt Schilling, then Pedro Martinez...., back to the point: pitched one of the great games in baseball history. I have a hard time differentiating that from the rest of his career, that impression colors the entire picture for me. Same with Edgar Martinez. I saw Edgar hit, he was a Hall of Famer. He did that at the conclusion of being, in my opinion, the best pitcher consistently for a decade. This is why my next one is
8. Roger Clemens. Who knows about the drugs. Roger, probably. He was already on the edge, and then BBWAA gives him 4 more Cy Youngs instead of being reporters. If they want to keep him out of the HOF now, I think its a bunch of hypocrisy on their part.
9. Barry Bonds. See Clemens, but the point is 4 MVPs. Lets say Canseco was right, and 80% of the players were using. What you got to see with Bonds was what happens when one of the all time greats, already, decides to use the same tools as a Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmiero. You could not pitch in the strike zone against Bonds anyway, and for a couple of years, it was really must-see-tv. It was the true spectacle of the game.
10. Craig Biggio. Judgment call. Let Bagwell wait another year. I think Biggio was a fantastic player, even with the taint on the clubhouse. My favorite part of Biggio's game was his immense talent at the game itself, put him anywhere on the field, he was a ball player. Also, his way of crowding the plate.

On the cusp: Frank Thomas. He has no steroids taint that I know of, but I say make em all wait a year. Besides, there's a backlog to sort through. But, I can see Thomas going in anyone's place except Maddux. Mike Piazza. I think Piazza and Thomas may get in, but they are just lower on my priority list. Palmiero. Overall, his career is an odd one, just under league leaders during times of specialization, and he didn't do himself any favors in Congress. But, I think one of the stupidest things ever is the idea that players need to be put in on the first ballot. Ridiculous. In fact, what we have developing here is a unique situation not seen since the early ballots, but also it may look like the 1960s. Look at the ballots in the 1960s: Bob Feller, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Joe Medwick, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella. Now that is a Hall of Fame.

Who among the batch of players measures up to that decade of elected? Well, Greg Maddux. If I could get the steroids issue out of my head, Barry Bonds. Lets face it, if Bert Blyleven can be in the HOF, then so can Jack Morris, but if Feller is the measurement?

What I would suggest is that the HOF needs several areas of improvement. For one thing, there needs to be greater parity among the defensive positions. There also needs to be a greater respect for the overall number of games a player plays in. Durability is, I think, the corrective. There have been many players who had an exceptional level of talent, and one thing or another prevents the sustained performance. I also don't think 10 years is a reasonable cut off. See Ferris Fain. Playing  3 games in another year, is that serious consideration for HOF? Well.....no. Yet, it would be. Also, I think "Fame" should be a consideration. There needs to be a certain amount of starpower for players we are considering for contemporary baseball.

Game 29, Seattle's youthful and brillian right hander, weakened in the seventh....


Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Season, again.

Well, the baseball season has come and gone. For the Mariners, the season was an unremarkable one exceptional only in the short between hope and dismay. Of course, it could also be that its potential is only pushed farther out into the future. The team is young, as we are often reminded. Not at young as the little league players the majority of Mariners are not far removed from being, but rather young in terms of unrealized talent, one hopes. One of the major aspects of their potential improvement has been in the overall base production of the team. It is a slowly increasing trend, which still needs improvement in order for the Mariners to become a winning team. Roughly speaking, if the Mariners don't find a way to add 150 runs a year, it doesn't matter if they have five Felix's pitching.

At a certain point, the season was a distraction, if we can call hope such a thing. I do need to get back to transcribing the daily stories of the 1924 Indians. Lately I have been distracted by writing up a 'game biography' of the August 5, 1921 contest between the Phillies and the Pirates at Forbes Field. It was the first game broadcast on the radio. Also, and even more time consuming, has been the research into Pacific Northwest pre-professional baseball.

In regards to that, I think I may have found the Johnny Appleseed of Salish Sea krankdom. The guy I'm on the trail of was given the moniker John C. Keenan. He was from Ireland, born around 1830. He came to the US, eventually, via Texas, possibly being a Ranger, by the age of 20 to 21, he was in the gold fields by 1850. At some point he made his way to Sacramento, having founded one saloon and then another. The Fashion Saloon made money the old fashioned way, the oldest, and also sold alcohol. Probably a good bit of gambling as well. Keenan became involved with the Sutter Course, and presumably a hand in the betting on the races. He was also involved in the Sutter Rifles and when not involved in civil defense, bartending, prostitution, horse racing and gambling...oh, he was also a volunteer fireman.

By 1858, he was going back and forth somehow between Victoria and Sacramento. This can be gathered by reports in the Sacramento papers of Keenan being there, and census data places him in both locations. He was involved in a cricket club in Victoria by 1858, but is playing baseball in Sacramento by 1860. There was organized baseball in Sacramento by late 1858. In fact, there was probably a game in 1851. Finally in 1862, the Fashion Saloon of Victoria was the site of the organization of another cricket club, and then a team made up of players named for the Fashion played a group of cricket players in a game base ball, referred to then as being like rounders. Its a peculiar attribution, which may indicate the writer of such a story was familiar with Chadwick.

That game was in March 1863. The papers mentioned that Keenan provided instruction on the game to the other players, helping in develop their skills. Base ball was played intermittently, often against cricket players, in Victoria after that. In 1866, the Olympic club was organized, "under New York Rules". By then, Keenan had made his way back to San Francisco. In 1864 or 1865, his wife had closed up their business interests in Sacramento and was travelling to Victoria 7 or 8 young women to work at the Victoria Fashion Saloon when they all died in a shipwreck. By around 1868 Keenan had was living in San Francisco and he died. He left a will that wound its way through the court, disputed by a mother and another wife.

More to come.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Game 28, The Seattle Daily Times, May 8, 1924.




The Seattle Daily Times, May 8, 1924.
 
Sometimes I think we live in the age of constant memory. I would say real memory, but I doubt such a thing, and perhaps memory has as many off-white mixes as the salt and pepper beard of a fading man. I recall as a child a photograph being an incredibly and indelibly precious thing. Now I will hand off my digital camera to my kids and let them go crazy. Snap by the hundreds, delete whatever. Each photograph was a memory in another time, a composed action more often proposed than accident. We lived without much of our history, both personally and as a culture, as a result of decisions about what we would pay the expense of photographing and what was less important. What could be left to memory. Often that left behind matter was something that was so commonplace, why would it ever be committed to a photograph? I don't know if having a world where nothing seems to fade is such a good thing. History is obviously important to someone such as myself, and its important in many other respects. But these are always fragments of history, the best memory is nothing better than a half-tone. More likely it is an mp3, with an 11 to 1 compression ratio. It may be harmful, this lack of detail, or at least stagnating, in that we only see history with mostly broad strokes. I love picking through the past and finding these details in the brush marks, finding the dried peels and imagining the orange flesh, and further, imagining the sun under which it grew.

I also am amazed at how much we forget over time. Having transcribed many newspaper accounts of that appeared in newspapers from 1866 to just prior to World War II, I find it interesting to see how much of our modern language appears in the old news accounts, and at which times it appears. As one goes further into the daily past, the language changes, as you would expect. I think most of us think of the 1920s or the 1880s as a long time ago, and in a way it is, as thirty thousand yesterdays should be. After all, just imagine, fully, yesterday. But it is also merely the age of our grandparents or their own. In a way, this mystery is due to a lack of detail, and to truly tell a tale of any moment from history would require the immense connection of history. After all, again, imagine yourself today and your own connection to the world events of today. Today may be insignificant, or perhaps it may have an important moment that will be caught in the broad stroke of a later storyteller, a December 7, a September 11, but imagine the immensity of your today and how it dissipates in the flow of history, yet how important your own breath is to this very moment. Every aspect of history that is touched upon broadly is made up equally of such details. A death in World War 1, a man coughing from a 1917 gassing in 1924 as he sits in the Spring sun after a day shift, watching a double play. He is there, in the untold parts of the story, or on a train to Canada. That lack of detail also allows us to define that past, which is both bad and good. It is bad in that we will necessarily produce a definition that is different from a complete truth of accuracy, but we try to illuminate truth, maybe through an exegesis, or even an illumination of nothing related actuality. Especially as we examine a society that wasn't concerned with its history or was only beginning to really understand it was engaging in history. Now we have one that is obsessed with its daily archive. Its good in that we must always work on redefining what the past means to us, especially as we come to know it better.

The Seattle Indians played their 28th game of 1924 on May 7th, 1924 and the game was reported on May 8th. Forty years later, to the day, my older brother would be born on May 8th, and forty-eight and a half years from then we would have today. Thus, in the slightly off kilter numerical tendencies all far too avid baseball fans tend to auger into, a boy of eight years old who played on his school team, and also avidly followed the local pro team, in 1924, would be 48 in 1964. It is highly likely that if you found the right person, he could recall being at Dugdale Field the day he saw the beloved Indians get 17 hits. He could have been sitting with his 48 year old father, who could tell him about the day in 1884 he saw the local semi-pro team, since in 1884 Seattle didn't have fully professional baseball yet. So, what I mean is, it is a short chain of events really. A small amount of separation between us and the larger historical past that these events occur within. As a whole Earth, an amazing amount of things have gone on since 1924, but there's a slight chance there is someone somewhere who could still describe to youwhat it was like to be at a baseball game early May, 90 years ago.

I thought with this posting I would look at the larger picture of society illuminated by abstracted elements within the sports page of a given day. Here we have two teams made up of players drawn from across the country, half of whom have associations with other players and teams that can drawn you back into the earliest history of the game and the nation if you go down such a path. We have Mickey Cochrane as a young man for Portland coming in to play center field. Jim Bagby of Seattle was only a few years removed from winning a World Series. Most of the players would never see such a thing. Yet, on the same day, this baseball game was more than the one game in town.

In the same sports, naturally further down, we see the results of the grade school leagues. Many of these schools have long since dissappeared. But what this shows us is the value this particular social activity had in its community. The papers of the time were filled with each and every league. When you look across the breadth of activity, you get an idea of why baseball lived up to its reputation as the National Pasttime. From the grade schools to the high schools, organized baseball provided an outlet and activity. Kids would learn the game as it was taught then. Once they were out of school, only a few would go to college. The University of Washington had at least an unofficial 'University Nine' as early as 1880. Nonetheless, college was not the typical destination for most kids. Being good at baseball would, however, get you a better job, and better shifts on that job. If your future was as a coal miner, and you could play centerfield like nobody's business, then you got the early shifts, and the safer ones. If you were a kid in the city, and had starred in high school, you could make your way through any one of a number of semi-pro teams, and get a decent, well-paying job and a future. If Supply Laundry wanted to keep winning, they would actively recruit, and find those recruits jobs. Same with other businesses.

As we see when looking at the grade schools, their season was just closing, but the Commercial League season was in its nascent stages for the year. At this time and earlier, many of the greatest players would get their starts in these amatuer and semi-pro leagues, especially if they needed development beyond high school or were not lucky enough to play college baseball. A young Earl Averill, who has been to spring training to start this season, was found lacking by manager Wade Killefer. Averill was already 22 years old, and made his way back to Everett. It was another two years of semi-pro ball before he made his way to the San Francisco Seals, and another five before he hit Cleveland on his way to the Hall of Fame. Part of me always wonders what could have happened if he'd had a chance on the 1924 Indians. I think that also says something for the general quality of baseball across the semi-pro and minor leagues of the west. There were many PCL players who moved right into the majors and excelled. Anyway, the semi-pro's. Seattle's Commercial League teams actually played integrated baseball at the time. Maybe not on their teams, but with absolute certainty they had played other teams, such as the Asahi Japanese teams. Seattle had at least one Black baseball team by 1911, and probably further back than that.
 

By the end of the 1920s, Seattle had a Commercial League team that featured top company teams, neighborhood teams, as well as a top notch Japanese team made up of Nisei and Issei players, and a top Black baseball team. Seattle's public schools had always been integrated, so if you look at the rosters on Franklin High School, for instance, in 1919, you'll find Black, Asian, and the variety of White players from assorted backgrounds. Of course, one of the larger points of this blog is that you will not find Indian players, unless you know where to look. Sometimes they would visit, and they would be discernable by their nickname Chief, such as Chief Moses Yellowhorse of Sacramento.

In the Commecial League, we see teams from Ernst Hardware, Northern Life Insurance, Sunset Motors. Other teams are from the YMCA, the Eagles, the Mercer Athletic Club, and Bellevue. Many times such teams would feature a former pro ballplayer, a ringer of sorts. Hard to tell if thats the case with any of these. Most of the semi-pro teams would have two or three really good players, those who weren't quite good enough to make it as a pro, were certainly good enough to get a decent job thanks to their skills on the diamond.

I think one of the ways we can learn about baseball and any other cultural or social phenomenon is to also look at the peripheral information available. Much of history is implied by association rather than directly expressed in an easy to digest fashion. In other words, rarely do you find "the new sport of baseball has come to town and were building a field and here's who is doing it and here's exactly what that means to everyone who cares". Usually its something like the advertisement for a game time, or the comic I've included here. Something like a comic does not need to directly express all of the information it is using to communicate its points. It depends on an existing level of cultural information in order to be humorous. In essence, it is a lot of shorthand. Going back to the 1860s and 1870s, when we first see baseball in the Pacific Northwest, this type of cultural shorthand is what we see when baseball is mentioned, or the Indian Wars are mentioned, or opium dens. The reader was expected to possess enough knowledge that the writer of the article could make a short point while communicating a larger field of information. In other words, the space occupied by the letters was larger depending on the place it was received. This makes sense if you think about the way you interact with a billboard. There is a very short message, an image as well. Its relevance depends on your ability associate that message with another separate given set of information. Its the same with a box score, or a comic about baseball, or a short blurb on an injured player.

 


Thus, when we see a sports page filled with game highlights and box scores from grade schools to colleges and commercial and semi-pro leagues, its pretty easy to do the math and figure the number of people involved. From there we can see that, in a time before radio and television, when most entertainment and sport was something you did with other people outside of the home, that baseball and its myths and permutations formed in such a context. Baseball was not just a game for the major leagues, but rather something that was an indelible part of the fabric of the community. And especially in the West, these communities developed with baseball being already part of the American identity.

 
 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Game 27


Game 27 of the 1924 Season moved the Indians to a record of 11 and 16, a winning percentage of .497. This put them up 1 to 0 for the series with Portland. George Stueland's time in Seattle was the meat in a Cub sandwich. He started with the team managed by Red Killefer's brother Bill in 1921. He went back there for a handful of games in 1925. George was born on March 2, 1899 in Iowa. He died in Onawa, Iowa in 1964. After baseball, he managed a state park and later was a broom maker. Onawa is on the Nebraska border halfway between Sioux City and Omaha. Like many parts of the Pacific Northwest it has a park dedicated to Lewis and Clark. Stueland had pitched in Sioux City in 1920, making his way to Chicago the next September.


EX-CUBHURLER HOLDS BEAVERS AND HITS HARD

Portland Beaten, 3 to 2, in Extra Inning When New Twirler Smacks Two-Bagger to Left
George Stueland, Seattle's blonde twirler obtained from the Chicago Cubs in the Jacobs deal, found the key to his own troubles yesterday, went to the mound against Portland with only three days of rest, not only pitched the Beavers into submission but also paved the way for his own victory with a slashing double to left center in the tenth inning. Billy Lane scored him with the run that gave the Indians a 3 to 2 victory.

Stueland, who isn't backward about figuring things out for himself by any means, found that in the last four or five innings of every game his control was what it should be. Always it was in the early innings that he was prone to walk men who faced him.

So, before he started yesterday's ball game he commenced to warming up when the Seattle infield took its practice. For twenty minutes before the game started he pitched to Catcher Earl Baldwin. And when thegame started he was ready.

Only two men walked on the new twirler. Cox walked the first man up in the second, paving the way for the first Beaver tally.

McCann walked to start the ninth and eventually scored. BUT MCCANN WAS STRUCK OUT FIRST. Umpire Biff Schaller missed as perfect a third strike as was ever thrown.

Along with that all but perfect control Stueland was effective all the way. Six hits were all he allowed. He struck out six men. Distel three times in a row.

The battling Beavers looked puny, indeed, before such great pitching.

* * * *
Bowman Comes Through
Along with Stueland's fine work Elmer Bowman, the big first sacker, must be mentioned.

Bowman hammered a home run in to the left-field bleachers for the first Indian run. It was the first ball hit into the bleachers this season. It was a line drive that fairly whistled its way into the seats.

In addition, Bowman crashed out two hot singles to left field off the curve ball pitching of Buzz Eckert, the star of the Portland staff.

He pulled two weird throws out of the air, one from Stueland and Daly's swinging bunt in the fifth, the other from Tobin on Poole's sacrifice in the seventh.

The big fellow is beginning to look himself now after a poor start.
Red Switches Things
Manager Wade Killefer switched things all around in his endeavor to break up the Indian losing streak.

Jimmy Welsh went to left field in place of Ray Rohwer. Jimmy got two hits and scored the tying run in the ninth inning.

Ted Baldwin, who is hitting around .400, went into fifth place in the batting order, while Sam Crane was dropped from third to seventh, Bowman from fifth to sixth. Welsh went into Crane's niche.
* * * *

Indians Start Weakly

But even with those changes the Indians started as though yesterday's game was going to be a repetition of those other games of last week when nothing went right for them.

Lane opened with a single and advanced on two infield outs. Eldred walked and stole, but Ted Baldwin failed in his first reponsibility in the second clean-up position.

The Beavers got a run in their half of the second through a walk to Cox. Poole's force-out of the Beaver's centerfielder. Wolfer's infield out and Daly's pop fly which fell just out of reach of Brady and Eldred.

Bowman opened the Indian second with a single but on the hit and run play Eckert's pitch was a fast one at Crane's head and Bowman was thrown out stealing.

For three innings Eckert retired the Tribe in order while Stueland was also buzzing along in nice shape, Poole's double with two out in the fourth being the only scare until Cox doubled in the seventh as lead-off man. Stueland put on more steam here, Tobin took care of Poole's sacrifice and Wolfer and Daly were retired on weak rollers to Brady.

Eldred failed in the pinch after a boot and Welsh's single had put two men on for him in the sixth for the Indians. Baldwin was out in the seventh when Bowman connected for the circuit clout which tied the score.
Poor Umpiring Costly

The Tribe would have won the game in the ninth but for that slip of Biff Schaller when he missed a perfect strike on McCann for the third strike. Stueland walked him on the next pitch.

Stueland again bore down, took care of Miller on a fly to Welsh and fanned Cox. He had fooled Poole with two slow curves and on the third pitch elected to try a slow ball. McCann caught him, however, and stole second standing up. Poole singled to right on the next pitch, a line drive on whiche Eldred might have thrown McCann out had he fielded the ball cleanly.

Welsh dropped a double into left field, advanced on Eldred's infield out and scored when Ted Baldwin came through with a single to center. Bowman followed with another long single to left.

The Beavers pulled a smart play to extricate themselves from that difficulty. Eckert bluffed a play at second on Baldwin, whireled and threw to Poole who had nonchalantly slipped behind Bowman. The big first sacker was caught napping.
* * * *

Stueland and Lane Hit.

Stueland and Lane won the game in short order in the tenth. The pitcher came through with a line double to left center and romped home on Lane's single to the same spot.

Perhaps that finish means the jinx is chased and that the Indians will get going in their real stride again.

The Beavers are here without Tex Gressett and Charlie High, two of their left-handed hitting outfielders. Both men have tonsilitis.

Cox and Miller, who are performing in their places, however, are sturdy hitters and good fielders and it can hardly be said that the Beavers are very much weakened.

In Rabbit Benton and Distel they showed Seattle fans two good looking infielders.......

Friday, November 9, 2012

Recent Presentation on 19th Century Base Ball

Here's the Link to the presentation I gave recently. Whew. I will be getting back to the 1924 Seattle Indians this weekend!
Here's a few things that are discussed
















Thursday, October 4, 2012

BBA Awards for 2012

Yay! Its awards time. As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Association, I am presenting my ballot for the American League winners of these awards. A couple of them are really easy.

Connie Mack Award (manager of the year): Bob Melvin
While I think Robin Ventura is a good choice, and certainly as both a Mariners fan and Red Sox hater, I should cast a ballot for former Mariner Bobby Valentine, I have to go with Bob Melvin. It pains me. I didn't think he was given much of a chance here, in Seattle, and its painful to see the A's be so successful year. The way he managed to take that club and juggle it into contention with so many one-run wins, that's managing in my book. That is all about putting people in the right spot at the right time, and keeping a giant sack of egos focused on one goal when they all have other agendas. Hats off to Bob Melvin.

Willie Mays Award (rookie of the year): Let's see, who could possibly be Rookie of the Year? Oh, yeah. I had told all my friends into fantasy sports to draft Mike Trout. I thought the Angels would play him, and I felt he had a chance to have a really good year in that lineup. Of course, he blew up just as Pujols came back to form. I think that was May 7. But Trout, wow. Even if I don't like WAR, the fact that he has one over 9, at 10.7 in the end, as a rookie, or at all, is astounding. He's just a spectacular ball player. He's got a bright future, but if Trout doesn't cut out/down the K's, he's in for a sophomore slump. If he does get more control of that, look for his OPS to climb over 1 next year and for him to move down the lineup in 2 years. As Pujols fades, Trout and Trumbo make a productive 3 and 4 holes for years to come.

Goose Gossage Award (top reliever): Boone Logan
Now, I know the obvious choice is Jim Johnson, and I'm pretty sure he'll win. I was also thinking Balfour deserves consideration, so does Soriano. In fact, there are better setup guys, and one's who had a better year. This may be the only vote Logan ever gets for anything. But, I think we need to start recognize middle relief and setup for the contributions it makes to the game. Consider this vote to be in that direction. Logan appeared in 80 games, winning 7, losing 2, and got 1 save in 4 opportunities, with 3 blown saves. He usually came in during the 7th inning, had 64 runners on base when he got there, and only 23% came in to score. Logan had 23 holds. Nothing glamorous, just solid pitching. But the number that sticks out to me is the large number of games and the number of runners on base. Other good ones I considered like Benoit and Thornton didn't have nearly that number of runners on base when they came in. Logan was putting out fires all year.  There is the obvious argument against making this gesture, that if he were better, he would be closing. I think that misses the point. He's not the closer, Soriano is, well, he's the placeholder really.  Either way, it doesn't matter,  lets evaluate the  pitcher based on effectiveness at function, and the importance of that function within the system that is the pitching staff. Starter and Relievers. If you have a pitcher who is highly effective at coming in the game with runners on and shutting that down, that is as valuable as a closer who starts the ninth and finishes the job. Really, it takes a whole staff anymore, and the setup guys are as important as the closer and starter anymore. Logan was highly effective at keeping the Yankees in games they were on their way to losing. This is very much a paradoxical, quizzical pick. The kind one makes to start an argument. Was Johnson better as a closer than Logan was as a setup man?  I wouldn't argue Logan is a better pitcher, or ever will be. What I will say is Logan had a difficult job, and did it very well. The key here is the large number of games he had a presence in. 80. 45 of the them the Yankees won. In 55 games he pitched on 1 or fewer days rest. He only gave up runs in 16 appearances. I did not take ERA into consideration here. I simply looked at the reliever as a binary form of success, yay or nay. What I see is a pitcher who came into 42 games with runners already on base, and he kept his team in a position to win, and then handed the ball over to the next guy.

Walter Johnson Award (Cy Young): David Price
 22 starts with 7 innings or more pitched and 3 runs or less earned.

Stan Musial Award (MVP): Miguel Cabrera
So the big choice here: do we go with Cabrera's Triple Crown, or take Trout because of his amazing performance in more advanced stats. For me, its easy. Cabrera moved so Fielder could be signed, and whatever he gave up by being at 3rd, he more than made up for at the plate, and yes, he won the Triple Crown. Clubhouse guy giving up his position, and frankly, he did better than expected at 3rd. Now, the Triple Crown. Its more real than the Neuheisel Northwest Championship. Like it or not, baseball is by nature a nostalgia machine. The Triple Crown does mean something. You go to the ballpark, people know what it means, and that counts for something. Fans connect to that. And the history. Look at the names. More than anything this year, this year will always be remembered for Cabrera. That Cabrera did this in the American League is even more amazing. He's a great hitter, and furthermore, where is Detroit without him? Who knows, you can't know. But what you can know is that Cabrera got on base and drove in runs. Really, the two guys are neck and neck, back and forth across various stats. But what I think gives Cabrera the real edge is the number of games in which he contributed to a win. Not a WAR number, but just look at the actual number of games each player was involved in that led to a win. Then look at the total number of games in the year that they actually made an offensive contribution towards.


For me, an important factor in evaluating a player is how many games they actually contribute to offensively, starting with getting to first, next getting a run in any way across the plate. Its a key number, because I like to see the best players contributing to the most games in a season. Is a .400 hitter good if he plays half the games? Well, only if you have him for the right half. Jeter led the AL this year, getting to first base in 146 games, followed by Fielder with 144. Adam Jones was at 141. Cabrera was in the top 10, at 136, Trout is further down the list at 123. Now, this award is for the Most Valuable Player, so I think every game in which you do not contribute should somehow not count towards a positive valuation. I'm sorry, but if you are in less than 75% of your team's games, I don't care how good you are, you're not showing up 25% of the time. If it doesn't, then Mazeroski is the greatest ball player of all time, and Ruth should be remembered for a failed attempt at stealing. The grind matters. Not being there matters. It doesn't matter if its out of your control, being there matters. Yes, that does mean there's only 22 guys in the AL who I would even consider qualified then, but that's life. Its the MVP award after all, it should be a little selective. Of those folks, Cabrera is 2nd in Times On Base with Error included, 1st in Batting Average, 3rd in OBP, 1st in SLG, and first in OPS. First in RBI's. He got on base more than anyone, and he drove in the people he found there as well. More than anyone else. And he had that high level of productivity across a greater number of games than the other people one could consider. Here's a link to the people I considered for this award: http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/1GGra