26
May

Scott Fennessy’s 1902 World Series: Chesbro dominates in keystone classic

410px-ChesbroJackOctober 7, 1902

Pittsburgh, PA

The World Series comes to Pennsylvania for this matchup between the Philadelphia Athletics, who after coming up short last year to the Red Sox, and seemingly the perennial favorites who come up short and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates have a lot of “technicals” here. Because I did not get to play 1901-1903 in order the Pirates are technically playing in their third straight World Series and going for their third straight championship after winning in 1901 and 1903.

Pitching is the key to this series. The Pirates have the best staff in all of baseball with 4 A starters, and although he was #3 in the rotation, Jack Chesbro, an A Y starter will get the nod for the buccos. Jack led the NL in victories with 34. Fred Clarke did not adjust his rotation as he was quoted after a 4-1 victory over the Braves in Boston just before the season ended “I’ll put any of my boys against anyone else’s best and still come on top every time” when asked about matchups against either the A’s or the Browns, who were only 4 games out.

Connie Mack and the A’s counter with Rube Waddell. He had his most dominating year yet, going 36-10 with the most strikeouts in baseball with 251.

Chesbro and Waddell are pitching to what one would expect in this game. Jack escapes the first inning with a two out walk and strands the runner on third, and Waddell overcomes yet another error by second baseman Danny Murphy (one of 7 Danny Murphy’s to play in the majors) who was easily one of the worst defenders in the AL this year, but the Pirates come up with nothing and we go to the second with no score.

Lave Cross opens the second with a one hop rocket that nearly tears the glove off of third baseman Tommy Leach’s hand. Tommy drops the ball and the throw to Bransfield at first is late and Tommy gets a tough error. Cross moves to second on a ground out and Monte Cross draws a walk to put runners on first and second with two out, but Waddell fans to end the threat and Chesbro has worked out of trouble for two straight innings, despite allowing no hits.

Waddell dominates in the second by striking out two of the three batters he faced and neither team has a hit so far as we enter the third inning.

Chesbro finally gets a 1-2-3 inning, but this time Waddell struggles. After striking out Claude Ritchey and Chesbro on a series of overpowering fast balls for three straight whiffs in the game Leach hits a grounder that Lave Cross makes a fine grab, but his throw pulls Davis off the bag and is ruled an error. Ginger Beaumont executes a perfect hit and run single the opposite way and runners were on the corner as the deadly Dutchman Honus Wagner came to the plate. Wagner got fooled by a 2-2 curve ball and struck out and we are a third of the way home with no score.

Chesbro seems to have found his groove as he gets another perfect inning in the fourth and the Pirates finally reward him in the bottom frame. Bill Bransfield hits a fly ball deep into the right field corner and gets a one out triple. Clarke orders the infield in from his perch in right, and still clearly not happy he could not get to the ball faster, when catcher John O’Connor hits a frozen rope into the left center alley. O’Connor, who is really slow still manages to slide into third with what seems to be his last breath and gets under Leach’s tag for a run scoring triple.

Alfonzo Davis, who struggled badly this year hits a fly ball to deep center field. Fultz makes a great running catch, but his momentum ensures that there will be no throw and O’Connor scores and the home team now has a two run lead with a great pitcher on the mound. Ritchey hits a grounder and Murphy boots this one too for his second error of the game. You can almost see the veins bulging out of Connie Mack’s neck as he yells his disapproval from the bench. Chesbro strikes out to end the inning, but this looks like enough for another Pittsburgh win at this rate.

Chesbro continues to dominate with another perfect inning, and now has retired 10 straight batters and the A’s are still looking for their first hit of the day after 5 innings. The Pirates waste an opportunity to build on the lead when Leach got a leadoff single and moved to second on a ground out and was still there when Clarke got hit by a fastball right in the ribs, but Bransfield grounded out to end the threat and we go to the sixth with the Pirates on top 2-0.

Dave Fultz hits Chesbro’s first pitch of the inning into center for a clean single and the longest no hit bid in World Series history ends at 5 innings. Dave then steals second and was still there with one out when Jasper Davis hits a grounder up the middle for what looks like an RBI single, but Ritchey makes a great back hand grab, and without planting his feet makes a pivoted throw to first that just beats Davis for the out, although Fultz does move to third. Ralph Seybold hits a grounder right back to the mound for an inning ending play and the A’s are still scoreless.

Jack_O'Connor

John O’Connor

O’Connor, who only hit .220 for the season gets his second straight hit of the day with a single to right on a 1-2 changeup. Waddell would regret the decision to go off speed as Davis, who was even worse at .213 slips a grounder just past Murphy for a single to right that allows O’Connor to take third. Davis then takes off on the very next pitch to Chesbro and with a head first slide steals second, with O’Connor holding at third. Ritchey then hits a fly ball to medium center field, and O’Connor slides in safely on the sacrifice fly and the Pirates now lead 3-0. Chesbro draws a walk, but after Mack visits the mound Waddell retires the side.

After two quick outs Murphy gets a single to left, but is stranded as the Pirates continue to dominate, but Waddell seems to have taken Connie Mack’s advice and go almost exclusively with hard stuff as the Pirates go quietly in the bottom of the 7th.

Chesbro would retire the final 7 batters in order, and Pittsburgh came up short in the bottom of the 8th when O’Connor, who clearly seems to be enjoying his first time in the limelight gets a double to lead off the inning, but got a little too cocky, as he tried to score from second with one out on a single to center by Ritchey, and Ginger Beaumont’s throw was a beauty and he was out easily. The final score was 3-0 Pirates with Waddell taking the loss with 3 runs on 8 hits and 8 strikeouts, while Chesbro allows just two hits and the Pirates take a 1-0 lead.

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17
May

Weird Card Wednesday: 1908 Johnny Kling

kling

Ken Schulz sent this 1908 Johnny Kling card in a while ago.  I had it tagged as a Weird card but it took me a few seconds to figure out what was so strange about it.  Can you?

According to SABR’s bio of Kling, he was called “Noisy” because of his on the field chattering.  It’s worth noting that Kling has three 31s (and only one 13) on this card (that’s not the weird thing). 

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Kling has a 22-0 in the second column.  He doesn’t deserve four zeroes so he should get a 22-7 with either a 1 or a 2 in the second column. 

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | 5 comments

16
May

Monster Card Monday: 1974 Sadaharu Oh

"I got more hits than Sadaharu Oh." …  -Beastie Boys

74 oh

Shawn Baier thought that since his 76th birthday is coming up, Sadaharu Oh would be a good choice for Monster Monday.  Shawn submits this custom 1974 Oh card.  Look at all the 14s!! 

Oh hit 49 of his 868 career homeruns in 1974.  With that, he drove in 107 runs and scored 105.  He batted .332 with a .761 slugging percentage.  Most impressive, he notched a .532 OBP for the Yomiuri Giants. 

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
1974 130 553 385 105 128 18 0 49 107 1 5 158 44 .332 .532 .761
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/16/2016.

 

Sadaharu Oh is like Ted Williams on overdrive!  Power, average, AND walks.  And just like, Williams, you just don’t realize how well he hits from his APBA card.  He has a 55-8 but nine 14s. 

Fun numbers:  33-1, 22-5, 21-14

If you haven’t ever seen Sadaharu Oh’s stats for his 22 seasons, it’s worth a look.  Quite a hitter. 

Again, this is NOT an official APBA card but maybe this is a market APBA might want to consider.  Thanks, Shawn!!

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | 6 comments

14
May

Scott Fennessy’s 1902 NL Update

I remember back when I got the cards and started setting up the lineups I thought three things immediately. “wow, the Pirates are going to dominate ALL”, “what happened to the Phillies good players” and “man the Cardinals sure do stink” (I actually said something worse, but Tom runs a family site).

                                                W-L         PCT.

Pittsburgh Pirates               97-43     .693

Brooklyn Dodgers                81-59     .579

Boston Braves                       80-60     .571

Chicago Cubs                        77-63     .550

Cincinnati Reds                     70-70     .500

Philadelphia Phillies            56-84     .400

New York Giants                   55-85     .393

St. Louis Cardinals                52-88     .371

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 97-43

Well my first though was right, the Pirates did dominate all, but when I looked online they were actually weaker than their actual finish. WOW. Armed with the best rotation in the game (4 A starters) lots of speed and a lot of hitting for high average this was a team clearly intent on scoring a lot of runs while allowing very few.

The Pirates team batting average was .255, and that was with the bottom of the order providing no help at all. The bench was VERY talented, but all J-4’s so I didn’t get to use them much. Tom Leach stayed healthy for the first time in 4 years and hit a career high 5 homers to go with his .282 average and 53 stolen bases while scoring 100 runs. (also a career highs).

The next three hitters all had three 31’s so despite the caught stealing risks I used hit and run almost constantly. Ginger Beaumont struggled early but still managed to hit .284, but that’s almost a hundred points below his actual average. The main issue for him was results that would have been better without the hit and run, so that’s on me. Ginger stole 48 bases.

Honus Wagner finally had a good season from opening day to close. The Dutchman hit .304, drove in 104 and mashed the ball with authority, totaling 39 doubles, 12 triples and 3 homers. Even singles were bad as he stole 40 bases. Captain Fred Clarke struggled similar to Beaumont, but did post a .294 average with 34 doubles and 6 triples, but had a significant drop in homers with just one. But because of the trio in front of him still had 88 RBI’s. Fred also stole 33 bases.

Bill Bransfield was the heart of the team in April and May and was the only help Wagner had, and was hitting almost .300 through the mid-way point, but with the trio behind him struggling badly pitchers stopped giving him hittable pitches and he stumbled to a .269 average with 23 doubles and 66 RBI’s. He did steal 26 bases though.

John O’Connor is the 4th in a string of catchers the bucco’s auditioned in an attempt to get someone to fill the black hole offensively from that spot. Once again they failed. John hit just .220 and runners ran wild on him. Alfonzo Davis and Claude Ritchey hit well below their actual numbers. Jimmy Sebring and Matt Hopkins were gems on the bench and made Clarke look like a fool for not giving them more time. Sebring hit .396 and Hopkins hit .333.

clip_image002

Pitching was king indeed on this team. They only had 7 men on the staff, but rarely used more than the three starters. The Pitcher of the Year award came down to two men. Staff leader Charles Phillippe and John Chesbro.

 

Charles Phillippe

Charles Phillippe

Phillippe went 33-15 with a 2.35 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and had 5 shutouts. Chesbro was 34-12 with a 2.74 ERA and a surprisingly lower .99 WHIP. The difference was Phillippe allowed fewer runs and went the distance more times than Chesbro, who would give up more home runs. Either way they both had terrific years.

And then there was Jesse Tannehill. A man that threw so hard they called him “Powder”. Because the media was so busy following the other two pitchers, he “quietly” won 29 games and actually had a lower ERA than his more visible teammates at 2.19 and finished 5th in POY voting.

Ed Doheny would have been the number one starter on almost every other team. On the Pirates he was relegated to bullpen duty. He made the most of his very limited action and went 1-1 and 3 for 3 in save opportunities. The rest of the staff was limited to the occasional mop up role on the rare occasion when one of the starters got roughed up.

Brooklyn Dodgers 81-59

The Dodgers were part of a very tight race in the middle of the division and finished second. They had solid pitching and just enough offense to squeeze past the Braves and Cubs.

Pat Dolan struggled at times during the season but still managed a .282 average and stole 55 bases. When he struggled that really hurt as Willie Keeler, arguably the best number two hitter in the league had less opportunities to utilize his 3 31’s.

Keeler thrived as usual in his spot. Hitting .306 with a league leading 44 doubles, combined with his 51 steals provided plenty of RBI opportunities for the middle of the lineup. Hughie Hearne got way more playing time than I wanted, but the roster had limited choices. He actually was acceptable. He hit just .252, but hit 40 doubles and drove in 92.

Jimmy Sheckard was moved down to the number 4 spot to provide protection for Hearne and get more RBI opportunities and he responded better than I expected. Jimmy was among the leaders in most categories and got a fair amount of MVP votes. Jimmy had 55 walks and only 45 strikeouts too, and his batting eye allowed him to get better pitch selection and he hit .270 with 5 homers and stole 31 bases while playing excellent defense in right field.

Charlie Irwin and Bill Dahlen struggled badly at times but both ended up with averages at .250. The bottom of the lineup was truly terrible and that probably cost them some games. Ed Diesel (.285) and John Ward (.333) were solid in pinch hit/reserve roles.

Pitching was what got this team back on track. While the staff struggled at times they were a good group. Several players had very good hitting cards too. Virgil Garvin came over when the Brewers moved to St. Louis and boy what a pick up for Brooklyn. He almost won Pitcher of the Year by going 33-11 with 6 shutouts and a 2.47 ERA. He threw 7 3 hitters, 4 two hitters and two 1 hitters.

Eustace Newton went 23-11, despite going 0 for May. He had moments of brilliance, but would get roughed up bad when he couldn’t locate his fastball and allowed 309 hits. “Wild” Bill Donovan was originally in the three man rotation, but struggled enough to warrant a change and finished with a 5-9 record and a 3.68 ERA.

Donovan’s move to the bullpen paved the way for one of the best seasons I have ever seen for a B starter. Although his won loss record won’t reflect it Frank Kitson had a heck of a year. Despite going 18-15 he went the distance 31 times in 33 starts, had a pair of shutouts, and his ERA was 2.44 and his WHIP was .91. He did have control issues though, as he walked more batters than he struck out, and he had a fairly high 8.25 base runners per 9 innings ratio. The remainder of the staff performed poorly though.

Boston Braves 80-60

Boston had a good year, but finished below their actual 3rd place finish. The biggest issues were the bottom of their lineup. Granted this was a problem league wide, but the Braves lineup just underperformed to state it plainly. Duff Cooley was the table setter, and yet again did a great job. He hit a career high .314 and stole 50 bases. Duff’s only weakness was his power. He had no nomers and while he did hit 9 triples and finished in the top 10 there he only had one zero so pitchers could afford to be around the plate more when he was at bat.

First baseman/Manager Fred Tenney had another solid season. The father of the 3-6-3 DP played superbly at his position again and had a great year at bat. Fred hit .312 with a pair of homers and stole 33 bases and scored 95 times. Gene DeMontreville cooled off somewhat down the stretch, but did hit .278 with 6 of his 44 extra base hits going for three bases. Gene drove in 88 runs despite the lack of runners in scoring position ahead of him (Cooley and Tenney usually had singles)

Lorenzo Gremminger was the bopper in this lineup. Although his batting average was not all that great at .261 he did hit a league leading 8 homers and just missed the century mark at RBI with 98. Pat Carney struggled a lot and hit .244. The rest of the roster was ineffective with the 8-9 hitters barely clearing the Mendoza line and none of the reserves cleared .150.

Vic Willis was the ace of the staff again, going 30-16 and getting several votes for POY. Sporting a 2.55 ERA and tossing 5 shutouts were important as the pitching staff was talented, but not very deep. Charlie Pittinger had a solid year, going 29-16, and would have won 30, but got cold down the stretch losing his final 3 starts. “Togie” kind of underperformed his card, as he was pretty hittable for an A starter, posting a 3.47 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, which allowed teams to stay close and go for the late inning win. Malcolm Eason came over from the Cubs and got his first chance to be in a rotation. He had mixed results. He won 19 games, but was consistently hittable and wild. He had a 3.99 ERA and hit 13 batters. The only reason he was not moved to the bullpen was that the staff was pretty small and he was winning just enough to stay in the rotation.

John Malarkey was solid in relief role and very nearly got into the rotation. He did make two spot starts, going 1-0, and picked up 2 saves as a relief pitcher. He had a 2.99 ERA and a .79 WHIP and was very effective. He was pretty good in my 03 season, but not even carded in 05, so not sure if he got hurt in 04 or not. Fred Klobdanz was very effective for a D, posting a 2.57 ERA, although his manager used him sparingly and in situations where he was not in any real stress. The rest of the staff was horrible with ERA’s over 5.00.

Chicago Cubs 77-63

The Cubs really surprised me. I was not expecting a lot initially. They were brutal in 01, and while I could see the changes in personnel and the building blocks of what would become their dynasty still in the learning stages, so when I finished the season and see they actually finished better than their actual performance I was thrilled and shocked. Especially since the bottom of the lineup was almost nonexistent.

The top of the lineup is where all the action took place, because once you got past the 4 spot it was pretty easy pickings for the pitchers, especially the A’s. Jimmy Slagle set the tone in the leadoff spot. Jimmy didn’t possess any power, but speed and working pitchers was his game and he did it well. Having to battle through injuries, he hit .298 and stole 31 bases. He drew 61 walks while only striking out only 31 times. John Dobbs was solid in the second spot, hitting .276 and also had nagging injuries during the season.

Frank Chance

Frank Chance

Frank Chance and an awesome year and outperformed his card. The “peerless leader” hit .335 with a pair of homers and stole a league high 65 bases and also led the league with 80 walks while striking out only 30 times. He was in the top 10 in almost every category and won his first MVP by only 2 votes.

Johnny Kling was Mr. hot and cold. There were times I considered benching him, and in fact actually gave him a few days off, but the two reserve catchers were so horrible they made Bill Bergen look like Roger Bresnahan. Johnny did recover fairly well and was almost as hot as Chance down the final stretch when the Cubs were actually threatening the Dodgers for second place. He finished with numbers that were somewhat close to his actual mark with a .268 average, and 26 doubles, but only 1 triple. Because the top three were so good at getting on base he drove in 108 RBI (further proof the RBI is more of a team stat than an individual achievement). Despite not being the swiftest player in the league he stole 43 bases. That’s pretty impressive, because while I don’t keep stats he threw out a significant number of runners trying to steal and I would estimate his caught stealing ratio was about 38%.

Dave Jones came over from Milwaukee and was supposed to be a player similar to Slagle and Dobbs; a player with great speed good batting average and solid defense. He provided two of those, but the adjustment to the new league must have thrown him off, because even after a torrid September he only hit .215, compared to his actual .299 season. Joe Tinker struggled mightily as well, hitting just .215, but did finish 10th in the NL with 3 homers. His final dinger of the year was a grand slam off of Reds ace hurler Frank Hahn.

The bench was deep and featured some solid players and some real bums. Few saw any action early, but injuries forced players to be ready and Bill Congalton took the most of his opportunities by hitting .350 while subbing for Dobbs. Rookie Johnny Evers broke into the lineup about the end of July and had some real ups and downs. He struggled with recognizing the strike zone, and was one of the few who had more strikeouts than walks. He hit only .204, but I have a feeling he will be ok.

The rotation was solid, anchored by the highest rated starter in the game John Taylor. John was an A&C starter (the other was Gus Dorner of the Indians, but as a J-4 saw little action) who was also rated at several other positions and had an 11 on his card. For a while I thought he could win POY but because he was not a big power pitcher and chose to work location and set players up for easy outs he finished 5th in the voting. John’s final numbers are solid. A 30-15 record with a 1.86 ERA and .88 WHIP. He also tossed 5 shutouts and 2 1 hitters. Unfortunately as a soft tosser he got around the plate a bit and allowed 253 hits despite his good rating. Let’s face it readers, an 11 or a 1 does not care who is on the mound. Because he had to force hitters off the plate to keep from being hit too hard he ended up beaning 10 batters, and ignited a brutal bean ball war with the Pirates that stretched through all three games and resulted in several players getting ejected and a couple hurt bad enough to be pulled from the game. Thankfully nobody missed any real time, but it’s clear the Pirates see the Cubs as a threat moving forward and wanted to send a message “this is our time”.

John Menefee and Walter Williams were two B starters who had decent years, with Menefee getting 21 victories, but were both inconsistent down the stretch. Carl Lundgren was an A starter, but a J-4 so he was relegated to “closer” status. He picked up a couple of saves, and went 2-1 as a starter in the final month once the Cubs were eliminated from the race, but was surprisingly hittable at times and finished with a very high 4.74 ERA. Jimmy St. Vrain had a 1.73 ERA in limited use.

Cincinnati Reds 70-70

Coming off of one of the worst seasons in my replay history, the Reds made tremendous strides. While they finished below their expected slot they still managed to finish at .500, a huge improvement over their 102 losses the previous year. Cincy really improved the offense, with 5 of the starting 8 hitting .300 or better. Joe Kelley was very versatile, playing 3 positions and hitting .301 and stole 34 bases at the top of the order. Jake Beckley had a great season, hitting .323 with 4 homers and 42 stolen bases. He got a fair amount of MVP votes too. Sam Crawford finished second to Chance in the MVP voting and was the heart of the lineup. He hit .327 and had an .833 OPS and stole 22 bases and drove in 108 runs.

 

sam crawford

Sam Crawford

Jimmy Seymour had another great year, hitting .300 and finished second in the league with 7 homers and drove in 87 runs. Seymour also stole 22 bases. Henry Pietz struggled early but had a great second half and finished with a .305 average. Harry Steinfeldt struggled and hit just .245. The bench scuffled all year and that really hurt as the 8-9 hitters were pretty weak.

The pitching was pretty good, but they gave up a fair amount of runs. The team ERA was 3.77 and gave up a fair amount of homers, while hitting a lot of batters. Frank Hahn, perhaps in his last great season went 22-15, “Silver Bill” Phillips picked up 17 wins, but lost several games late in the year while trying to hold off the Cubs and somewhat disappointed. The remainder of the pitching was really poor.

Philadelphia Phillies 56-84

Unlike the Reds, who saw a massive improvement, the Phillies lost most of their best players in the off season and took a major nose dive. Very few players from the second place 1901 team remain. Roy Thomas is perhaps the softest hitter in the league power wise, but he still hit .284 and was second in the league with 85 walks, and stole 37 bases. Pretty much all you want from a leadoff hitter. Additionally he is one of the best defensive center fielders around. Shad Barry showed great strides from his 1901 season, improving to .296 and led the team with a career high 3 homers. Harry Wolverton stayed healthy all year for once and stole 24 bases, but only hit .255. Hughie Jennings was hurt a lot, but hit .251 in a limited role. Nobody else could be counted on offensively.

In what would be Doc White’s final year with the team he was the ace of the staff again, and despite the lack of help, he went 21-15 with 190 strikeouts and a 3.08 ERA. The rest of the team was pretty bad, and the bullpen had an atrocious ERA nearing 6.00. Jake Fox struggled at times, but compared to his teammates he looked like Bruce Sutter and had the best ERA of the non-starting pitchers at 3.79 and struck out 31 hitters in 68.1 innings.

New York Giants 55-85

Well the good news is that the dynasty is rapidly approaching in New York. The bad news is they still stink. The Giants actually had been in 5th place for a good portion of the year. I couldn’t believe they actually finished in last during the actual season, because you look at the cards they got and think “decent, but not competitive” Only a late season collapse found them in the spot they finished at. Roger Bresnahan struggled through May, but in June he finally began to hit, and ended up with a .272 average and stole 51 bases. Imagine that, a catcher with over 100 stolen bases in two seasons. First baseman Dan McGann came over from the Cardinals and immediately became a star, displacing Terrible Tuesday John Ganzel. Dan hit .296 with 30 stolen bases. He only hit 1 homer, but it was a 3 run game winning shot off of Walter Williams of the Cubs. George Browne was the team’s MVP. “Brownie” hit .327 and got some league MVP consideration as he also stole 34 bases and drove in 73 runners. He also dramatically reduced his walk to strikeouts from over 100 in his previous replay to just 46 in 1902.

christy Mathewson

Christy Mathewson

The pitching was where the Giants somewhat surprising rise came from. Christy Mathewson was an A again, and went 22-15 with a league high 207 strikeouts. He had 5 shutouts (all of them 2 run wins or less) and an ERA of 2.15. It was odd to not have him be the most dominant pitcher in the game, but it’s coming to be sure. Joe McGinnity escaped from Baltimore with John McGraw and Bresnahan and was immediately loved in the big apple. He went 20-16 and had a 2.97 ERA. The beginning of one of the best 1-2 pitcher combos in the NL is off to a good start.

Unfortunately Luther Taylor disappointed greatly. Off to a flying start early in the year he suddenly lost his ability to stop hitters and turned the number three pitcher’s spot into BP for the other team. John Cronin and Bill Kennedy were C starters who fared even worse with ERA’s well over 5.00, and Bob Blewett’s last name was pretty appropriate as he went 0-7 for the year with a 5.93 ERA. John Burke win’s the worst ERA in the league title at 7.19 with a ghastly 1.68 WHIP. Congratulations Johnny!

St. Louis Cardinals 52-88 .371

This was another truly awful redbird club. While the Giants got better cards than their actual finish would have expected, the Cardinals got worse cards then their finish would have expected. George Barclay hit .291 and stole 26 bases. Pat Donovan started slow but got hotter as the season wore on. Fueled largely by a 11 game hitting streak he wound up hitting .323 with 23 bases. Homer Smoot hit .282 with 3 homers, and Roy Brashear got out of the gates like a ball of fire, but struggled badly down the stretch and had to settle for a .274 average. The bottom of the lineup was weak, especially catcher John O’Neill who hit .186, and he was actually better than his backup. Otto Williams hit .333 in a pinch hitting role.

Pitcher Ed Murphy actually led the team in wins with 15, but he was actually the third best rated pitcher at a C. #2 starter Clarence Currie led the staff with a 3.48 mark, and it was all downhill at light speed from here. Chappie McFarland saw a little work in a swing man role and did manage a 2.41 ERA, but was saddled with an 0-5 record. The rest of the team was brutal. Pitcher Mike O’Neill underperformed pretty badly as a starter at a 12-23 mark with a 4.02 ERA, but as a hitter he got a great card. He hit .259 with a pair of homers. I looked him up online and was shocked to discover this was the season he set baseball history. Sent in as a pinch hitter late in a game he was not pitching in he hit was was the first pinch hit grand slam in baseball history. Congratulations indeed Mike O’Neill.

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13
May

League Profile: APBAL

apbalIt’s been a while since we had a League Profile.  Hugh Brown filled out the form and sent me the data on his league simply called APBAL.  

Hugh claims that APBAL is one of the oldest leagues in existence and I certainly can’t dispute that.  APBAL was formed way back in 1960 making it an ancient 56 years old!  They started with dice, boards and cards and then transitioned to BBW in 2010. 

APBAL has documented their history pretty well on their web site.  Take a look.  The site includes highlights on past seasons, champions, records and as I said a brief history of the league.

More info on APBAL:

League Name

APBAL

Contact Person Hugh Brown
League Website http://apbal.com/
Sport Baseball
# of teams 10
Year of inception 1960
Basic/Master/Computer/ Combination Computer
Geographic location Ivins, UT

Hugh says: 

The APBA League was founded in 1960 as a face-to-face baseball league, but switched to the BBW game in 2010.

The vast majority of APBA leagues in existence today have been created in order to replay specific seasons or to afford the league’s managers some player continuity. In contrast to this, the concept of the A.P.B.A.L. is to allow its participants an opportunity to manage a variety of teams against well- balanced competition.

Thanks to Hugh for the history lesson about APBAL!  Really good stuff!

If you want to brag about your league, we’re listening!  Tell us all about the league you are in and The APBA Blog will post a profile about it.  In the meantime, read about other leagues who have written in.

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11
May

Scott Fennessy’s 1902 AL Update

The completion of this season gives me a pretty good chunk of the first decade of “modern baseball” I now have 1901, 02, 03, and 05 in the books. Unlike my other dead ball replays this set was generated just a couple of years ago, so they had much more detailed breakdown of stats, and unlike in the past the pitching was not a set of A rotations, so hitting was more prevalent than in my other replays.

Final Standings

                                                W-L         Pct

Philadelphia A’s                    89-51     .636

St. Louis Browns                   80-60     .571

Cleveland Indians                 78-62     .557

Boston Red Sox                    76-64     .543

Chicago White Sox               69-71     .493

Washington Senators          60-80     .429

Detroit Tigers                        55-94     .407

Baltimore Orioles                 55-84     .396

 

Philadelphia A’s 89-51

After several seasons as the preseason favorite, the A’s FINALLY come through. This was a team that had pretty good balance of pitching and hitting, but still had a couple of holes.

Center fielder Dave Fultz is not the kind of guy that exactly scares you, but he manages to get on just enough to set the table for the powerful middle of the lineup. Dave hit .278 with 9 triples and 33 stolen bases for the year. Tully Hartsel in his first year in the AL hit .274 with 41 steals.

Jasper Davis and Ralph Seybold were the heart of the lineup and the heart of the team as well. Perhaps the most powerful twosome in the league Davis hit .305 with 8 triples, 7 homers and 108 RBI. He also managed 34 steals while playing solid defense at first base.

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Ralph “Socks” Seybold

In the real, 1902 Ralph Seybold set a then record 16 homers. That would stand until the bambino came along and changed the game forever. In my replay he had a solid year and finished with 14 homers to go with a league leading 118 RBI and a .292 average.

Ossee Schreckengost came over from the Red Sox in the off season and in his first real chance as the everyday catcher did a solid job. While Ossee doesn’t really like to take pitches (drawing only 15 walks) he hit .273 with 3 homers and was a huge improvement over Mike Powers.

Luis Castro hit .286 off the bench and had a pinch hit homer in July against the Senators.

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Rube Waddell

Rube Waddell was the most overpowering pitcher in the AL this year and won the coveted Pitcher of the Year award. Finishing at 36-10 with 251 strikeouts and a 2.61 ERA. His only real weaknesses were being too near the plate at times, which resulted in allowing 9 home runs, and 8 hit batsmen.

Teammate Eddie Plank had another solid season, and arguably his best yet. He ended the season with a 30-15 record and a 2.83 ERA. However, the third spot in the rotation was a real soft spot. Bert Husting won 20 games, but he also lost 24. Additionally he was pretty inconsistent. He would follow up a solid 3-1 victory in which he allowed just 7 hits with a 8-1 bombing where he was throwing batting practice.

St. Louis Browns 80-60

The 1901 Cardinals, err 1902 Browns were a big surprise to me. This really was about 70 percent of the 1901 Cardinals team, with only first baseman/outfielder “Honest John” Anderson remaining from the original 1901 Milwaukee Brewers hitters.

John had another solid year, hitting .313 with 3 homers and 99 RBI’s while stealing 14 bases. He had a solid tandem at the top of the order as Charlie Hemphill arrived to hit .299 with 3 homers and stole 40 bases. Sandwiched between these two was the deadly duo of Bobby Wallace who hit .271 with 30 steals while playing gold glove defensively at short, and Jesse Burkett who hit .282 with 34 steals. These two were the heart of the Cardinals offense in 01 so it was no surprise that the top of the Browns lineup was solid indeed.

In fact of the starting 8 position players 4 are former Cardinals, as outfielder Emmett Heidrick hit .293 with 82 RBI’s and second baseman Richard Padden who was on fire and hitting way over his cards ability until a final month slump brought him back to reality and a .252 average.

Of the pitching staff, only Bill Reidy remains from Milwaukee. The implanted pitching was a massive improvement as Francis “Red” Donahue jumped over from the Phillies and won 26 games, while John Powell brought over teammate John Sudhoff (from the Cardinals, of course) who won 23 and 27 games respectively. The bullpen was not needed very often, but when called upon was like pouring gas on a fire as only the afore mentioned Reidy had an ERA under 4. Despite being rated a D, Reidy managed a 2.15 ERA in limited use.

 

Cleveland Indians 78-62

The tribe was armed with perhaps the two best offensive cards in the game and the team actually out did their actual season results. Napoleon Lajoie was the defending MVP and Triple Crown winner in the AL with the A’s in 1901 and rightfully earned a lot of heat by jumping to Cleveland. It bothered him so much he went on to become the first two time MVP and did it back to back to boot.

He won his second straight batting title with a .351 average, hit 5 homers and drove in 64 runs despite batting second all season. He also stole 28 bases.

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While Lajoie won the batting title with relative ease, the MVP race was far closer than one would have expected. Teammate Charlie Hickman used his monster card to near perfection. After escaping the dungeon of NY he promptly hit .336 with 9 homers, 92 RBI’s and stole 13 bases. He finished 1 vote behind Lajoie for the MVP title.

Third baseman Bill Bradley was one of the early greats at third. He really could do it all, but for some reason in my replays he would either constantly get injured or just not get the dice rolls. Finally he overcame these obstacles and he had that breakout season I had hoped for. Finishing 3rd in the MVP race he hit .339 with 8 homers and 89 RBI’s, all career highs.

Elmer Flick completed the quartet of hitting stars by compiling a .319 average with 63 RBI and 25 steals. While center fielder Oliver Pickering played great defensively he was a huge disappointment at the plate, hitting just .224. Shortstop John Gochnaur may have had the worst year at the plate for everyday players, mustering a weak .202 average and killed many rallies. Unfortunately for manager Lajoie there were no better options.

While the hitting was solid for the most part, the pitching was rather suspect. Bill Bernhard came along and posted a solid 29-13 season with a 0.95 WHIP, but after that it all went downhill somewhat quickly. Earl Moore underperformed a lot and finished at 19-21, but did strike out 175. Rookie Addie Joss showed promise with 18 wins, but was done in by the long ball (8 allowed) and a lot of hits. Cleveland fans are hoping for improvement next season. The bullpen was horrific with several hurlers having ERA’s over 5.00 so once you got past the starter it was pretty much over for the tribe.

Boston Red Sox 76-64

The Red Sox underperformed a bit and it showed in the numbers and final standings. Being the only fielding 2 team in the entire league helped a bit, but whenever they would close on St. Louis or Philadelphia they would either manage a split series or lose outright. This allowed Cleveland to sneak in during September by playing the bottom of the league.

Several players hit well for the Sox, so I was a bit confused as to what happened. Pat Dougherty hit .272 with 36 steals, and Chick Stahl had a solid season after a brutal 03 replay. He hit .281 with 31 steals. Buck Freeman had a good year at .290 with 8 homers, but usually did his damage with the bases empty as he only drove in 77 runs.

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Jimmy Collins

Jimmy Collins got his best card ever and had a great year. He hit .296, and finished second in homers to Seybold with 10. He also drove in 93 RBI and had a total of 51 extra base hits while stealing 26 bases. He also provided stellar defense at third.

Shortstop Freddy Parent had another solid season, hitting .296, but had the worst power production of his career, just eking out one homer, a two run shot against the Indians in the early part of the year. Candy LaChance had a huge improvement over his 03 replay as well, hitting .283.

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Cy Young

 

Cy Young struggled early and I think this was a big part of the team’s overall problem, as the rest of the staff underperformed their cards, or were not that good to begin with. Young, however, had a dominating second half and pretty much matched his numbers, finishing at 34-11 and a 2.09 ERA and finished second to Waddell in the Pitcher of the Year voting. Bill Dinneen and George Winter struggled, but Dinneen did manage 21 victories. Nick Altrock did manage 3 saves on the year.

 

Chicago White Sox 69-71

And now we get to the defending AL champions. The pale hose took a pretty bad tumble. Very little remains of their pennant winning roster (tiny as it still is). Ironically 3 members of this team form the core of the 05 Giants championship lineup.

Ed Green jumped from the Cubs to the White Sox and had a decent season. He hit .275 with 68 RBI and 35 steals from the two spot. George Davis hit a .283 and won the team RBI crown by 1 with 89 while stealing 40 bases. Player-Manager Fielder Jones hit a career high .304 while driving in 88 runs and stealing 22 bases.

Sammy Strang clearly liked the number 77. He hit .277 with 77 RBI. Sam Mertes struggled badly at times, but led the team with 49 steals. The rest of the team struggled mightily, because once you got past Mertes and Isbell in the .240 range most of the bench was barely able to crack .200.

Pitching was the key to the World Series trip the year before, and it was the reason they struggled this season. The trio of A starters was reduced to a trio of one B and two C starters. The entire staff consisted of only 6 pitchers. None of them did very much. James “Nixey” Callahan, in what would be his last year in primarily a starting pitchers role eked out a 22-21 record with a 2.53 ERA. Bob Patterson and Calvin Griffith were not horrible, but very inconsistent. The “bullpen” small as it was, was similar to the starters. Not consistent, but I do tip my hat to pitchers George Leitner and James Durham; both were rated as D starters but had ERA’s in the low 2.00’s. Durham was used 25 times, so it was not like I brought him in for a batter or two either.

Washington Senators 60-80

Welcome to another truly bad season in the nation’s capital. Although there were a few good players, they were once again doomed to a lower division finish. Ed Delahanty hit .333 with 5 homers in his first year with the club, and he stole 35 bases too. George Carey took over at first base and hit a respectable .277 with a team high 87 RBI.

Outfielder James Ryan had a terrible first half, but went on a huge tear in the second half with a pair of 10 game hit streaks and finished with a .297 average and 71 RBI. He did seem to strike out a lot though Bill Keister hit .277 and also struggled in the early going. While he hit 3 homers he underperformed his card by a lot in my opinion but seeing how bad the bench was (only 4 reserves) It’s not like he had competition.

Like Chicago, the Senators were not blessed with great pitching. For the third straight replay they get a trio of C starters. Al Orth was the only one with a winning record at 20-19. While none were terrible, nobody ever really dominated. Wyatt Lee was the most interesting of the pitching staff, rated primarily as an outfielder and a DY he never got the chance to play as much as I hoped for, but made the most of his limited time. Going 4-5 with one save and a suprising .97 WHIP he would give me just enough innings in relief to spare the starters from too much abuse, but when I gave him spot starts he struggled. When given spot starts in the field he did manage to hit .255 with a homer though. I think he is a player who if left only on the mound would have been a good starting pitcher. In the seasons where he was only a starter he was rated as a B.

Detroit Tigers 55-94

About a month into the season Detroit was in dead last and I looked at the cards and was confused. I then went online and saw they were actually a pretty bad team. You would not expect that from the cards they received. Eventually they started to play better, but by that time their fate was sealed. Had they played like this all season they probably could have caught Washington and Chicago.

Jimmy Barrett continues a string of steady seasons, hitting .286 with 32 stolen bases. “The Tabasco Kid” Norman Elberfeld (still my favorite nickname of the deadball era, even if it shortened to “Kid” once he went to NY) was again the best overall player. Norman hit .280 with 74 RBI and stole 23 bases while playing a solid shortstop.

Dick Harley was absolutely brutal until about the end of July and did manage to get up to a .257 average, but in the leadoff spot only stealing 19 bases with two 11’s in 1902 is a disgrace. Ervin “Dutch” Beck gets an honorable mention here as he only hit .245 but led the team with 5 homers. Beck is the answer to an important trivia question. “Who hit the first home run in American League history?”

Detroit actually had better pitching than the two teams I felt they should have caught. Ed Siever lived up to his A rating by finishing 20-15 and 2.42 ERA. George Mercer wound up 17-17 after a great July and August run where he went 7-1 to overcome a terrible 0-5 start. George Mullin was the team punching bag, going 10-23 along with his 4.10 ERA pretty much limited the win streaks for certain.

The rest of the staff was absolutely brutal, as every one of them had ERA’s over 5.00. They also had several R rated pitchers and only had two pitchers manage to punch out more than 100 hitters, which had to come into play. On an interesting side note, they turned a triple play against the Browns in September. This gives them a total of three in 6 replays. Not bad.

Baltimore Orioles 55-84

The team’s final season in the majors for 51 years was not very fun. Oddly enough they got much better than expected pitching early, and didn’t commit a lot of errors, despite their fielding 3 rating (in their defense there are only 2 in the entire game that were better)

Unfortunately reality set in, and pitching normed out fairly quickly and the bottom half of the lineup took the season off it seemed. Kip Selbach led the team with a .269 average and tied teammate Jimmy Williams for the team lead in steals with 39. Speaking of Jimmy, he would be the only player to go to New York when the Yankees (then known as the Highlanders) formed in the wake of their going under.

Although their averages were only in the .250 range Herm McFarland and Wilbert Robinson were somewhat productive. Both drove in over 80 runs and stole about 20 bases each.

clip_image010The pitching was their guaranteed ticket to the cellar. Even though advanced metrics drastically reduced the number of A starters in the game this team was cursed with a C, C, D rotation and all the remaining pitchers were also D’s. Lewis Wiltse was the team “leader” with a 16-20 record, but was the victim of many losses where he only allowed a couple of runs, resulting in a surprisingly low 2.80 ERA.

Chris Heismann finished with a 13-18 record and a 4.18 record, but at times looked like he could become an ace in the future. Harry Howell while being rated a D starter was very valuable indeed. Unfortunately he didn’t pitch very well, going 14-17 and underperformed his card, which was why I was always trying to find him a spot.

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9
May

Monster Card Monday: 1935 Joe Medwick

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Pastor Rich Zawadzki can never pass up a chance to send on a good Monster card.  Like this 1935 Joe “Ducky” Medwick card from the set published a couple years ago.

It was Medwick’s fourth year in baseball and he had already established his presence with the St. Louis Cardinals.  He had hit over .300 every season and in the Cardinals’ magical season of 1934, he led the league with 18 triples and drove in 106 runs. 

In 1935, Medwick’s numbers all went up.  Playing every day, he collected 224 hits and hit .353 with 23 homeruns.  More importantly, his 46 doubles and 13 triples helped him drive in 126 runs and score 132. 

Interestingly enough, he didn’t lead the NL in any major category except one… total bases with 365.  He would then lead the NL in TB for three straight years.  Medwick’s 4 year performance between 1935-1938 is probably one of the more under-rated performances by an National League hitter during a span of a few years. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1935 Totals 154 670 634 132 224 46 13 23 126 4 30 59 .353 .386 .576
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/9/2016.

 

Medwick’s 1935 card is a great one, to be sure.  Four power numbers, 1-3-6-6 followed by three juicy 7s and four 8s.  Ducky wasn’t much of a walker so he received two 14s but he didn’t strike out much either so just two 13s.

Here’s the thing… could Ducky have gotten a better card?  Was he cheated out of an even more powerful card? 

I plugged his numbers into Steve Stein’s APBA Card Computer.  Even after I factor in sac hits and HBP, his extra base hits per 36 plate appearances come out to around 4.40.  So technically, if you round down, he should have four power numbers.   However, I could make the argument that Medwick deserves the double column treatment.  If you gave him 1-0-0-0-0 (and most likely a fair amount of singles in the second column, his extra base hits would closely match his actual total. 

Regardless, it’s a fantastic card.  Almost as good as his 1937 card featured here a while back.

Fun numbers:  15-7, 64-9, 35-8

thanks, Pastor Rich!

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | 1 comment

9
May

Monster Card Monday: 1935 Joe Medwick

medwick 35

Pastor Rich Zawadzki can never pass up a chance to send on a good Monster card.  Like this 1935 Joe “Ducky” Medwick card from the set published a couple years ago.

It was Medwick’s fourth year in baseball and he had already established his presence with the St. Louis Cardinals.  He had hit over .300 every season and in the Cardinals’ magical season of 1934, he led the league with 18 triples and drove in 106 runs. 

In 1935, Medwick’s numbers all went up.  Playing every day, he collected 224 hits and hit .353 with 23 homeruns.  More importantly, his 46 doubles and 13 triples helped him drive in 126 runs and score 132. 

Interestingly enough, he didn’t lead the NL in any major category except one… total bases with 365.  He would then lead the NL in TB for three straight years.  Medwick’s 4 year performance between 1935-1938 is probably one of the more under-rated performances by an National League hitter during a span of a few years. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1935 Totals 154 670 634 132 224 46 13 23 126 4 30 59 .353 .386 .576
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/9/2016.

 

Medwick’s 1935 card is a great one, to be sure.  Four power numbers, 1-3-6-6 followed by three juicy 7s and four 8s.  Ducky wasn’t much of a walker so he received two 14s but he didn’t strike out much either so just two 13s.

Here’s the thing… could Ducky have gotten a better card?  Was he cheated out of an even more powerful card? 

I plugged his numbers into Steve Stein’s APBA Card Computer.  Even after I factor in sac hits and HBP, his extra base hits per 36 plate appearances come out to around 4.40.  So technically, if you round down, he should have four power numbers.   However, I could make the argument that Medwick deserves the double column treatment.  If you gave him 1-0-0-0-0 (and most likely a fair amount of singles in the second column, his extra base hits would closely match his actual total. 

Regardless, it’s a fantastic card.  Almost as good as his 1937 card featured here a while back.

Fun numbers:  15-7, 64-9, 35-8

thanks, Pastor Rich!

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3
May

Got a few hours? The TBL Annual is out!

imageThe Transcontinental Baseball League is one of the most well-documented APBA baseball leagues in existence.  With a professional writer like Walter Hunt on the roster, it’s no surprise they put out such good press releases like the newly released 2016 TBL Annual. 

The 2016 TBL Annual is 146 pages long so I’m still reading through it.  With contributions from many TBL managers, it’s full of predictions, previews, and team outlooks.  The content is smart and sometimes even a bit humorous.  Just for fun, I skipped to the end and that is just as entertaining as the beginning. 

You can read the 2016 TBL Annual here. 

The TBL is always a good source of inspiration for how to add a little extra to your league.  Great job, guys!!

Posted by: | Category: League Updates | Tags: , | 3 comments

2
May

Monster Card Monday: 1926 Babe Ruth

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From Eddie Wilbanks comes Babe Ruth’s 1926 APBA card.  Babe has been featured on Monday probably more than anyone (1916, 1920, 1921, 1924, 1927, 1930) but his ‘26 card is more than worthy. 

In 1926, Ruth got back on track after his reputed “Bellyache heard round the world”.  His homers jumped from 25 to a league-best 47 and his average went from .290 to .372.  Pitchers still pitched around him (144 walks, leading the league).  Ruth also led the league with 153 rbis and 139 runs scored.  He even stole eleven bases. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1926 Totals 152 652 495 139 184 30 5 47 153 11 144 76 .372 .516 .737
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/2/2016.

 

As with many of Ruth’s cards, you’ll find a good combination of power, average and on-base.  He has a nice clutch 1-1-4-5-5 power number combination.  In addition, he has two 7s and a 15-10. 

He also has a grand total of eight 14s making his card that much more devastating.  He only has three 13s.  While two are at 46 and 63, you have to search for the other.  He has an odd 52-13. 

Fun numbers:  44-5, 23-14, 21-14

I don’t need to tell you all what the Babe accomplished the next year.  I have written about it though. 

Thanks Eddie!

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