About Me

I am a long time baseball fan who became interesting in documenting the "missing" batter strikeouts a few years back as an outgrowth of my interest in the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Grew up w/ the Big Red Machine. I now follow them and my new hometown, Detroit Tigers. Member of SABR off and on since 1979.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

1910 Nap Lajoie and Intentional BB's

A couple of years ago, when I was going through the 1910 Philadelphia Evening Telegraph as part of my batter strikeout research, I started noticing many references to the intentional passing of Napoleon Lajoie in the play-by-play accounts.   Further looking at Lajoie's career stats shows that the 1910 season stands out as an aberration in regards to his walk totals - he had 60, his next most was 47, while most were in the 30's.

I made a mental note that I should sometime look into this.

Well, recently I was in a discussion on one of the Tigers message boards and it was suggested that I do some research on intentional bb's and that triggered me to take a second look at the 1910 Lajoie season (thanks Lee Panas).

What I am looking for in my research is keywords such as "intentionally" or "purposely" passed.   Now I understand that true Intentional Walks as they are perceived nowadays - with the catcher stepping out, may not have existed (not up on my IBB history) and that these IBB's could well be defined as "pitching around" rather than true IBB's, the fact that the newspaper verbiage is explicit is leading me to define them as IBB's for this study.

In addition to my Lajoie research, I hope to make observations of other players that have similar play-by-play verbiage to frame my Lajoie research.

I have just restarted my research and have gone through the following newspapers:

Philadelphia Evening Telegraph (play-by-play - pbp)
Chicago Tribune
Boston Globe
Washington Post
St. Louis Republic
St. Louis Globe Democrat
Detroit Times (pbp)
New York Evening World (pbp) (no pbp in August/Sept)
New York Evening Telegram  (pbp) (no pbp in August)

The big ones I still need to do are the hometown papers (via GeneologyBank.com):

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cleveland Leader

also:
Philadelphia Inquirer
New York Times
Boston Herald
New York Herald
Washington Times

There may be another Chicago paper I need to check - need to check my notes for which ones to look at (hopefully with some help from my Chicago friends).

I am sure I am missing a few other papers I should/need to check.

So far, I have found 21 occurrences of IBB's of the 47 walks I have found. 

One thing that I am making sure I am doing is cross-checking each game/walk across multiple sources to see if there is confirmation.  If there is not confirmation, it does not necessarily.

Once I get all of my data, I will publishing a detailed account of my findings.
As part of it, I also plan on framing the IBB data around the infamous Cobb/Lajoie batting race.
Will need to look at Cobb's game data as well.

If anyone has any additional resources or research, I would appreciate it.

Thanks again for reading my posts.

JF

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mt Clemens Ballplayer rehab - the research begins!

Well, I started in in earnest on my Mt. Clemens - Baseball Rehab research a couple of weeks ago.


I did a search of the term "clemens" in the "Sporting Life" archives at the LA84 site and got 60 pages of hits.

I tried a similar search in "The Sporting News", but as many have already known or found out, the search feature in The Paper of Record scans is poor and after going through a couple of pages of results, I found about 90% false finds.  I may go back and go though it again, but for now I am going to pass.
As for searching other newspapers, I am not sure how well that is going to go.  Searching for "Clemens" in this era in a non-sporting paper is going to get me alot of Samuel Clemens citings, which although he may well have gone to Mt. Clemens himself, is not going to do me much good.
When I expanded the search to "Mt Clemens" or "Mount Clemens", I get alot of folks coming or going to Mt. Clemens and other stories related to Mt. Clemens.   I could go down that search path, but I am not sure I want to spend that much time looking for those needles in the haystack.

In the meantime, I trekked over to Mt. Clemens, about a 45 minute drive East of where I live to do some "reconnaissance" on what materials and people there might be of help.

I first went to the Mt. Clemens Library and was directed to their research room and talked with one of their volunteers (Dennis) and he directed me to their microfilm, primarily a newspaper called the Mt. Clemens Monitor.  This paper was one of the precursors (is this the right word) to the current day Macomb Daily.   Unfortunately, it has not been scanned, and will require quite a bit of scanning/staring to gain any useful info.  I did look at some pages of 1904 just to get a feel for the day to day (or was it week to week) content of the paper to see if there was any types of typical information I could look for when I dove in in earnest.   One possible area is a section which documents visitors to the various bathhouses for a given week.   These may well be just listing those people whose social standing made it "important" to be documented as being there.   I have noticed over the years of my various research that in that era (late 19th/early 20th), it was typical of local papers to have a social section which documented people either visiting the city or locals going to visit another locale.   Seems rather quaint nowadays for a local paper (at least in the bigger cities), but was quite normal at the time.

Anyway, the one in the Monitor lists the visitors by bathhouse/spa/resort and as I found out from conversations with a couple of the Mt Clemens Historical Society folks, where and which spa you stayed at said alot about your social standing.

Since my visit to Mt. Clemens, I have gotten through the 60 search pages from Sporting Life and have saved off the pertinent pages.   I have about 110 citings currently, some are in essence multiple citings of the same player making the same visit (e.g.  Going to Mt. Clemens, Back from Mt. Clemens, recovered from last winter's visit, etc.)   Some citings are in regards to anticipated visits, while others are about being there for a given time period, and, of course, some are after they came back from there.

What I am thinking about doing is taking the SL citings and their dates and cross-checking those against similar dates in the Monitor to see if I can identify which spa/bathhouse each player stayed at.
Could be a longshot, depending on whether the newspapers writers/editors deemed the individual ball player "worthy"  of inclusion in their weekly rosters.   We'll see.

In the meantime, I am starting to give some thought on how I am planning on framing the research article.   Here are some of my initial thinking:

1.  Mineral Baths in the late 19th/early 20th and their recuperative powers - a history of the evolution including other prominent Mineral Springs in the US (and if earlier, outside of the US) including Hot Springs, Sulphur Springs, French Lick, etc.   

2.  Ballplayers and the mineral baths in general - Various methods of rehab in the era, Bonesetter Reese (?), Spring Training in Hot Springs, etc.

3.  Mt. Clemens Mineral Springs - a brief history of the rise of "Bath City",  There is some good info on their home page as well as an ebook history in which I downloaded the "Bath Era" section.

4.  Ballplayers and Mt. Clemens  - visits over the years (including Babe Ruth, of course).  I may try to add a "before and after" for each visit to show if the visit improved their malady/performance (not sure what metric, but will be partially playing time as well as a "SABR" metric.  Of course, will include the reason for the visit where it is documented.

5.  The decline of Mineral Baths at Mt. Clemens and all over and the reasons - advances in pharma, Depression, etc.

6.  Summary, conclusions, unanswered questions.


As always, for those who actually do read this blog (besides myself), if you have any thoughts, insight, or comments, they are always welcome.  And thanks for reading.

JF

Monday, May 6, 2013

What I am currently researching - Mt Clemens and Kid Glove

Well, it's time for my biennial (did I spell that right?) posting in my blog, or it at least feels that way.

Anyways, I wanted to document what I have been doing and what I am currently researching - all baseball.

A number of months ago, with a tremendous amount of help from Ed Morton of Philadelphia, I wrote up a bio on William Stecher for the upcoming National Pastime Philadelphia Convention publication.
The article chronicles his life and career, but also shows some of the amateur and professional teams that he was active with during his playing time.   I ran across him in my AA batter k research (and lineup database creation) and was fascinated by his mediocrity and with the Philly convention coming up, I figured I'd give a stab at writing an article around his life and career.   It turned out to be a quite fascinating life and career - a decent amateur player who got a lucky break to get on a horrible team and later, after his career was over, a prominent local politician.   Look forward to my 2nd SABR published article (I was published a few years ago on 1899 Batter K's).  

With that in the rear view mirror (except some minor footnote related revisions), I am slowly starting on my next research projects.

First,  I am looking into baseball players who visited Mt. Clemens, MI for recuperation and rest.   I have off and on over the years of my batter k research ran across mentions of this or that player going to Mt. Clemens to recuperate and wondered what that was about.  Mt. Clemens is a Detroit suburb, Northeast of the city and, honestly, I did not know much about it, and had only been there a couple of times for liquid refreshments.   It's probably about 30 miles from me as I live in the northwest suburbs and don''t tend to go to "that side of town".  What I started to find out was that Mt. Clemens was a mineral bath spa for a number of years from the mid/late 1800's into the early/mid 1900's.

So far, I am churning my way through Sporting Life key word searches of "Clemens" to find occurrences of players, umpires, and management making the sojourn.   I have quite a few so far.
I did venture out to Mt Clemens a couple of weeks ago to do some "reconnaissance" on local sources on the baths and local paper sources.   Interestingly, no one has written a book exclusively on the history of the baths.  There are some nice books and online sources that have summaries of the "Bath Era", so I have some nice resources on background when I put together that aspect of the article.

Stay tuned and if anyone out there has run across a Mt. Clemens visit in your own research, I would be most grateful if you could share it with me.   I plan on posting a APB as soon as I get done with my Sporting Life research on the 19th Century and Deadball lists (maybe SABR-L as well) to garner any info.   Also, I would like to talk with any Hot Springs experts to compare notes and gain any general "mineral springs" history.


A second research project will probably take a bit longer and require more help, if not done by others.

I grew up in Cincinnati in the '70's and I always remember an exhibition game called the "Kid Glove Game" in which we played the Detroit Tigers.   I never knew any of the Tigers who played (they weren't very good at the time) and the game benefited local little org called Knothole (I played little league, but was never even close to good enough for Knothole).  

The Kid Glove game has a history going back to the '40's and still is active, now as a series of 5 regular season games (no more in season exhibitions).   I got a really nice packet from the ED of the Kid Glove org a couple of months ago and may well use it for the intro and interludes as it has a great deal of good info.  I also scanned it and shared it with Chris Eckes and Greg Rhodes of the Red HOF in case they decide to do something around it as an exhibition. 

My research, I was thinking, would be more statistical and game-by-game oriented, very like Greg Rhodes' great "Opening Day" book.   Box scores of each game with contemporary accounts and statistical leaders.  

As I stated, this one will take a little more work as I live in Michigan and most of the contemporary accounts would, of course, reside in Cincinnati.  There are a couple solutions I am playing with, in lieu of me going down there - ProQuest Cincinnati Enquirer pay for article packets and also using the opponent's newspapers to get accounts.  

We'll see where this goes.  If anyone wants to assist me on this or offer suggestions, I would be grateful.

That's all for now.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Some song musings - Mary Hopkin

I have kind of been taking a break from baseball research.   A couple of months ago, with a big help from Ed Morton of Philadelphia, I wrote a article on a 1890 player by the name of William T Stecher, who had a 1 year career of 0-10 and an ERA over 10.   Both of those represent records for a career.
I wrote it to be part of the SABR Philly convention publication coming up in July/August.   Now I have to wait and see if I made the cut.   If I didn't, I figure it will be a good BioProj entry.

While I am contemplating my next baseball writing adventure, either Mt. Clemens, MI and ball players rehabbing there or a game by game history of the Cincinnati Kid Glove game, I have decided to write a little bit about my other "hobby", music.

I have sung in local choirs off and on for a number of years and have been a lover of most forms of music for many moons. 

I have 4745 "items" in my iTunes direectory - needless to say, I have not listened to every track multiple times.   Some of these are from musicals and classical arrangements that I loaded onto iTunes from my CD collection a few years ago.  

I grew up in the '70's and my earliest recollection of music goes back to when I was around 6 or 7.   In fact, I just bought a couple of songs that I remembered from this period.

The first one, Mary Hopkin "Those Were the Days", which got to #2 on the Billboard charts.   Doing a little research (via Wiki and Joel Whitburn), I founs that Hopkin was the first artist to be signed to the fledgling Apple label.   Pretty cool.

This song has always had a great haunting quality to it for me in addition to the story.    I don't remember what show I originally heard/saw this on, but I do remember it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KODZtjOIPg


While I was buying that one, I downloaded her other big hit, "Goodbye".   Again, Her voice was a wonderful haunting sound. 


That's all for today.  I will post other songs and recollections as I can.

Hope you enjoyed the songs.

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