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.

Friday, November 2, 2012

August 31, 1887 - 5 pitchers for New York

As I was going through the 1887 AA games a few months back, I ran across a game that I found a bit unusual for the time period - a team that used 5 different pitchers in a single game.

The date was August 31, 1887 and the setting was Eclipse Park (I), Louisville.   The New York Metropolitans (aka Indians) of Staten Island were playing their 12th game of a Western road trip that had taken them to Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Louisville.  They had gone 1-10 on the roadtrip so far with losing scores such as 4-16, 5-15, 1-10, 8-14, and only the day before, on May 30, a rousing 5-23 loss to the Louisville club they were playing on 31st.  The Metropolitans would finish 44-89 and disappear from the AA and Staten Island.

In that 30th game, Indians pitcher Ed Cushman had gone the distance allowing 27 hits and 6 walks, in addition to the 23 runs (21 earned).   Cushman would have a 4 year career, mostly in the AA, with a 62-81 record.   He would later umpire in the NL (1898, at least).

On the 31st, they took losing to a new level, losing 11-25, using 5 pitchers with Darby O'Brien playing 5 positions.  They gave up 16 hits and 16 phantom hits (remember, this is 1887 when walks were counted as hits)

Here is a copy of the game account & box from the Sept. 1, 1887, New York Herald:

Recreating the lineup and the shifting of the positions results in the following:

Starting lineup (through 1 out in 1st and 7 runs):

1. Hogan rf
2. Radford ss
3. D. O'Brien 1b
4. Jones cf
5. Hankinson 3b
6. Ryan p
7. Donahue c
8. Roseman lf
9. Gerhardt 2b

After Darby O'Brien took over Ryan at pitcher, O'Brien and Ryan swapped positions:

1. Hogan rf
2. Radford ss
3. D. O'Brien p
4. Jones cf
5. Hankinson 3b
6. Ryan 1b
7. Donahue c
8. Roseman lf
9. Gerhardt 2b

O'Brien lasted 3 2/3 innings from my account, pitching through the end of the 4th, allowing 5 runs.  In the 5th, Radford took over, O'Brien swapping positions with Radford, going to ss.

1. Hogan rf
2. Radford p
3. D. O'Brien ss
4. Jones cf
5. Hankinson 3b
6. Ryan 1b
7. Donahue c
8. Roseman lf
9. Gerhardt 2b

Radford, "trying his hand", pitched only the 5th & 6th, allowing 10 runs.   Jones then relieved Radford and pitched the 7th & 8th allowing 2 runs.   Radford went back to ss and O'Brien took over for Jones in cf.
1. Hogan rf
2. Radford ss
3. D. O'Brien cf
4. Jones p
5. Hankinson 3b
6. Ryan 1b
7. Donahue c
8. Roseman lf
9. Gerhardt 2b

And finally, Roseman came in in the 8th and finished out the game, allowing the last of the 25 runs.
Jones went back to cf and O'Brien shifted to his 5th position, taking over for Roseman in lf.

1. Hogan rf
2. Radford ss
3. D. O'Brien lf
4. Jones cf
5. Hankinson 3b
6. Ryan 1b
7. Donahue c
8. Roseman p
9. Gerhardt 2b

Quite typical of the era, players shifted around to replace instead of having a true substitution.   In fact, this was still the era when the opposing manager could dispute a substitute player entering the game (a player faking an injury to get a better pitcher into the game is an example).

I am not sure if this is the most pitchers used in a game up to this time - in the 3 AA seasons that I have researched (1887, 1888, & 1890), this is the most (small sample size).    I would be interested in learning of other occurrences with this many pitchers used and the 5 positions played by O'Brien in the game.

A couple of related notes:

I still (or someone else who would like to be very helpful) need to check the Louisville papers to get some more details. especially on the scoring of Louisville and verification of the the exact point in the game when the switches occurred as well as which O'Brien played.

I need to verify which O'Brien was used in the game. Darby O'Brien is shown in another source as the pitcher, while B-R implies that Tom O'Brien was the pitcher (allowing 5 runs).   The other source has Darby at the other 4 positions as well.  It also has Tom playing his last game on the 27th of August.  Ironically, B-R does not have Tom playing ss, but has Darby playing it (among the many positions that both played that season).  I think it was just a error in loading the database that B-R uses and I will follow up on that avenue.

Also, I need to verify who pitched the 6th inning as from the above newspaper account and B-R innings - The other source indicates the Radford pitched 1 inning after O'Brien (3 2/3) and Ryan (1/3) pitched, sending the game up through the 5th.  The other source shows Jones with 2 innings, but the game description above indicates he "pitched an inning", implying 1 inning.   Hope to find a Louisville (read local) source that can confirm the other source's information.

 If anyone has access to the Louisville papers in KY or in DC at the LOC, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Intentional BB's - did Fielder/Cabrera do something special?

Living up here in Detroit, I have had a chance this season to see quite an enjoyable, albeit frustrating at times, Tigers team.   They did win the AL Central and got to the World Series, which is awesome, but like most all teams, they have you scratching your head during the season.   Part of what makes being a fan so much fun, I guess.

As most folks know, Prince Fielder was added to the team this season w/ a huge long term contract, bringing over his wonderful power to go with his good eye and nice hitting ability (we won't talk about running or fielding here, ok? :) ).

Stories have already been written about how the combination of Fielder and Miguel Cabrera was going to and did form a formidable duo in the middle of the lineup.   This duo did produce as Cabrera batting 3rd, produced a Triple Crown season - .330, 44 HR, 139 RBI, while Prince Fielder, batting 4th, produced a .313, 30, 108 line. 

What has not been talked about too much is the Intentional Walks that they were issued - Fielder, 18 and Cabrera, 17.   This gave them the #1 & #2 positions in the AL. 

This got me thinking as to how often this has occurred in MLB history.   Well, first of all, IBB's have only been "officially" recorded since 1955 (based on what I see in B-R), so I had to limit myself to 1955 to date - no checking on Crawford/Cobb; Ruth/Gehrig, though these and other combos may well have been 1-2 in their leagues.

After going through all of the leader boards from 1955 to present, I found 4 other seasons in which the top 2 players in IBB's were from the same team:

Note - I have not researched the  pitching hand of the pitcher/batter in this research,which can be a  significant factors for a manager in deciding to issue an IBB.

1.   1964 - NY Yankees:  Mickey Mantle (18), Elston Howard (14)

Team finish:  1st in AL

Primary Batting Positions:
Mantle -  4th (109 of 132 starts)
Howard - 7th (56), 5th (40), 6th (32) of 141 starts

Times batting back to back - 54 times

Men on Base:
Mantle: -2-, 9; -23, 5 (-2- means runner on 2nd only, -23, means runners on 2nd & 3rd only)
Howard: -2-, 8 -23, 5
 Batting Position and hitter after on IBB:
 Mantle (18) (.303, 177 OPS+)
4th, Tom Tresh (.246, 105 OPS+, SwHit) - 8 times
4th,  Howard - 8
Howard (14)  (.313, 127 OPS+)
7th, Clete Boyer (.218, 58 OPS+) - 5
5th, Joe Pepitone (.251, 90 OPS+, bats L) - 4 (1 other time w/ EH batting 5th)

Side note -  B-R total shows 12 IBB for Howard, but game logs add it up to 14 - error request has been sent to B-R

About half of Mantle's IBB were followed by a much more inferior hitter in Tresh, while Howard was the next hitter in the same number - some of these may have been matchup walks, but I think that it had mostly to do w/ an open base and a 177 OPS+ staring at the opposing pitcher.
As for Howard, who moved around the lineup a bit, both Boyer and Pepitone definitely represented much lesser threats.   The 54 times that Mantle & Howard hit back-to-back was 2nd in this "survey" to the Cabrera/Fielder combination.

2.  1973 -  SF Giants:  Willie McCovey (25), Dave Rader (23)

Team finish:  3rd in NL West

Primary Batting Positions:
McCovey -  4th, 116 of  116 starts (130 total games)  
Rader- 8th all 135 starts

Times batting back to back - 0

Men on Base:
McCovey: -2-, 10; -23, 9
Rader: -23, 9; -2-, 8; --3, 6

 Batting Position and hitter after on IBB:
 McCovey (25) (.266, 162 OPS+)
4th, Ed Goodson (.302, 112 OPS+, LH) - 15 times
Rader (23 (.229, 84 OPS+)
8th, Pitcher

The first of 2 1-2 IBB leaders in which one of the 2 hitters was the 8th place hitter.   Willie McCovey was IBB'ed a lot in his career, in fact he held the season total record (since 1955) of 45 in 1970 until Barry Bonds came along.   Ed Goodson hit behind him and actually was hitting pretty good for the 1st part of the season.  A young 3b by the name of Dave Kingman also hit behind McCovey on a few occasions and in fact had 5 rbi's on a 3 run homer and 2 run single after 2 IBB's in a May 6th game.
As for Rader, your typical NL #8 hitter - good field, no hit, catcher or ss.

3.  1980 - Montreal Expos:  Warren Cromartie (24), Chris Speier (18)

Team finish:  2nd in NL East

Primary Batting Positions:
Cromartie -  5th, 80; 6th, 45; 7th, 34 of  160 starts 
Speier - 8th, 115 of 122 starts

Times batting back to back - 18 times

Men on Base:
Cromartie: -2-, 16; -23, 5; --3, 4
Speier: -2-, 9; -23, 7
 Batting Position and hitter after on IBB:
Cromartie (24) (.288, 116 OPS+)
6th/5th - Larry Parrish (.254, 104 OPS+) - 11
5th/6th - Gary Carter (.264, 126 OPS+) - 7
Speier (18) (.265, 92 OPS+)
8th, Pitcher

I was very surprised to see Cromartie as the leader in IBB's.   I do remember the name and that was about it (they were all up North in that ugly place called Olympic Stadium).  He had a decent year, but nothing that would shout out IBB!   And look at the hitters behind him, both names that you have heard of.  Granted Parrish's numbers are nothing special, but still.   I did a little more digging on Cromartie and saw that he hit .353 in June and .321 in July, surrounded by mostly sub .270 numbers.  What happened in June & July for Cromartie, I am not sure, but he received half of his 24 IBB's in those 2 months,  He received 9 more in Sept/Oct when he had an OPS of .713.

As for Speier, see Dave Rader above.  Ironically, Speier was on the '73 team w/ McCovey and Rader.  He was IBB'ed 4 times that season.

4.  1988 - Boston Red Sox:  Wade Boggs (18), Mike Greenwell (18)

Team finish:  1st in AL East
Primary Batting Positions:
Boggs -  1st, 91; 3rd, 63 
Greenwell - 4th, 99; 5th, 55 of 158 starts

Times batting back to back - 18 times

Men on Base:
Boggs: -23, 9; -2-, 5; --3, 4
Greenwell: -2-, 11; -23, 4
 Batting Position and hitter after on IBB:
 Boggs (18) (.366, 168 OPS+)
1st - Marty Barrett (.283, 85 OPS+) - 10
3rd - Jim Rice (.264, 102 OPS+) - 4
Greenwell (18) (.325, 160 OPS+) (BL)
4th, Ellis Burks (.294, 132 OPS+) - 12

The Boggs/Greenwell combination represents the best duo OPS+ of the 5 teammates with Boggs at  168 and Greenwell at  160 (2nd and 4th).  Both Boggs and Greenwell sat in 2 different lineup positions during the season. pretty much revolving around Ellis Burks.  Boggs batted 3rd in the lineup for a good deal of the 1st 2 months while Burks was batting 1st.  When Burks switched out of the top spot, Boggs became the primary leadoff hitter, Burks moved down to 5th and shifted Greenwell from 5th to 4th.   Boggs led the AL in IBB's 6 straight seasons from 1987-1992, something that I guess I didn't expect since he is not a "slugger", but when you think about it, Boggs was as dangerous as any slugger if a runner was in scoring position in this time period.  And needless to say, Marty Barrett represented a much smaller threat to the pitcher.   Interestingly a veteran Jim Rice, in his penultimate season was up next after Boggs' IBBs 4 times.  Greenwell raised another type of situation.  He was in his peak season, although he had some other nice seasons and 1 year younger and sophomore player in Burks batted after him.   For those that are familiar with the 1988 Red Sox, they were a solid team all the way through and lead the league in BA, OBA, SLG, OPS+.   In addtion to Boggs and Greenwell, Dwight Evans (136) and Burks (132) had OPS+'s over 130.   Unfortunately, they ran into a superhot A's team and were swept 4 straight in the ALCS.

5.  2012 - Detroit Tigers:  Prince Fielder (18), Miguel Cabrera (17)
Team finish:  1st in AL Central
Primary Batting Positions:
Cabrera -  3rd, 161
Fielder - 4th, 162

Times batting back to back - 161 times

Men on Base:
Cabrera: -2-, 9; --3, 5
Fielder: -2-, 10; -23, 5
 Batting Position and hitter after on IBB:
 Fielder (18) (.313, 152 OPS+) (BL)
4th - Delmon Young (.267, 89 OPS+) - 10
4th - Brennan Boesch (.240, 77 OPS+) - 5
Cabrera (17) (.330, 165 OPS+)
3rd, Fielder - 17

To me, what makes the Cabrera/Fielder feat unique this year is that they batted back-to-back ALL season.   Without looking up the actual numbers, I know that the main reason (if not for all of the occurrences) that Cabrera was IBB'ed, was to set up a lefty-lefty matchup.   Fielder's Lefty-Righty splits seem to bear out the relative wisdom as his slash lines were:

vs. RHP: .328//439/.579 - 1.017
vs. LHP: .289/.363/.445 - .808

Still not bad, but definitely worth the risk to Int walk Cabrera.
BTW, Fielder has been the IBB leader now in both leagues, having led the NL in 2011 w/ 32 IBB's
Cabrera led the AL in IBB's in 2010 w/ also 32.

Not sure, but this may be the only time that 2 teammates have both had 30 IBB seasons on the same team (different seasons of course).  I haven't checked, so if anyone else knows if there are others, please let me know.


One project I would love to explore in the future (unless someone else has already) is the result after the IBB is issued.  Who were the best and worst hitters in that spot;  which managers had the best/worst "luck" w/ issuing an IBB. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Random 1890 AA thoughts

Well, I haven't made the time to post in a little while - summer does that, I suppose.

Anyway, I am slowly plugging my way through the 1890 AA - doing my same thing, entering lineups, retro stuff, and batter k's into my access database.

So far, I have entered the home games for the following teams - Rochester, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Louisville, & am into July with Syracuse.  
For those familiar with base ball in 1890, this was one of those years with 3 "major" leagues, the other being 1884.    As a result, you tend to see a few things that you wouldn't normally.

First, coming from my research in 1887-8, where the cities were ones that I had considered major cities, I lept into the 1890 AA, which played ball in Toledo, Columbus, Syracuse, & Rochester, cities that I don't normally think of as "major league".   In 1889, in fact, Toledo had a good deal of its team on its International League entry, the "Black Pirates";  Syracuse & Rochester were the same.   Brooklyn started the 1890 season with its only AA entry, which was "abandoned" in late August, only to be replaced by Baltimore, which had operated in the Atlantic League.   I am thinking Baltimore may be the last "team" to operate as a minor and major league team in the same season.   Granted, the 1890 Orioles did pick up a number of players from other AA teams, but it was still Billy Barnie's Atl League team (as well as his 1889 AA team).

Why for all of the jumble and use of "minor league" teams - that is pretty apparent - the Players League was added to the mix, which resulted in NL/AA players jumping to the PL and the AA scrambling to have a team.   David Nemec's "Beer and Whisky League" book does a much better job of explaining this all, I am finding it fascinating dealing with players that I had never heard of.   I would be curious to know what percentage of players in the 1890 AA only played that 1 season  (NL & PL as well).   With the minor league fill-ins, it seems like a lot.   I imagine someone could argue if the 1890 AA was really of "Major League" quality or if it really was a mostly a minor league in Major League clothing.  

One thing that I discovered when going through the Louisville games was a wholy different "walk-off" rule than I had ever heard of.
I first ran across this when doing the Louisville home games.  

On April 19, 1890, Louisville scored 2 in the bottom of the 10th to
beat St. Louis 5-3. Louisville did bat last in this
game. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Shinnick singled home
2 runners in the bottom of the 10th with 1 out to win it for the Colonels.
I had never heard of 2 runs in a "sudden death" situation w/ a
non-homer in any era (let alone in this era).  

I posted this to the 19th century Yahoo group and Cliff Blau graciously responded with the following:

The rule at the time was that on a game-winning play such as this,
the game continued until the play was over. I came across one
instance where the defensive team didn't bother to field the ball and
the batter circled the bases for a homer.

The 1889 rules state:

"If the side last at bat in the ninth inning scores the winning run
before the third man is out, the game shall terminate, upon the
return of the ball to the pitcher."

Cliff later noted that the rule must have been changed soon after, because by 1894 it said that the game ended with the "winning run".  I have run across a couple of other occurrences of this, both at Louisville, on April 29 and June 11.  Interesting coincidence that these all occurred in Louisville?  Not sure.

That is all for today.  Hope I can be more diligent on blog entries as I have a ton of stuff to post, but less intiative and skill.  Hope whoever is reading these posts are enjoying them.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

2 or more consecutive team starts - 1887-88 AA

I have been working on batter strikeouts and lineups for the 19th century American Association as a number of previous blog posts have noted.   I have finally got through entering all of my lineups into my Access databases for the 1887 & 1888 seasons.

I still am waiting scans of good deal of home 1887 Louisville games from 3 or 4 Louisville papers from my UK source (who has a full time job too, so I am very patient).  Right now my batter k documented pct for the whole 1887 season is at 79.4% - this is driven primarily by the lack of decent game writeups from the Louisville papers.  I have been having scans made of the Courier-Journal, Times, & Post.  So far, I have scans through the end of May.  Yesterday, I discovered a 4th possible paper, the Commercial.  I am hoping that either the Commercial's coverage is better or that any of the papers coverage picks up in June. :)

While I am waiting on this, as follow-up to my previous post of 2 or more consecutive team starts in the 1897-1912 era, I am posting here similar information on my 2 completed AA seasons.

It serves as an interesting contrast, but also illustrates that even by 1887, the concept of the "iron man" who would pitch multiple consecutive team games was already slowly becoming a myth.  Indeed there are a couple of pitchers who still fit the mold, but overall there was alot less than I anticipated.  Not exactly 4 or 5 man rotations, but more 2-3 man rotations.

As you see below there were 12 occurrences of 3 or more consecutive starts, 2 of those, which I will highlight below,  extended to 4 straight start occurrences.
I will present spreadsheets similar to what I did in the previous blog post:

First, I want to present the overall numbers of consecutive team starts by year:

Year 2 3 4 Grand Total
1887 60 6 1 67
1888 54 6 1 61
Grand Total 114 12 2 128

Quite a difference from the highest total of the latter era, where the greatest total was 34 and that was in the 12 team 1899 NL - a less than 3 average consecutive start occurrences per team.
By contrast, in the 8 team AA, the average is 7-8 per team (the "3" and "4" in the above table are included in the lesser #'s respectively.   As noted, this is to be expected, based on "how the game was played" and managed - smaller rosters, shorter distances, etc.    Interestingly, teams averaged over 6.5 runs per game in 1887, with St. Louis having an amazing 8.2 runs per game.  Cleveland & New York allowed an average of nearly and over 8 runs a game.

If we look at which pitchers contributed to these numbers, we see the following:

2 or more Consecutive Starts

player 1887 1888 Grand Total
Ramsey 15 3 18
Ma Kilroy 10 1 11
Seward 4 6 10
King 1 8 9
Mullane 4 5 9
Bakley 8 8
Porter 3 4 7
E Smith 5 1 6
Caruthers 2 4 6
G Weyhing 4 1 5
Mays 5
P Smith 2 2 4
Hughes 3 3
Hudson 3 3
Crowell 2
Cunningham 2 2
Kirby 1 1
Shaw 1 1
M Morrison 1
Chamberlain 1 1
Weidman 1
Foutz 1
Grand Total 60 54 114

The overall leader for the 2 seasons is Toad Ramsey.   What I discovered in my research is 2 main things about Toad Ramsey -
1.  He liked to drink (Pete Browning, no doubt, was a frequent drinking buddy) which resulted in various fines/suspensions/gone missings.
2.  He struck out a bunch of batters.  In fact, in 1887  he had 7 games where he struck out 10 or more.  3 pitchers were in a distant 2nd (Mike Morrison, Elmer Smith, & Matt Kilroy) with only 2 each.

What struck me more than learning a bunch more about Ramsey was how, the 2 top pitchers, Ramsey & Kilroy,  with the most basically dropped off the face of the earth in 1888.    Pitching 500-600 innings has a tendency to hurt the arm and this tends to show that. 

Granted this is a very limited study, only 2 years, but anyone who would like to add thoughts on this, I would love to hear from you.

The 2 occurrences with 4 consecutive team starts were the following:
Toad Ramsey, Louisville, 1887 - June 23, 24, 26, & 27:

6/23: at Cin - Lost 3-1.  Ramsey allowed 6 hits and 3 "phantom hits" (walks).  He also struck out 6.

6/24: at Cin -Won 10-9, barely surviving as he gave up 3 runs in the top of the 9th.  He allowed 13 hits and a walk.

6/26: at Cin -Won 7-3.  Game was tied at 2-2 thru 6, the Colonels score 4 in the 7th & 1 in th 8th.  Ramsey allows 7 hits & 2 walks while striking out 9.

6/27: at Cin -Won 12-11.  Louisville was up 8-6 going after 7.  Cincinnati scored 2 in the 8th & 3 in the 9th to take a 11-8 lead going to the bottom of the 9th.  Browning, Chicken Wolf, and Reddy Mack singled producing the 1st 2 runs.  White single moved Mack to 3rd, where he scored momentarily when Cincy's catcher muffed a 4th strike, batter Werrick being thrown out at 1st as Mack raced home with the 3rd run and White to 3rd. Ramsey then hit a grounder to Bid McPhee who threw home to try to catch White.  The throw was low and Keenan could not handle it as White scored the winning run.   Ramsey gave up 18 hits and 5 walks while

Silver King, St. Louis, 1888 - July 23, 25, 26, & 27:

7/23: at Louisville - Lost 10-4.  King allowed 6 in the 8th to make a 4-4 tie into a Colonel blowout.  King allowed 14 hits and 3 walks.  He struck out 2.

7/25: at Baltimore - Won 5-2.  King allowed 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5.

7/26: at Baltimore - Won 7-1.  King allowed 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. 

7/27: at Baltimore - Won 9-5.  King allowed 8 hits.  He had no walks or strikeouts.

King actually pitched in the next game, 7/28.   He started in rightfield, swapping positions with Tommy McCarthy in the 2nd inning for Tommy McCarthy.  King switched back to rightfield in the 8th.
King then started on the 29th, before Nat Hudson started and completed the game on the 30th.

Apparently, part of the reason for King's consecutive start string was due to "sickness of Hudson and Devlin".

So King pitched in 6 straight games, starting 5 of them and pitching in all but about 6 innings of that stretch.

In respect to pitching both ends of a doubleheader, there were not too many, part of this probably due to lower number of doubleheaders.

Started both ends of DH


player 1887 1888 Grand Total
Ma Kilroy 2
P Smith 1
1 1
1 1
Grand Total 3 2 5

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