Half-Baked Hall Profile: Rube Waddell

October 16, 2014

Rube Waddell 1876-1914

Pitcher
Louisville Colonels 1897, 1899Pittsburgh Pirates 1900-1901
Chicago Orphans 1901
Philadelphia Athletics 1902-1907
St. Louis Browns 1908-1910

Real Name: George Edward Waddell

HOF Facial Hair?: Didn’t need it

Career WAR: 61.0

Best Season: 1905 27-10 1.48 ERA (179 ERA+) 1.89 FIP 0.977 WHIP 287 K 9.2 WAR

Quote: Waddell had the “best combination of speed and curves” of any pitcher who played the game according to Connie Mack.

Known For: A larger-than-life figure who reportedly had the emotional and intellectual maturity of a small child. The top strikeout pitcher in an era when strikeouts were relatively rare. Many of his off-field exploits are legendary, even if some are slightly exaggerated.

The Bad: Was once suspended for a week for climbing in the stands to beat up a spectator.

Bad Impression: He was originally part of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1897, but was dismissed prior to making an appearance for the team after he sat by manager Patsy Donovan at a team meal. Apparently, Donovan was unimpressed with Waddell’s dinner conversation.

Unreliable: When Connie Mack signed Waddell with the A’s for the 1902 season, he sent two escorts to make ensure that Rube, whom Mack had managed in a semi-pro league a few years prior, made it successfully to Philadelphia.

Another Side: From his SABR Bio

The Rube also demonstrated his more compassionate side when Athletics’ centerfielder Danny Hoffman was knocked unconscious by a fastball to the temple. “Someone went for an ambulance, and the players crowded around in aimless bewilderment,” wrote Connie Mack. “Somebody said that Danny might not live until the doctor got there. Then the man they had called the playboy and clown went into action. Pushing everybody to one side, he gently placed Danny over his shoulder and actually ran across the field.” Rube flagged down a carriage, which carted the pair to the nearest hospital. Rube, still in uniform, sat at Hoffman’s bedside for most of the night, and held ice to Hoffman’s head.

Not a Bad Racket: Would often barter the ball he used in a famous duel with Cy Young for free drinks. Before long their were dozens of bartenders claiming to have the famous souvenir.

Did Not Happen: Rumors still persist that Wadell would frequently wander off the mound mid-game to chase fire trucks due to a fascination with fires. While he was a member of a volunteer fire brigade, there are no documented cases of him leaving a game to do so.

Probably Did Happen:

-In exhibition games Wadell was known to demand his fielders retire to the dugout for the final inning so he could strikeout the side.

-Married a woman after knowing her for three days. Over the course of the couple’s seven-year marriage, she often had him thrown in jail for “non-support”

-Played himself in a traveling theater company until he was he was let go due to a dispute over pay. The firing included the company dumping Waddell’s bags in an alley.

-The shoulder injury that caused his career to start downhill occurred in a fight with a teammate over a straw hat.

-Would, without notice, miss scheduled starts for reasons such as fishing or playing marbles with street urchins.

-Opponents would reportedly attempt to distract Waddell by holding up puppies or shiny objects.

Comments from voters:

“Rube Waddell is also goofier than a pet coon, if I’m thinking of the right guy.” – Spookymilk

“Spooky was right, Rube was goofier than a pet coon, and was possibly the most famous baseball player to non-baseball fans before Babe Ruth. Clinically, it looks like he may have had a developmental disorder. When he was 21 years-old, he had the intellectual maturity of a 7 year old. He was in and out of baseball a few times, was suspended multiple times for unruly behavior, including openly mocking his opponents. He was drunk a lot and had very public marriages and divorces…” – Beau

Election Results Page

Actual HOF Page

 

 


1924 World Series Film

October 5, 2014

This is a pretty interesting find from the Library of Congress. Here’s the story behind it.

H/T to my Mom, who texted a CNN story about this to me.


The Franchise 2003 (Pitchers)

September 29, 2014

SP Brad Radke 2.5 WAR
Some numbers for Radke.
Year/BB:9IP
2001/1.0
2002/1.5
2003/1.2
2004/1.1
2005/1.0
Radke continued his run as one of the best control pitchers in the league.

By Month, 2003
Mar/April 34.1 IP 6.29 ERA 10 BB
May 30.1 IP 5.04 ERA 3 BB
Jun 34.1 IP 5.50 ERA 5 BB
Jul 40 IP 3.83 ERA 5 BB
Aug 38.1 IP 4.70 ERA 4 BB
Sep/Oct 35.0 IP 1.80 ERA 1 BB

SP Kyle Lohse 2.3 WAR
Though he ended the year with about league average numbers for a starting pitcher (98 ERA+), Lohse was particularly streaky in 2003. In his eight starts from June 16-July 26, Lohse went 0-5 with a 10.95 ERA while opponents OPS against him was 1.022. In the eight starts prior to that (May 2- June 11), he was 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA and a .572 OPS against.

SP Rick Reed 0.9 WAR
At the age of 38, Reed had a little bit left, but for the most part showed his age. He retired after the season. In his three years with the Twins, Reed was 25-25 with a 4.47 ERA (101 ERA+).

SP Kenny Rogers 1.9 WAR
While signing the 38-year-old lefty might have seemed like a gamble for the Twins, it was a low risk, potentially high-reward move for a team that had a gap in the rotation due to Eric Milton’s knee injury. Rogers had a decent season with the Twins, but was much better in both 2002 and 2004 with the Texas Rangers. Rogers had a down note on June 1, when allowed the first seven Mariners he faced to hit safely, one short of a major league record.

SP Joe Mays -0.5 WAR
2001 seemed like ancient history as Mays continued to struggle to find the form that made him an All Star. He would miss all of 2004 after having Tommy John surgery.

RP/SP Johan Santana 4.2 WAR
With several of the team’s starting pitchers struggling or injured, the voices calling for Johan Santana to be moved to the starting rotation for the bullpen became louder. It finally happened for good on July 11. Santana was the team’s best starter most of the rest of the season, but a hamstring problem plagued him in October.

CL Eddie Guardado 1.9 WAR
RP LaTroy Hawkins 3.1 WAR
Guardado put up big numbers as a one-inning closer from 2002-2003, and effectively priced his way out of Minnesota. Both the Twins and Guardado indicated they wanted to get a deal done, but ultimately he signed with the Seattle Mariners, and the Twins used the money saved to sign Shannon Stewart. In 12 years with the Twins, Guardado posted a 4.53 ERA (105 ERA+) 4.39 FIP and 1.34 WHIP. Hawkins was dominant in his setup role for the second straight season, and also signed a nice contract with another team, in this case with the Chicago Cubs. His numbers in 9 seasons with the Twins: 5.05 ERA (95 ERA+) 4.58 FIP 1.52 WHIP. Both were well established fan favorites when they left, and both were vocal about their displeasure with leaving. Fans were somewhat unsettled by the moves, but ultimately discovered quickly that the Twins had found a new bullpen option with Joe Nathan, another piece of the AJ Pierzynski trade.

RP Juan Rincon 1.2 WAR

RP JC Romero -0.1 WAR

 


The Franchise 2003 (Position Players)

September 22, 2014

C AJ Pierzynski 4.5 WAR
2003 Was Pierzynski’s best season with the Twins. It was also his last. His 115 OPS+ was a career high up to that point, and he has only exceeded that mark once, in his outlier year of 2012 with the White Sox. Based on WAR, the every day catcher was the most valuable offensive asset on the team in 2003. He was expendable, however, mainly due to the fact that the Twins had local hero Joe Mauer waiting in the wings to start at catcher in 2004. There were also some whispers from the team that perhaps AJ’s reputation as a talker was wearing thin with some members of the team’s management, but for the most part it seemed like an amicable parting when Pierzynski was traded to the Giants as part of the Francisco Liriano deal. Pierzynski had a terrible season in San Francisco and did not endear himself to that clubhouse, so initially it looked like he might be done, and the trade that brought Liriano, Joe Nathan, and Boof Bonser to Minnesota was a one-sided bonanza for the Twins. Pierzynski resurrected his career in Chicago however, and was a key member of the 2005 World Series champions. Controversy has seemed to follow AJ, but overall he has put together a pretty nice career for himself. His numbers in five seasons with the Twins: .301/.341/.447/.788 105 OPS+ 9.4 WAR

1B Doug Mientkiewicz 4.2 WAR
After taking a slight step back in 2002, Dougy Baseball had success to match his very good 2001 season. Unlike in his Gold Glove season when many advanced metrics rated him just average to slightly above at first base, he was legitimately rated high in most defensive categories, making this his most valuable season in a Twins uniform. Much like Pierzynski became a trade piece because Mauer was ready to go, the development of Justin Morneau meant that Doug’s days as the regular first baseman were numbered.

2B Luis Rivas -1.2 WAR
This was another awful season for Luis Rivas. One of the biggest question marks for people who followed the Twins in the early 2000’s was how Rivas continued to have a job at second base. Not only that, but 56 times during the year he started batting second in the order.

SS Cristian Guzman 1.2 WAR
Guzman continued to struggle to regain the form that made him an All Star in 2001. He did regain the AL triples title with 14 after only hitting six in 2002.

3B Corey Koskie 4.2 WAR
This is Koskie’s third consecutive season with 4+ WAR. Over the course of those three seasons, Koskie had a slash line of .278/.374/.464/.837 (120 OPS+) and was a +33 defender at third base.

LF/RF Jacque Jones 1.4 WAR
LF Shannon Stewart 2.6 WAR
RF Dustan Mohr 0.3 WAR
RF Bobby Kielty 1.1 WAR
When the Shannon Stewart deal was made, Jones moved from his familiar left field position to right field to make room for Stewart, who was more comfortable in left field. While he improved slightly in his splits versus left-handed pitching, Jones still struggled, but continued to get plate appearances against lefties. Shannon Stewart is largely credited as the spark that ignited the team’s surge to its second consecutive division title. It is interesting to note, however, that Stewart’s numbers against right-handed pitchers were about on par with Bobby Kielty’s. His biggest contribution to the team was the fact that he replaced the right-handed half of the “Dusty Kielmohr” platoon and OPS’ed .892 against left-handed pitching.

CF Torii Hunter 3.8 WAR
Hunter struggled at the plate in comparison to his performance in 2002, but won his third consecutive Gold Glove.

DH Matt LeCroy 1.2 WAR
Technically LeCroy was a backup catcher, and he did appear in 22 games as a catcher in 2003, but struggled to stop opponents from stealing bases – he threw out only four of 18 runners. He found his way into the lineup mostly as a DH, however, because he had home run power that the rest of the team lacked.


The Franchise 2003 (Part 1)

September 17, 2014

Manager: Ron Gardenhire 2nd season (2nd with Minnesota 184-139)
90 W 72 L 801 RS 758 RA 1st AL Central 4.0 GA (Chicago 86-76)
4.94 RPG (AL = 4.86) 4.41 ERA (AL = 4.52)
.698 DER (7th AL)

All Stars (1) Eddie Guardado

Franchise (1901-2003) 7600-8299-111; 32-38 Post Season; 19-21 WS
Washington (1901-1960) 4214-4864-104; 8-11 WS
Minnesota (1961-2003) 3386-3435-7; 24-27 Post Season; 11-10 WS

At the 2003 All Star break, the Twins had lost eight games in a row and had a 44-49 record. The defending division champs were in third place, 7.5 game out of first. It wasn’t looking good.

The day after the break, the Twins traded Bobby Kielty to Toronto for Shannon Stewart.

Stewart was 29 years old and had played his entire career in Toronto. He had been an above average offensive player with suspect range in the outfield. the first half of 2003 was shaping up to be a good season, but by Stewart’s standards the numbers were a little down. A change of scenery did him and the Twins well.

The team swept a four game series against the A’s right out of the break. They went 18-11 in August, an surged to a 19-7 record in September, finally taking over the division lead for good on September 15.

Shannon Stewart earned a fourth-place finish for MVP honors based almost entirely on his role with the Twins down the stretch.


Half-Baked Hall Profile: George Davis

September 14, 2014

George-Davis

George Davis 1870-1940

SS, 3B, CF

Cleveland Spiders 1890-1892
New York Giants 1893-1901; 1903
Chicago White Sox 1902; 1904-1909

Nickname: Gorgeous George

HOF Facial Hair: He grew his handlebars so he could look like his mentor, John Montgomery Ward.

Career WAR: 84.7

Best Season: 1897 .353/.410/.509/.918 144 OPS+ 31 2B 10 3B 10 HR 135 RBI 23 K

Known For: A well rounded player. He batted .300 or better in every season from 1893-1901. He was also very steady in the field.

The Bad: Was the subject of a lengthy and somewhat ugly court battle between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants. After both Davis and Giants management ignored the reserve clause so Davis could sign with Chicago in 1902, John McGraw took over for the decided he wanted the star player back. From Davis’ SABR Bio:

The move threatened to destroy the new peace treaty which had been forged between the two leagues that winter. White Sox owner Charles Comiskey threatened legal action. Davis went to Ward who argued, rather disingenuously, considering that he had helped Davis jump his New York contract the previous year, that the reserve clause in Davis’s 1901 Giants contract constituted a legal hold on the ballplayer’s services for the 1902 season, thus overruling any claim the White Sox had on his services. Ward declared Davis was entitled to rejoin the Giants per the new contract. Comiskey counter-attacked by first securing an injunction from an Illinois court, which prevented Davis from playing baseball for any team other than the White Sox in that state. In July, Comiskey obtained another injunction, this one from the U.S. Court of Appeals, which prohibited Davis from playing for any team anywhere other than the White Sox. The National League owners, weary of the dispute, instructed Giants owner John Brush to give up his rights to Davis. In all, the shortstop played only four games for New York that year, and none for Chicago.

Disappearing Act: George Davis was not inducted into the other Hall of Fame until 1998, almost a century after he played. Part of the reason it took so long is that Davis disappeared, not only from the minds of baseball fans, but almost from the face of the earth. Between 1918, when his name was used in a car ad, and 1968 there was no sign of George. It wasn’t until 28 years after Davis’ death that the circumstances of his death were discovered by a historian from the baseball Hall of Fame. It turns out he died in a mental hospital at the age of 70, and his wife had him buried 24 hours later in an unmarked grave.

Enigmatic Relationship: His relationship with his wife and the mysterious circumstances surrounding their marriage/living arrangements was enough to merit its own SABR bio.

WGOM Voter Comments:

“George Davis one day, on his way to the ballpark, saved some kids who were trapped in a burning building, then went on to play in that day’s game afterwards.” – Beau

 

HatB_-_Jose_Canseco's_misfortune

-hungry joe

WGOM Results Page

Actual HOF Page

 

 

 

 


Half-Baked Hall Profile: Jack Glasscock

September 11, 2014

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Jack Glasscock 1857-1947

Shortstop, Second Base

Cleveland Blues 1879-1884
Cincinnati Outlaw Reds 1884St. Louis Maroons 1885-1886
Indianapolis Hoosiers 1887-1889
New York Giants 1890-1891
St. Louis Browns 1892-1893
Pittsburgh Pirates 1893-1894
Louisville Colonels 1895
Washington Senators 1895

Quote: “…one of the greatest players from a fielding standpoint the game has ever known” – Al Spink

Nickname: Pebbly Jack

Real Name: John Wesley Glasscock

HOF Facial Hair: Yes

Career WAR: 61.9

Best Season: 1890 .336/.395/.439/.834 137 OPS+ 172 H 32 2B 9 3B 8 K

Known For: The “King of the Shortstops” was one of the best defenders of his era, and possibly should be in the conversation of greatest ever. Difficult to strikeout.

The Bad: Could be belligerent to umpires, particularly during his short stint as player-manager with Indianapolis.

In my day we used our bare hands: Played most of his career during the bare-handed era. Had significant trouble adjusting to the glove he used later in his career.

Pebbly Jack: Earned his nickname by keeping an immaculate field around the shortstop position. He would inspect the field carefully for pebbles, and would generally pocket those he found, helping to avoid some of the bad hops that caused errors for other fielders.

Rewriting the defensive record book: Glasscock ended his career as the major league leader for shortstops in putouts, assists, total chances, double plays, and fielding percentage.

WGOM Voter Comments:

“If Dave Orr is the Prince Fielder of his day, Glasscock is the Ozzie Smith of his day. A competent hitter, whose stats as a batter would have landed him on the ballot. What excites me is his brilliance at shortstop, which is well-documented, not just by WAR, but also by sportswriters at the time. The Sporting News said that his contemporaries considered him the best shortstop ever.” – Beau

“From the August 1, 1896 Saint Paul Globe:

Tuesday Jack Glasscock, who was on the coaching line, informed Umpire Strouthers that he thought he was rotten. “That will cost you five,” replied the umpire. “I said you were rotten,” said Glasscock. “I said ten,” retorted Strouthers. Glasscock expressed his contempt for the umpire by a liberal use of his fingers applied to the end of his nose, and the fine was raised to $25. Jack sat down, a sadder but wiser man.”” – The Dread Pirate

WGOM Results Page

SABR Bio

 


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