Monday, October 31, 2005

This Week in the California League, July 23-July 29, 1900

This Week in the California League, July 23-July 29, 1900

Games scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29, in the Bay Area and Stockton.

This week appears to be one of those seminal weeks in a season— a possible turning point the pennant race. San Francisco, which had been getting better as a club for sometime, put it all together over the weekend, sweeping the series with league leading Sacramento, and pulling within 5 games of them.

On Saturday, the Wasps won a laugher, nine-zip. Ham Iburg pitched 7 innings, tired and Tom Fitzpatrick came in for the save. In all, Sacramento managed but two hits, both off Iburg. Five players collected 2 hits for San Francisco, which were bunched together in such a way as to mark up 4 runs in both second and seventh innings. A lone run was scored in the third. With Jay Hughes injured, the Sactos gave future umpire of note Bull Perrine a shot in the box, and he was shot right out of it.

Sunday was more of the same: Phil Knell gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in the morning titlt at Oakland. Outfielder Tim Shanahan was called on to be the third pitcher in the two-man rotation, and gave up seven of the nine runs scored. Perrine then came in and gave up a homer to George McLaughlin, and another run the following inning. For San Francisco, everybody got a hit except Heinie Krug.

In the afternoon contest, Demon Doyle got through the first inning, but in the second got hammered for 4 run on 5 hits, and the game was ostensibly over. Final score: 7-2, with Ham Iburg evening his record on the season with his fourteenth victory. Centerfield Bill Brockhoff got 3 hits, in cluding a double, to lead the Wasp to their 23rd victory of the season.

Over in Stockton, there was another sweep of a series. On Saturday George Harper out-dueled Chief Borchers at Goodwater Grove in a 3-1 game, all the scoring concluded by the fourth inning.

Sunday had Jimmy Whalen matched against Doc Moskiman of Oakland. In the first inning Oakland scored, then Stockton tied it up in the second. That’s how the score remained up until the top of eleventh inning. That’s when Moskiman finally weakened, giving up 5 runs. Oakland could not come back in the last stanza, and went down to defeat 6-1, wasting a beautiful effort by the dentist from Oakland.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

1937 American Association Roundup

From the 1938 Spalding Baseball Guide:

Completely confounding the league's base ball writing experts, the Columbus Red Birds battled their way to their third league championship in five years when they won the 1937 American Association bunting.

Picked by scribes to finish sixth, the team piloted by Burt Shotton staged a great drive in that last half of the season to pull through after a nip-and-tuck battle with the Toledo Mud Hens and Minneapolis Millers.

The Red Birds did not clinch the flag until the final game of the season, their victory in the curtain dropping contest with Indianapolis enabling them to edge out Fred Haney's Hens by a single game [actually percentage points], while the Kels, piloted by Donie Bush, finished but three games south of the pennant winners...
Frank M. Colley, Columbus

Note: As you can see from the past few days, Gary Fink's work adds much data to the complete record of that season. And much more is needed. My own work on the early Pacific Coast League, apart from seasons I did not recopile from scratch, added shutouts for the seasons not compiled by the league, and saves for every season from its initial season in 1903 through 1957. I used the method similar employed by the ICI Group that compiled the first Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia for the years prior to 1969, when the save became an official statistic. While some may scoff at compiling save for a period when saves were not commonplace, I found many surprises.

I also found some dipressing things: e.g., some seasons the published statistics did not include players who did not finish the season in the league; or, when pitchers played another position they were credited with having pitched in the "G" column. This last problem i have yet to tackle. What I believe has to be done is recompile all the pitching stats from 1910 (where I left off, though I did 1918) at least up to somewhere in the 1930s, any maybe later.

I personally believe that the three top minor leagues should have just as good a statistical record as the major leagues, but that will take a lot more people that Gary Fink and Carlos Bauer.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

1937 American Association, Pithcing by Roster, Or Putting It All Together

Friday, October 28, 2005

1937 American Association, HR for Pichers Batting, Less than 10 Games

Tomorrow we will wrap up Gary Fink's research on the 1937 American Association.

1937 American Association, Two Charts on Pitchers With No Decisions

Thursday, October 27, 2005

1937 American Association, Shutouts by Pitcher

Shutouts by Team, 1937 American Association

Presenting the Missing 1937 American Association Pitching Data

To review what Gary Fink compiled for pitching in the 1937 American Association:

1. Shut Outs by Team.
2. Shut Outs by Pitcher.
3. Games Started information for the 30 Pitchers who pitched less than 45 innings.
4. GS, CG, ShO, W, L, & T break down by team for Carl Boone, Garland Braxton, Don French, & Emmett Nelson who each pitched for two teams that year.
5. Hits, Walks, and Strikeouts for the 13 Pitchers who did not have a decision.
6. Home Runs hit by each of the 9 Pitchers who played in less than 10 games but had a least one hit.
7. Tie games pitched that year.

I will present his work in a slightly different form over the next few days, beginning with Shutouts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Missing Shut Outs for the 1937 American Association

The Missing Shut Outs for the 1937 American Association

I have wondered for a long time why the Shut Outs for pitchers for the 1937 American Association were not ever published. There is Shut Out information for 1932, 1935, & 1936 and after 1937 for the American Association but why wasn't there Shut Outs recorded for 1937!

So I compiled the Shut Outs for the 1937 American Association, there was 63 Shut Outs pitched that year!

Along the way I found some errors with the pitching stats from the 1938 Spalding's Baseball Guide, I do not have access to the 1938 Reach's Baseball Guide.

1. Wilson Hayes is not listed with the pitchers with "0" decisions, he is listed however in the less than 10 games for batting.
2. Wilmer Schroeder did start 4 games, he is listed as starting "0" games. He started games on May 20, May 23, June 2, & June 6.
3. James Crandall did start 2 games, he is listed as starting "0" games. He started games on June 6 & June 13.
4. Sal Gliatto did start 2 games, he is listed as starting "0" games. He started games on May 19 & June 7.
5. Fred Shaffer only started 11 games, he is listed as starting 18 games.
6. Leon Pettit only started 7 games and only completed 3 games, he is listed as starting 8 games and completing 4 games.
7. Bill Burwell should be credited with 1 tie game, he is listed with "0" tie game.

My research project on the 1937 American Association consists of the following items.

1. Shut Outs by Team.
2. Shut Outs by Pitcher.
3. Games Started information for the 30 Pitchers who pitched less than 45 innings.
4. GS, CG, ShO, W, L, & T break down by team for Carl Boone, Garland Braxton, Don French, & Emmett Nelson who each pitched for two teams that year.
5. Hits, Walks, and Strikeouts for the 13 Pitchers who did not have a decision.
6. Home Runs hit by each of the 9 Pitchers who played in less than 10 games but had a least one hit.
7. Tie games pitched that year.

Tie games are an interesting but seldom used statistics when compiling pitching records for baseball players, I compiled them just to make sure that I have all the games recorded. There was 10 tie games in the American Association that year. I have always thought that only the last pitcher for both teams in a tie game would get credited with a tie game in their pitching stats. Not so in the American Association! Each pitcher who pitched in a tie game that year got credit for a tie game in their pitching stats.

Unlike the lower Minor Leagues, the American Association had only one position player pitch a game that year. The player was Ed Coleman who was an Outfielder for the Toledo club. He started the game on July 8 for Toledo against Louisville. The first batter got a hit, he then walked the next two batters, after two wild pitches he was out of the game. Toledo finally won that game by a score of 19 to 8. The Toledo club did obtained "Firpo" Marberry the next day for their pitching staff.

Gary Fink

September 30, 2005

Presenting Gary Fink's 1937 American Association Research

I began doing research with Gary Fink years ago. We collaborated on Archie Campbell's career record, presented above.

Over the next few days, I will post the statistics he compiled over the next few days.

I will begin today with Gary's own introduction, and you will see the quality of his work.

Click on image to Enlarge

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tomorrow Gray Fink

Tomorrow I will begin a several-day post on some of the new research that Gary Fink has produced.  Gary has done work on a number of individual ballplayers, but also has done some interesting work on the American Association, and— along with Karl Knickrehm— some groundbreaking work on the Sunset League.

Some of you who are new to baseball research may ask: Why are they doing work on those two leagues? hasn’t it all been done by now?  Well, the short answer is— No.  Even into the 1950s, players who appeared in less than 10 games were not included in the guides, and there were cases where the Hall-of-Famer slipped through the cracks.  When the Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia was first published in 1969, the authors stated the project was begun with the idea of presenting a “full and accurate statistical record of major league baseball,” or something to the effect.  Those of us laboring in the Elysian Fields of minor league research are attempting to do the same thing for minor league baseball, but our project is at least hundred times larger, and a thousand times more difficult.  Each one of us have carved out a little section of the map, and are filling in the unknown data.  

Minor League research is the most satisfying of all baseball research precisely because it is the most challenging (i.e., difficult) to do.  In minor league research, we don’t even have any idea of how many leagues existed.  Prior to 1902, the National Association (i.e., the official minor leagues) didn’t exist.  Most leagues in the USA were not signatories to the National Agreement (which predate the NA, and only was a group of leagues that), and were independent leagues, and have been long forgotten.  I have found thirteen or fourteen pages of professional leagues here in the state of California between 1878 and 1956.  For sure, a goodly number might be considered semipro leagues.  But other leagues, the San Joaquin Valley League, for example, was paying more than the Coast League in some seasons to their star players.  To give an example, pitcher Sailor Stroud— who refused to sign his contract with the San Francisco Seals one season— had his NA Contract sold by the Seals to the Yankees, and he then even refused to report to the New York Yankees because, as he stated in the newspaper, he was making more pitching for Hanford than he’d make as a Yankee. Another league of note— long forgotten— is the Midwest League of the early 1920s.  Try finding anything on that league, and you’ll come up empty, but at the time, it had to be considered one of the top leagues as far as baseball talent was concerned.  Hippo Vaughn went from making $3,500 per season as a Cub to pitching for the Beloit club in the Midwest League at $7,500 per year.  The six-team league signed everybody they could out of the American Association, and picked up a smattering of major leaguers to boot.

And, apart from independent leagues, poor and incomplete record keeping has plagued minor league recordkeeping throughout its history. We deal on a daily basis with towns where there is only one newspaper, and sometimes that is only a weekly.  Even the PCL compiled only sketchy pitching record for its first decade of existence.  (Howe News Bureau and Bill Weiss, long-time statistician for many minor leagues, stand out as exceptions.)  Even last season, the records were kept so poorly by a new company brought in to compile stats for the minor leagues that researchers fifty or a hundred years from now will be pulling their hair out trying to put together a “complete and accurate record” of the 2004 minor league season.  Redoing and compiling statistics of long past leagues, and long past season of league still around will keep researchers in business for as far as they eye can see… And so it goes.  There will never be an end, but like Sisyphus…

Tomorrow, say hello to Gary Fink….

Monday, October 24, 2005

This Week in the California League, July 16-July 22, 1900

Games scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22.

This weekend, Stockton came west to Oakland; San Francisco playing two games in Sacramento.

Jimmy Whalen was on his game, shutting down Oakland on 4 hits and 1 run. For the winners, Jack McCarthy and Russ Pace both got 3 hits, with McCarthy scoring three times. Oscar Jones took the loss, and got his release from the Dudes. Jones gave up 7 run on 10 hits, and departed for the Montana State League.

Jay Hughes pitched the first three innings, and then decided he could continue because of a some tiredness in his arm. Doyle came in and finished off the shutout. Ham Iburg took the loss, giving up only 2 runs and 5 hits. The game was won in the first inning. George McLaughlin walked, got to second on a fielder’s choice, and then brought home by a Truck Egan single.

Stockton, who didn’t have a third pitcher on the staff, used Jimmy Whalen on Sunday morning at Golden Gate Park in Oakland. Whalen was even more effective than on Saturday, pitching a six-hitter. Chief Borchers had a horrible outing, yielding 9 runs on 10 hits. Russ Pace went two for four, scoring three times, for the winners.

In the nightcap at San Francisco, George Harper and Doc Moskiman locked up in seesaw game over eleven innings, with Oakland coming out on top at then end by a 6-5 score.

The game at Sacramento was a pitchers’ battle between Ham Iburg and Demon Doyle— for seven innings! Then Sacramento scored 7 runs off of Iburg, who tired in the eighth inning. In the bottom half of the inning (Sacramento chose to bat first in the game), the SF Wasps scored 3 runs, but couldn’t match the Sacs. Sacramento added one in the ninth, bringing the score to 10 to 4. The hitting stars for the winners were Jay Hughes— playing the outfield— who went 4 for 5, catcher Matt Stanley (3 for 5), and Demon Doyle, who help his winning effort with 3 hits, including a double.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Word from Our Sponsor

A Word from Our Sponsor

Here are the books since I started Baseball Press Books.  All are still in print, and for sale.  Every month or so, I’ll post this price list for the connivance of new readers, and those I’ve missed on my mailing list.

Price List for Baseball Press Books Titles:

  • The Early Coast League Statistical Record, introduced by Chuck Stevens & Roger Osenbaugh
A complete Pacific Coast League encyclopedia, for years 1903-1957.  Major essays on how it was to be a player, by former Coast League players Chuck Stevens & Roger Osenbaugh.  Complete stats for every player in the league, presented in year-by-year, team-by-team format, with 13 batting categories and 15 for pitchers.  Also included leader boards, season and lifetime record holder, league officials, playoff records and attendance figures for the 1919-1957 period by club.  Many of the statistics have never been published before.  
310 pages               $39.95 from Baseball Press Books

  • The New SABR Guide to Minor League Statistics, edited by Carlos Bauer & Bob McConnell
A guide to the material contained in virtually every baseball guide since 1877, giving page number and what stats included by league.  This new listing includes stats contained in the Baseball America Almanac. Also listed are final league averages for The Sporting News & Sporting Life, and what box scores were published yearly by those two papers.  Additionally, there is a twenty-page list of final league averages that have been compiled by individual researchers, and microfilm holdings at selected libraries around the country.  
206 pages               $21.95 from Baseball Press Books

  • The All-time Japanese Baseball Register, by Carlos Bauer
For the first time ever in English: The complete statistical record of all the great Japanese and American players who appeared in Japan since the inception of the Japan Pro Baseball League in 1936 through the 1999 season.  Over 950 players career records in Japan, all with complete stat lines (13 categories for batters, and 15 for pitchers) in an easy-to-read format.  
320 pages               $29.95 from Baseball Press Books

  • The 2003 Japanese Major & Minor League Statistic Report
For the Second Year: The complete statistical record of every player who stepped onto the field in Japan.  Complete statistics: 13 categories for batting; 17 categories for pitching.  Additionally, complete bio material: Full name, date of birth, height, weight, bats, throws.  Everything a guide should be.  Used by the majority of major league clubs.
64  pages               $13.95 from Baseball Press Books

  • The 2002 Japanese Major & Minor League Statistic Report
For the Second Year: The complete statistical record of every player who stepped onto the field in Japan.  Complete statistics: 13 categories for batting; 17 categories for pitching.  Additionally, complete bio material: Full name, date of birth, height, weight, bats, throws.  Everything a guide should be.  Used by the majority of major league clubs.
64  pages               $13.95 from Baseball Press Books

  • Early Dreams, by David Nemec
Noted baseball researcher David Nemec has written what can only be described as one of the great works of baseball fiction.  Even if you are not one for fiction, this book will change your mind.  Early Dreams captures the way of life of 19th Century ball.  Reads as if it were non-fiction.  And, with all books by David Nemec, you will learn a great deal of history.  This will someday be viewed as a milestone in baseball fiction.
174 pages               $15.95 from Baseball Press Books

  • The Coast League Cyclopedia, by Carlos Bauer
Patterned after the Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia.  Every batter, pitcher & manager, with complete stat lines, plus standings, league leader boards, etc.  Complete biographical information for every PCL player, 1903-57.
1,160 pages, 3 volumes            $125.00 from Baseball Press Books, includes postage  Only several copies remain

  • The Senior League Encyclopedia, compiled by Jay Walker
This work presents the complete history and complete statistics for the Senior Baseball League of 1989-90 and 1990-91.  The two-year experiment failed, but many well-known players participated, including Amos Otis, Willie Aikens, Pete Lacock, Ozzie Virgil, Jon Matlack,  Milt Wilcox, Len Barker, and a long etc.  Contents include a history of the league, team profiles, teams statistics, player, pitcher and manger register sections.
170 pages               $22.95 from Baseball Press Books

  • The Historical Register, compiled by Numerous SABR Members
This work presents the complete career records( major, minor and independent leagues, even semipro( of baseball greatest players, from Alexander Cartwright through Ryne Sandberg.  In all, career records of 740 players.  Every Hall of Famer, including Negro Leagues players, and virtually every near Hall of Famer that ever donned spikes.  The most complete career records ever published( by far!  Literally thousands of new lines of never-before-published data.  There has never been a book like this one!  Now in Fourth Edition!
460 pages               $49.95 from Baseball Press Books

  • World Series Baseball, by Carlos Urbano
A baseball board game, played with either a scientific calculator or three ten-sided dice (not included).  This game comes with game boards on cardboard, instructions, and 32 all-time great teams.  Also included are instruction for rating player teams and leagues.  Fabulous for recreating minor league seasons & Negro League all-star teams.  A unique item from the infamous Carlos Urbano.
60 pages               $9.95 from Baseball Press Books

All books are shipped Media Mail, and shipping & handling is $5.00 for first book, and then $2.00 per book (Canada $5.00 per book).  All orders must be in U. S. Funds.   California residents must include 8.25% sales tax.  E-mail us for other rates:

Make all checks of money orders out to Baseball Press Books & send to:

Baseball Press Books      
P. O.  Box    22493    
San Diego,  CA     92192-2493

Saturday, October 22, 2005

From The Sporting News, 4-8-1899

From The Sporting News, April 8, 1899.

African-American Baseballer Bud Fowler writing in The Sporting News:

Bud Fowler’s Team
The Veteran Considers it the Best of the Colored Clubs

Findlay, Ohio April 3 — Special Correspondence:— Dr. Drake and I have purchased the old grounds in the heart of the city, and have signed a first-class team. The teams which represented Findlay in the past need no praise. They have always been stronger than most minor league aggregations. For the first time in the history this city will have Sunday grounds, and clubs can be booked by communicating with the manager.

The team will report April 15. The players signed to date are: Pitchers, Lindsay of Cincinnati; Redmond, St. Joe; Scheumeman, Chicago; catchers, Speasman, Ashtabula; Roe, Barnesville; first base, Heistand, Terre Haute; second base, Fowler; shortstop, Keller, Beardstown, Ill.; left field, Bissell, Cleveland; centerfield, Meyers. The season will open in Toledo with Stroble’s Interstate League Club Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23.

From June 12 to 17 Findlays will play under the auspices of the Elks. On Thursday, June 15, Elks Day, the Findlays will play under auspices [sic]of the Elks’ Clubs wanting dates during this week can fill them by writing Dr. W. H. Drake.

Jackson, captain of the Cuban X-Giants will find it in his interest to write Bud Fowler.

The Black Tourists Colored Ball Club will leave Findlay in September for California, playing through the Western states to the coast, where they will meet all the clubs of the California League. They want to arrange games in Santa Fe, Las Vegas and Albuquerque during the New Mexico State Fair. This will be the first colored club to cross the Rocky mountains. The aggregation will be equal in merit in all departments as any colored club ever organized.

Miller, Woods and Selbach of Cincinnati, Hoy of Louisville, Blue of Toledo, Ogden of the New York League, Wagner of the Canadian League, are all Findlay prouducts.

Bud Fowler.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Marv Grissom Died

Marv Grissom, who once led the Coast League in wins, died in Red Bluff, CA, on September 19th. His 20-win season in 1951 helped the Rainiers secure the pennant that season, and got him up to the majors for good.

Click on record to enlarge

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Al Widmar Has Died

Al Widmar, who pitched 15 seasons in the minor leagues, including three seasons in the Coast League, and four seasons in both the Texas League and American Association, died on October 15, 2005 in Tulsa, OK.  He also managed Tulsa in the Texas League.

Widmar was the pitching coach for the Toronto Blue Jays for 10 years, and later Special Assistant to the GM.

Click on record to enlarge.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Don Rowe Dies

Don Rowe, who pitched five seasons in the Coast League, died last Saturday in Newport Beach, CA. According to the obituary that appeared in the OC Register, was a long-time coach of several sports at Golden West College, including defensive coordinator for the football team for 25 years, and the school's first tennis coach. He also served as pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers.

His full career record appears above. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Oscar Jones, 2

Oscar Jones, 2

As the years passed, not much more came to light on Oscar Jones.  From 1978 through 1992, the Society for American Baseball Research published three volumes of Minor League Stars, and Oscar Jones did not appear in any of the editions, primarily because the extent of his minor league career had not been discovered, and also what was known had not been fleshed out.  And that remains true— to an extent— to this day.

Then, in 1994, Baseball America published the Minor League Resister, edited by Lloyd Johnson.  In working on pitchers, the editors discovered that Oscar Jones had won 229 games, and that merited insertion in the book.  (In what I have stumbled across since then, I have brought Jones up to 237 wins, and still counting.)  Additionally, they didn’t have his record for his first season in the Montana State League, or his record for the 1911 San Joaquin Valley League.  (A curiosity of the 1911 SJV league is that they played on Saturdays and Sundays, but only the Sunday games counted in the standings, and Jones pitched a number of games on Saturdays.)  The editors had no listing of where he pitched in 1912, either, which still remains a mystery.

The Minor League Register picks up Jones’ career in 1900 with Great Falls in the Montana State League, and carries it through the 1913 California State League season, where he goes 24-8 to ending his career.  I think most players don’t end their careers on such a high note, and, consequently, I believe there is a good chance I will stumble across another season or two for him.

The Minor League Register doesn’t list Jones as having pitched in the 1900 California League. My 1900 research on the California League shows him pitching in that league before moving on to the Montana State League.  But I pick him up earlier than that.  He actually started the 1900 season with Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley League. So far, that the earliest I have been able to push back his career.  I checked the box scores I have for the 1899 SJV League, and the only Jones I have is an early-season, one-game third baseman who played for Tulare, and I doubt that that is our man.

In 2002 and 2003, when I was working hard on finishing my Coast League Cyclopedia, the Big Mac of the PCL, I had access to the “Inactive File” of the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America, and in going through those files looking for any information on players whom I had no information on, but who had been Association members.  

This is the point where I get involved with Oscar Jones.  I never had much interest in Oscar Jones up to that point, but in going through the Association cards, I happened upon one for Oscar Jones, and it caught my eye that he had a different middle name on his card that the one I had listed in my workbook that I carried around when doing research.  Flipping the card over, I immediately saw that the list of teams he played for definitely proved it to be Oscar Jones who played in the Coast league and for Brooklyn as those two clubs were listed.  Also on the card of Oscar Lafayette Jones was a different birth place and birth date: October 22, 1879  at Salem, Missouri.  In further research in the files, done by Dick Beverage, we were able to find Association addresses for Jones in the Central Valley, Los Angeles, and, finally, in Dallas, Texas.  Several of which were, I believe, Goodyear Tire dealerships.  At some point after that, Peter Morris got involved and tracked down an obit in Texas, after checking “possibles” on the Texas Death Index, and then birth information was confirmed in Missouri.  The SABR Biographical Committee list Jones as having been born in Carter County, MO, but I have chosen to leave Salem, MO as his birth place, because that was the closest town to the farm where he was born.  One must remember two things about that period: 1) People were born at home; 2) That the United States was a rural country where most people were born in the farmhouse on a farm.  If one were born, say, two miles out of town, they would technically have been born in the county rather than the town, but most people of the time would say— and believe— that they were “from” the closest population center.  If Oscar Jones himself wanted to be from Salem, MO, that’s good enough for me.  

(One strange thing that came up when he first pitched in the California League is that they called him in the San Francisco papers “the Hanford boy.”  I wonder if they just didn’t know much about him, and made the assumption he was from there— or that he was really from there in the sense at he had lived there for some time.  Next time I’m up at the State Library, I’ll go through the Hanford paper to see if I can dig anything else up on him.  For now, it remains a mystery how Oscar Jones began his career in Hanford, California.  Or did he?  Could he have pitched himself west in 1899?)

In one other area, I have problems with the encyclopedias: Oscar Jones’ height and weight.  He was built like a fireplug, one of pure muscle.  I have seen his height and weight referred to time and again in small-town California papers as being 5:06 and 175 lbs.  The reason that this was important for the papers is that virtually every year teams wound have a running race as a draw for fans, and invariable Oscar Jones would win the race.  Obviously, if you are 5:06 and 175 lbs. and are the fastest man on the team— that is news, and, of course, papers made mention of it.  The encyclopedias list Jones at 5:07 and 163.  Because he played early in his career with Brooklyn, it’s possible that his weight was 163 at the time, but he didn’t shrink an inch in the Coast League, so I’m sticking with the 5:06 figure.

In the next couple of years, with my work on documenting professional baseball leagues in the state of California, I hope to be able to put together a pretty good career record for Oscar Lafayette Jones.  

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Oscar Jones

Oscar Jones

Oscar Jones was an enigma for many years.  He pitched three seasons (1903-05) for Brooklyn, compiling a 19-14, 17-25, and 8-15.  Not much was know about Jones, who also pitched in California League, where he had  29 and 36-win seasons, and Pacific Coast Leagues, in which he cobbled together back-to-back 31 and 29-win seasons.  By the time Who’s Who was first published, he had been long out of the majors. Not much was known about him when Ernie Lanigan published his Baseball Cyclopedia in 1922, and remained that way through its twelve editions.  Lanigan gave no biographical information on the Brooklyn pitcher at all, just the name Oscar Jones, without a middle name or initial.

And nothing changed until 1946, when on page 22 of the October 16, 1946 issue of The Sporting News an obituary appeared for a pitcher named Oscar Jones.  The following is the complete note that ran in the Necrology column:

Oscar Jones, who pitched for York and Wilmington in the old Tri-State League, was stricken fatally, October 8, while standing in a meat line at Perkasie, Pa.

In 1951, the Official Encyclopedia of Baseball by Hy Turkin and S. C. Thompson was published for the first time.  They list the pitcher who played the three seasons with the Dodgers as the same person who pitched in the outlaw Tri-State League as the major leaguer.   They, apparently, went so far to get birth records for him, and that appeared in the encyclopedia, along with the addition of a middle name: “Winfield.”

On the surface, it seems all perfectly logical that it is the same person.  After all, how many pitchers named Oscar Jones could there be out there?  

But wait a minute— if it were the same player, why didn’t TSN mention that he had pitched in the majors?  Obituaries usually— at a minimum— mention the highlight of a player’s career, which— for a major leaguer— would not be that of having played in the independent/outlaw Tri-State League.  Nor any mention of his stellar seasons in either the Coast League or the California League.  Pitching in the Coast League would have to rate above standing in a meat line, I should think.  Additionally, The Sporting News always placed its obits in order of importance, rather than alphabetically, for instance.  Oscar Jones is at the bottom of the column that week.  

Nevertheless, the Oscar Jones remained in all the incarnations of the Turkin and Thompson encyclopedias, was picked and included in the first Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia, and continued through its last edition, and also through the next to last edition of the Total Baseball Encyclopedia.  

Tomorrow I will finish my story of Oscar Jones.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

This Week in the California League, July 9-July 15, 1900

This Week in the California League, July 9-July 15, 1900

Games scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15.

This weekend, the Bay Area teams faced off, and the two interior clubs played each other in Sacramento.

At Snowflake Park, Manager George Harper pitched a 6-hitter on route to a 4-1 victory over Demon Doyle of the Sacramento club. Ham Iburg won 4-2 over Chief Borchers at Rec Park in San Francisco. San Francisco scored 2 runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and Oakland did not score until the ninth, when they staged a comeback with 2 runs.

On Sunday, Jay Hughes won another, his 13th of the season. Jimmy Whalen lost his 9th. The score was 6-2, but could have been much worse had it not been for the fine fielding of Ernie Courtney of Stockton.

San Francisco swept the Sunday doubleheader, and swept the series from Oakland, which dropped to 9 games back. San Francisco, with the two wins, pulled into second place in the league standings.

In the morning game, Oakland gave Oscar Jones a tryout, but he was a bust, yielding 9 runs on 14 hits, though he did strike out five while walking only one man. (I’ll write more about Oscar Jones tomorrow.) Fireman Tom Fitzpatrick gave up 6 runs on 10 hits, and that was good enough for the win.

In the afternoon contest, Ham Iburg won his second game of the weekend, besting Doc Moskiman 5-4. Both clubs scored one in the third, and remained that way until the fifth, when Oakland score another run in the top half of the inning. But San Francisco came back with 3 runs in the bottom half to take the lead. Then Oakland came right back to tie it up in the top half of the sixth. The score remained tied until the seventh, when Josh Reilly got to first on an error, moved around to third, and scored on George Hildebrand’s sac fly.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Friday, October 14, 2005

From The Sporting News, 12-5-1907

From The Sporting News, December 5, 1907.

When baseball was the only game in town:

Favors Longer Season
Spokane Magnate Wants Two Weeks Added to Schedule

Spokane, Nov. 27 — Special  Correspondence:— Two, possibly three weeks more onto the base ball season of 1908 and finish at home is the hope of Eddie Quinn, manager [i.e., business manager] Spokane Indians.  Quinn expects to take this matter up at the meeting of the directors to be called for some time within the next few weeks.
With Helena in the circuit, an extra couple of weeks onto the schedule and a home wind-up, local fans should be more than satisfied next year.  The schedule of 1907 contained about 160 games, of which Spokane had only 75 on the home grounds.  Next year there would be from 175 to 180 games, with 90 or more on Spokane grounds, if Mr. Quinn’s recommendation meets with favor [it didn’t, and in fact the league played less games than in 1907] by other magnates.

Quinn raises the point that good weather in the Inland Empire almost always continues up until November every year, and that October is generally a better baseball month than even August or September.  The same is true in Butte, and Quinn expects that Butte people will be glad of the home-closing schedule if it can be arranged.

If Helena is in the circuit next year [it wasn’t], Quinn also figures on opening the season on Spokane grounds.  Since two or three of the teams probably  teams probably will train in this section of the country, at Lewiston, Moscow or Walla Walla, such a plan would save an extra trip to the Coast for at least one team.

It is generally believed that the Northwest will gladly take care of six or six and a half months of base ball, both through favorable weather conditions and through rivalry and interest.  Exhibition base ball continued in Spokane until the middle of October during the last fall and could have run a couple of weeks more.

Note: I guess it was a time when people didn’t complain about the length of the season— or only complained about the season was too short.  Many articles in The Sporting News over the winter months dealt with the future of the league, the business problems, and what would become of certain players— would they be back or not?  The Northwest League remained a six-team league in 1908, with four clubs on the Coast— Seattle, Vancouver, Tacoma and Grays Harbor— and only two clubs in the interior, Butte and Spokane.  Grays Harbor replaced Aberdeen, cutting one interior team, the franchise that Eddie Quinn had hoped would wind up in Helena.  The Northwestern League flourished as the Pacific Coast League contracted to four clubs— all in California cities— in the wake of the 1906 Earthquake.  As a matter of fact, the Coast League was in more worse financial straits after the 1907 season than after the earthquake-disrupted 1906 season.

Monday, October 10, 2005

This Week in the California League, July 2-July 8, 1900

This Week in the California League, July 2-July 8, 1900

Games scheduled on the Fourth of July, and on Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8.

On the Fourth of July, Jimmy Whalen— with one out in the tenth inning— gave up the winning run at Rec Park. Ham Iburg won the 4-3 game. At Sacramento, they had another one-run game, this one having a 7-6 outcome. According to the papers it was a sloppily played, uneventful game, though Jay Hughes got an inside-the-park home run.

On Saturday, Ham Iburg came back to pick-up his second win of the week, besting George Harper of Stockton 4 to 2. On Sunday, San Francisco swept a doubleheader, both by lopsided scores. In Oakland, Tom Fitzpatrick won 7-1, giving up only 4 hits while striking out 7. Jimmy Whalen lost for the seventh time that season, after faltering late in the game. In the nightcap at Rec Park, Whalen lost his third game of the week, 9-1. Stockton didn’t have another pitcher, and Whalen— not the strongest of pitchers at 5-11 and 170 pounds— gave up runs in every inning except the second and fourth in “taking one for the team.” It should also be noted that Whalen had not yet turned twenty-one. Iburg brought his record up to 11-12 for the season after a very slow start for him.

At Sacramento, the correspondent for San Francisco Examiner stated: “Oakland won from Sacramento in the worst game of the season today.” The score was 16-14, with Buck Francks and Ed Hutchinson each getting 3 hits for the visitors, as did Truck Eagan for the home club. The game was a mishmash of hits, errors and wild pitches.

With the season half over, the Sacramento club extended their lead to seven games over Stockton, and it looked as if the club might run away with the pennant.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Update on Dick Faber's Career

Gary Fink, who has compiled averages for the less than 10 games/45 innings pitched for 1947 Sunset League, informs me that Dick Faber in fact did not play in the league that season. Of course, he could have signed and not played. Or signed at the end of the season, and not gotten into a game.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Former Coast Leaguer Dick Faber Passes Away

Dick Faber, who pratrolled the outfield at Lane field in the early to mid-1950s, died on September 16, his family just announced. The family stated that he began his career by signing with Anaheim in 1947 (he may have appeared in less than ten games), I pick up Faber's career the next season with San Bernardino in the Sunset League, where he hit .303 in a 134 games. He followed that with a .305 season in the Western International League before getting a couple of minimal callups with the Solons in the Coast League, though playing most of the next two seasons in the Western International League, where he hit .301 and .274. In 1952, he was sent over to the San Diego Padres, where he played for the rest of his career.

After his baseball career ended, he joined a trucking firm, winding up as a general manager.

Friday, October 07, 2005

From The Sporting News, 5-7-1898

From The Sporting News, May 7, 1898.

On baseball writing, when Detroit was “out west”& Omaha must have been close to China:

Baseball writing is an art, and out in the wild and woolly west the writers have reduced it to a fine art, says the Detroit Tribune.  When a club is shutout they do not call it a “goose-egg.” but expressively say the nine was “horse collared.”  The crowd upon the stands are compared to “flies upon a sore toe.”  Of [Wallace] Hollingsworth, the Omaha shortstop, the World Herald says: “Now, ‘Holly” is one of the few living relics of those obsolete-times, a direct descendent of the weezygees whose awful wisdom has been lost, their arts and sciences scattered to the four or five winds, leaving only a few old hoopskirts and tomato cans an evidence of their radiancy and splendor.  A paucity of these curiosities, however, continuing steadfast to their pristine glory, kept a strangle-hold on their purity and preternatural power.  They are all in their graves now, but ‘Holly,” he stands alone like a wart on a dray horse’s hind leg, felicitous in the knowledge that he has been granted permission to live in Omaha, and that his mind is bright and clear as that of his forefathers.

Note: Speechless, I’m left.  

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

This Week in the California League, June 25-July 1, 1900

Games scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, June 30 and July 1.

On Saturday in Stockton, San Francisco played the home club, and Ham Ibrug pitched a masterful 7-1win, striking out 8 Pirates. George Harper only gave up 7 hits, but walked 5, and the club chalked up five errors, all of which led to the 7 tallies. The hitting star of the day was center fielder Ernie Courtney, who went 4 for 4, all singles. Courtney would make it to the majors two years later, and stick around for six seasons, the last four of which were with the Phillies.

On Sunday, Stockton returned the favor by an almost identical 7-2 score. Ernie Courtney went 3 for 3 on the day. Sunday, however, he had the help of George Babbitt (3-4), Harry Lochhead (2-4) and Joe McCarthy (2-4). Jimmy Whalen won his 12th game of the season, and Fireman Tom Fitzpatrick lost his ninth.

At Rec Park on Saturday, Chief Borchers and Jay Hughes locked up in a pitchers duel for eleven innings. At that time, the score stood tied at two. Sacramento, in the top-half of the 12th, scored 4 runs on 3 hits and a couple of errors, and put the game away.

Sunday morning at Oakland saw another fine-pitched game on both sides (only 9 hits yielded), but Sacramento managed to put two of them out of the park. Truck Eagan hit a two-run homer in sixth, and McLaughlin hit one later in the game. In all, Candy Beville only gave up 4 hits, but he also yielded 4 runs. Manager Brick Devereaux put himself in as the spot starter, and gave up only 1 run on 5 hits to notch the win.

The afternoon contest had Demon Doyle facing Chief Borchers, and both pitched way above form. Through six innings, the game was deadlocked at zero. In the bottom of the seventh, Doc Moskiman got an infield single off of Doyle. Then Abe Arellanes moved him along to second, and just when it looked like Doyle would get out of the inning unscathed, Midget Mangerina dropped on in down the left field line for a double that scored Moskiman. And that was that. The only score of the game. Brochers pitched a 2-hit shutout, and Doyle lost even though he was only touched for 3 hits.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ed Vitalich Dies

Former PCL Padre pitcher Ed Vitalich passed away on September 27 his family announced. After his baseball career ended, he became an optometrist in the neighborhood where I spent my grammar school years, the North Park area of San Diego.

Click on record to enlarge.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Former Coast League Pitcher Dies

Dave Eskenazi passed on the sad note that for former Seattle Rainier pitcher Pete Jonas has died after a long illness.  Mark Macrae passed the note on to me.

This Week in the California League, June 18-June 24, 1900

This Week in the California League, June 18-June 24, 1900

Note: I found the one game my standing apparently had been missing. The game was played on an off day, as I had supposed, on Wednesday, May 1. The game was originally scheduled to be played on Monday, April 30— for no apparent reason that I could find— but was rained out. Sacramento won the game 7-2 behind the 5-hit pitching of Demon Doyle. Big Bill Hanlon sent one of Jimmy Whalen’s pitches over the short left field fence at Oak Park in Sacramento. He also had a double in five trip to the plate.

Games scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24.

On Saturday in Stockton, Oakland beat the home club 7-2 in spite of Candy Beville giving up 10 walks. But only five hits were made off him. The game was won in the first inning, when George Harper yielded 5 runs on five hits and a wild pitch.

Over at Rec Park, a seesaw game produced a 7-6 win for the visiting Gilt Edge club. Ham Iburg only gave up 3 hits, but that— along with 8 errors behind him— yielded 7 runs. Charley Doyle went the route for Sacramento.

On Sunday, in the morning game at Oakland, Heinie Krug landed one of Red Devereaux’s pitches over the left field fence, but it did no good as the visitors scored 4 runs in the eighth inning to take the contest 6- to 4.

Jay Hughes, in the nightcap, won another game, scatting ten hits and allowing but 2 runs. The Gilt Edge club scored 7 runs on 14 hits lead by Demon Doyle with 3 hits while appearing in center field on an day off from mound duty. Ham Iburg took the loss.

At Stockton, Jimmy Whalen and Mike Steffani battled for eleven innings. Stockton, which chose to bat first in the game, scored 2 runs in the top of the 11th inning, and Jimmy Whalen made it through the bottom half of the inning without allowing a run, though he gave up 2 hits.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A New Correction to Baseball Guides from Gary Fink

A New Correction to Baseball Guides from Gary Fink

Hi Carlos,
I do not know if you know this, but I was going over some other American Association research I have done and I found some research I did for Ray Nemec a few months ago.
It involves Bobby Reis who played for the Toledo club in 1933. Marshall Wright's book, The American Association, and the 1934 Spalding Baseball Guide (I do not have access to the 1934 Reach Baseball Guide) has the following for Reis for the 1933 season. 132 G, 551 AB, 96 R, 178 H, 31 2b, 14 3b, 10 HR, 20 RBI, 10 BB, 8 SO, 15 SB and .323 BA.
The RBI, BB, & SO are very low totals for that many games played.
In Wright's book there are no RBI, BB, & SO totals for Mike Gonzales who played for the Columbus team.
For the 1933 American Association season, Gonzales batted .324 and Reis batted .323.
The Sporting News dated Jan. 4, 1934 has RBI, BB, & SO for the American Association the 20 RBI, 10 BB, & 8 SO belong to Mike Gonzales. For Reis, the correct totals are 59 RBI, 53 BB, & 51 SO.
Note that The New SABR Guide to Minor League Statistics does not include for The Sporting News  the date for RBI, BB, & SO. 
Gary Fink 

Note: I don’t have a Reach Guide for 1934, either.  If anyone would care to check that guide, please let me know what stats Reis and Gonzales have as for RBIs, BBs, and Ks.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Back In Business

Back In Business

I returned yesterday from my semi-annual research trip up to Sacramento to work for a week at the State Library, passing through Oakland to catch the PCL Reunion there.  I spent a couple of hours talking with friends and other researchers, including Mark Macrae, coach John Herbold, Cuno Barragan, Chuck Christiansen, Doug McWilliams, Carl Haas and Dick Beverage, among others.  Carl Haas, the Missions expert par excellence, I meet for the first time.  

The purpose of the trip was to do research, and on Monday morning I found myself in the State Library up to my eyeballs in microfilm.  I had several objects to accomplish while up there: Find several scattered box scores for my early California League project that I couldn’t get from the resources here in Southern California; find out when Jimmy Whalen pitched for Marysville in 1900 (he appeared in a team photo); and, if I had any time left, continue with my documentation of every professional baseball league in the state (I have some fourteen pages of leagues so far).

One unexpected find happened.  As many of you know, baseball guides up until the 1950s did not publish stats for players who did not appear in (generally) less than ten games.  When I published my PCL Cyclopedia, I scoured box scores in The Sporting News for those less thans.  

Many times I could find information on those players, but sometimes you just couldn’t figure out who the player was.  One such player was a pitcher named St. Louis who appeared in one game for Sacramento in 1935.  I was unable to find anything about the player in Sacramento papers, and cosigned pitcher St. Louis to the unknown soldier file.  

My last day at the State Library I spent going through the Eureka paper documenting professional leagues that played in and around there.  I knew it to be a hotbed of baseball, and wanted to see what was happening each and every year.  (In 1924, the San Francisco Seals had a team in the league, managed by one-time Seals manager Nick Williams, and had Gus Suhr and Jimmie Reese on the roster.)

In looking to see what was happening in 1936, I came across the headline on the Sports Page: “Wes St. Louis Strikes Out 17.”  Somewhere over the next several weeks the paper mentioned that he was a former Coast Leaguer, which confirmed that he was one and the same player who had appeared for the Sacramento club the year before.

This morning I checked the California Death Index, and now have the following biographical data for Wesley T. St. Louis:
Born: November 12, 1911  California
Died: June 18, 1968  Del Norte Co., CA

As Yogi Berra once said: “You can see a lot by just looking…”