Tuesday, November 29, 2005

From Davis Barker: The 1926 Utah-Idaho League, Batting Less Thans

Click on Images to Enlarge

Monday, November 28, 2005

From The Sporting News, September 30, 1926

From The Sporting News, September 30, 1926.

An Example of how lower leagues tried to keep a competitive balance:

East Texas Re-Elects Fisher
New Rookie Rule Adopted Permitting Only One Class A Player

Tyler, Tex., Sep. 25 — At a meeting of the East Texas League moguls in Paris, T . H. Fisher, prexy for the season just closed, was re-elected president of the loop for next season.  Dr. H. R. Coats, president of the local club last season, was elected to the position of vice-president of the league.

A rookie rule was passed, which was opposed by long one club, Longview.  Only one Class A player may now be carried by each club while five rookies are required to be on the roster.

A Class A player was specified as being a pitcher who had pitched 90 innings of baseball in leagues as high as a Class A league or higher, or a player who has been at bat 150 times in a Class A league or higher.

Note: Salary caps were also big at the time, but with payments under the table going on all the time, a rule like the above appeared to be more enforceable.  Also, the excluding of the bench manager made playing managers much more desirable, and that’s why you see career records of players extended in the lower minors.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

This Week in the California League, September 3-9, 1900

This Week in the California League, September 3—September 9, 1900

Games this week were played on Monday, September 3, Labor Day, and on Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9.

The week ended with San Francisco pulling another half-game closer to the Sacramentos, while Ed Hutchinson dropped back behind recently departed Russ Pace in the batting race.

A single game was played at Rec Park on Monday, September 3. Sacramento bested Oakland 6-2, as Demon Doyle pitched a 4-hitter over former San Diego pitcher, W. E. Farrow (who was listed in the San Diego City Directory as “Pitcher”). The score was 6-2, as Truck Eagan and George McLaughlin both went 3 for 5 to lead the Brewers.

Saturday, September 8, saw another single game played at Rec Park, this time with Stockton coming in for the game against Oakland. George Harper and Doc Moskiman faced off in a 4-3 contest. Harper gave up zero runs on three hits in 8 of the nine inning he pitched. Had in not been for the fourth inning, where he gave up 4 runs on 4 hits, the win would have been his. Moskiman only gave up 3 hits himself in taking his sixth win of the season.

Baseball returned to Snowflake Park in Sacramento with a contest between the two clubs battling for the pennant. The clubs pitted their two best pitchers against one another: Jay Hughes and Ham Iburg. Sacramento batted first, as was the custom in Sacramento, and after McLaughlin got a hit, Iburg’s slow ball shut the home club down. The Wasp scored in their half of the first, and the score remained that way until the fourth, when Sacramento tied the game. In the bottom half of the fourth, the Wasps took the lead by scoring again. San Francisco scored one run apiece in the next two inning to bring the score to 4-1, where it remained for the rest of the game. Jay Hughes, in eight innings, gave up on 5 hits, but combining that with 4 walks and the 5 errors behind him made for the 4-1 finish.

The two also-rans played a doubleheader in the Bay Area on Sunday. At Oakland, in the morning game, W. E. Farrow got his second start of the weekend, and his second loss by a 5-1 margin to Stockton change pitcher George Babbitt.

In the second tilt at Rec Park, Jimmy Whalen got a 10-2 shellacking, as the Dudes returned the favor. Chief Borchers pitched a masterful game, giving up but 6 hits, and striking out 7 men in a season where there weren’t that many strikeouts.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2005

From Davis Barker: The 1925 NY-Penn League, Pitching Less Thans

Friday, November 25, 2005


From "Caught on the Fly," January 7, 1926:

Inadveratantly, in the publication of the Western leagye averages last week, [Clarence] Brooks of St. Joseph was giben credit for stealing 62 bases during the 1925 season. The name should have been [Charley] Gorman of Denver. Gorman led the base runner throughout the season and was the cleverest and fastest thing on the paths in the league.

Note: It was corrected in the guides (believe me, I checked!), but it did give me a start.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Sample from Larry Zuckerman's Forthcoming Book on Coast League Ballparks

Baseball Press hopes to have this book of our late, close friend out in the Spring of 2006. The sample above is one of all the ballparks used between 1903 and 1998 that comprise the book. The format for every park will be similar to that above. Every park, even those used for only one game, are included. It is a major piece of work.

Click on Images to Enlarge

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

From The Sporting News, October 22, 1925

From The Sporting News, October 22, 1925.

Split Seasons in the Texas League:

Texas League club owners have very wisely decided to abolish the split season, observes Otis Harris in the Shreveport Journal.  At their meeting in Dallas, they recorded a majority vote against the practice resorted to almost annually to knife successful teams for the crime of winning more games than their less fortunate colleagues.

It is well to have it over with now and avoid the uncertainty that usually comes in mid-season with one or two teams way out in front and other trailing at more or less respectful distances.  At best, the split is a bushy practice and should never have had part in the Texas League scheme of things. Was first put in effect in 1919, with Shreveport in first place, and fans here thought a deliberate attempt was made to gyp them out of the pennant.  Since Shreveport fans have warmed up to the idea to some extent when the local team was buried in the basement, but however brilliant the idea might have been, it has never struck a really popular chord here or elsewhere.

With the split definitely abolished, club owners and their managers will know where they stand before the season begins.  They will know that they can’t start with misfit crews with the hope that their clubs will be improved as the race progresses and a chance to start over again at the half-way point.

Note:  I always wondered how other leagues handled the split season.  In the Coast League,  except for the 1934 season, where the Los Angeles Angels ran away from the field early on and were forced to split the season, the league set determined the split-season schedule when they drafted their schedule.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

From The Sporting News, 12-5-1907

From The Sporting News, November 5, 1925.

Note: Louie Almada told me, as kids, they’d follow Jimmy O’Connell around.  He was the most friendly player to the kids who shagged fly balls at Washington Gardens Park.  Louie also remembered what a great swing he had.  After he was suspended for his involvement in the 1924 gambling scandal, it was rumored that he was being taken advantage of because of his youth.  I find it hard to believe that somebody who spent three full seasons with San Francisco in the Coast League and two with the Giants would be considered an “innocent,” but here’s one of the stories that came out during the period:

It is reported that an effort to get Commissioner Landis to reinstate Jimmy O’Connell for his part in the 1924 scandal is underway in New York.  One unnamed person is reported to have said that O’Connell was so green  an innocent that he went to the club house to get some left-handed bats at the request of an older player….

O’Connell wound up living in the Central Valley, dying in Bakersfield in 1976.  He worked in oil industry for some 40 years.  

A Letter From David Skinner

A Letter From David Skinner, A Great Researcher & Former Owner of the Bisbee Franchise in the Failed Arizona-Mexico League

Note: David, a longtime friend, wrote me, asking if I knew why Claudio Solano called “El Sordo”(I didn’t), but the letter answers my query about Pittsburgh, so I will pass it on.

      Thanks for the quick reply. Since none of the material I've read on Solano - old newspapers, Mexican baseball magazines, an Arizona-Texas League guide, a Mexican Pacific League guide with a feature about him as MVP, etc.— alludes to him being deaf, I'm going to assume for now that he wasn't.
      I just checked out your blog and it's great— as soon as I can  I'll get back to it. Pittsburg was an optional spelling well into the 20th century; you'll find it both ways even in the 19th century.  Spelling was more casual then than in more recent times. Nothing  
Official, so I don't think you can find a date on this.

From Davis Barker: The 1925 Cotton States League, Pitching Less Thans

Monday, November 21, 2005

While Trying to Find Something Else, I Stumbled Across...

While Trying to Find Something Else, I Stumbled Across the Following…

I had to look something up in 1924 yesterday, so I had to pull the 1900 reel of Sporting News microfilm off the machine, but when I put it back on I found the following note in Caught On the Fly:

“Pitcher Charles Doyle, the Californian, has been given permission to remain on the Pacific Coast for another year. He will therefore not be seen in Pittsburg [when did Pittsburg become Pittsburgh?—cb] this year unless he does phenomenal work or is badly needed by the Pirates.”

Compare that with what Roger Osenbaugh wrote about his disinclination to play in the majors in the 1950s:

“We also made more than we could in the majors. Late in my career the Pirates offered me a contract that was only about 60% of what I was making with the Solons. Couple that with the cost of transporting the family back east, and then finding and paying rent on a second residence, and you see why so many players chose to play at home back then. The financial structure of baseball has changed, but back then it was a real sacrifice for a West Coast ballplayer to player in the majors.”

Time after time one reads about a California player preferring to remain on the West Coast to play. Apart from the top-line players, a California leaguer/Pacific Coast leaguer— throughout history— would make more money by remaining at home to play. The average player might have only made the same amount per month in the PCL, for instance, but the season was at times a month, a few times two months longer, so his yearly salary would be that much more.

California players also complained about the weather back east. Having grown up in both worlds myself, I can tell you that I’d rather play ball on a field in San Diego than one on a field in Chicago in the month of April.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Executive of the Year, 1900-Style

Under the "Players Wanted" section of The Sporting News, I found this advert:

SOBER, fast men for semi-professional team. Must be cheap.
F. L. Dayton, Manager, Sterling, Ill.

Beginning Davis Barker's Statistics Find

Today, and every couple of days until we finish, I will be posting the stats that Davis Barker has put together from The Sporting News' files, less thans that never made it into the baseball guides of the era.

This first set will commence with the less thans players from the Virginia League.

To down load these statistics, click on image to enlarge, go up to file, and then click on "Print." Your printer should do the rest.

1924 Virginia League Batting & Pitching "Less Thans"

Saturday, November 19, 2005

This Week in the California League, August 26—September 2, 1900

This Week in the California League, August 26—September 2, 1900

The pennant race tightened a bit more this week, with the San Francisco Wasps pulling to within 3½ games of the league leading Sacramento Gilt Edge club. The two clubs faced off in the Bay Area. Oakland and Stockton played a two-game set at Goodwater Grove.

On Saturday, September 1, the Wasps clobbered the Gilt Edge at Rec Park in San Francisco 9-0. Ham Iburg pitched the shutout over Demon Doyle. Doyle had but one bad inning, the fourth, were he lost the game by yielding 6 runs. On the slugging side of the ledger, Manager-first baseman Ed Pabst led the Wasps with 4 hits, including 2 triples and a double, in 4 times at bat. George Hildebrand contributed 3 hits to the cause.

At Stockton, Oakland prevailed 5-4 over the home club. Whalen taking his 14th loss, and Doc Moskiman bringing his record up to 5-7.

Sunday at Oakland had Sacramento coming back 8-5 in a game called in the 9th so that the clubs could catch the ferry back to San Francisco for the second game. Brick Devereaux, a spot starter, bested former National League Phil Knell 8-5. Tom Fitzpatrick who came in to relieve Knell after four innings, hit a home run for the losers. Truck Egan led the winners, going 3 for 4 with a triple.

The San Francisco game turned out to be 6-5 affaire, but began as a blowout. Jay Hughes had given up 6 runs by the end of the fourth inning, but gave up one 1 hit the rest of the way. Ham Iburg, who had pitched magnificent ball the day before won his second game of the weekend, but ran out of gas in the later innings, barely pulling out the 6-5 decision.

To close out the weekend, George Harper pitched like his old self, beating Oakland 7-1. Chief Borchers, for the Dudes, had his record fall to 4-10. Borchers, however, didn’t pitch that badly. The score stood at 1-all after seven inning. Then the roof fell in, as he gave up 3-runs in both the eighth and ninth innings.

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

Friday, November 18, 2005

New Stats Found!

I'd like to announce here that Dick Thompson has found statistics for the 1931 and 1933 Cape Cod League, and he has put copies in the mail, and which I will be posting as soon as they arrive. At the time professionals were allowed to play in the league, and Dick has found about a dozen who would make it to the majors, or had already been in the majors

Also, I like to announce that Davis Barker has found a treasure trove of unpublished statistics from the 1920s and 1930s that never made it into print. Davis made a trip to The Sporting News and found them in their files. These are official statistics for players who primarily appeared in less than 10 games, or pitched less than 45 IP.

This is a major, major find. I can't stress this enough. Once I am able to get them together, I will post them over the course of a couple of months.

Here is the list so far:

1924 Virgina League less thans
1925 Cotton States pitching less thans
1925 New York-Penn less thans
1926 Utah League less thans
1927 Lone Stare League less thans
1927 Southeastern League less thans
1928 Utah-Idaho League less thans
1932 Arizona-Texas League less thans
1933 Dixie Association less thans
1933 New York-Penn less thans
1935 Arkansas State League less thans
1936 Arkansas-Missouri League less thans
1936 Canadian-American League less thans
1936 Cotton States League pitching less thans
1936 East Texas League pitching less thans
1936 Evangeline League pitching less thans
1936 Georgia-Florida League pitching less thans
1936 Northern League pitching less thans
1936 Piedmont League pitching less thans
1936 Western League pitching less thans
1937 West Texas-New Mexico League pitching less thans
1938 Evangeline League pitching less thans
1938 Cotton States League pitching less thans
1938 Northern League pitching less thans
1938 Western Association batting less thans
1939 Arizona-Texas batting less thans
1939 Cottons States League pitching less thans
1939 Georgia-Florida League less thans

This may not rewrite the history of minor league baseball, but it's a major find, and we will owe Davis Barker a major thanks!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Update On the California Spirit of the Times Article

An Update On the California Spirit of the Times & Underwriters Article
Carlos,Thanks for posting that nineteenth century pitching article on SABR-L. It confirms what I've always felt about the development of the curve-ball, and adds in a one-of-a-kind batter's perspective on other biographically significant pitching developments. The only thing it missed, in my opinion, was the contribution of George Bradley, 1875-1876. I believe Bradley gave the world the first big curve-ball, the first "yakker". I recall reading about some 1876 game where opposing players jumped out of the batter's box. The fans started hissing and either Jack Clapp or Bob Ferguson called time to explain to the fansthat the ball was indeed curving in the extreme.    I don't know where Cummings "clam-shell" story ever developed and I'm glad Murnane left it out of his narrative. It's possible Cummings clam-shell story didn't exist in 1887. Cumming's career is so lined with contract breaking and false promises to investors that it would not surprise me if his "clam shell" story is a total fabrication. Did the Cal. Spirit of the Times really credit the article to Murran? [Yes, and the Hop Bitters did come to California over the 1879-80 winter—cb] That would be Time Murnane, outfielder of the 1879 Rochester Hop Bitters, who added an "e" to the end of his surname in January (?) of 1887 and became a full-fledged baseball beat writer. I'm also glad Al Spalding is denigrated to having only "improved" the change up. His own recollections of his own career would have you believe he made the National League and that he quit pitching to run his baseball business. (In fact, he was worthless as a pitcher without a curve and without stellar defense behind him. He actually was Chicago's first-baseman in 1877 but was worthless as a batter too. Only then did he euthanize his baseball playing career.)I too am thrilled with the minor leagues. Your web-site is a lot of fun and belies the great amount of research you must have done yourself. My own web-site, under construction, will eventually discuss a number of minor league pennant races. allgamesbaseball.comThank you again,Frank Vaccaro

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

An Update on Don Rowe

An Update on Don Rowe

Dick Beverage wanted my to pass on the following information:

Dick went to Don Rowe’s memorial service, and talked at great length with his widow.  Apparently, every edition since the first Macmillan (I only checked first and last) listed Don Rowe as having a birth date of: April 3, 1936  in  Brawley, CA.  

Prior to that, The Sporting News Baseball Register listed Don Rowe as having been born in 1935: April 3, 1935  in  Brawley, CA.  

Don Rowe’s widow confirmed that The Sporting News had it right, and all the encyclopedias are wrong, and have been wrong since 1969.

In another bit of information that Dick picked up from Mrs. Rowe, he confirmed that Don Rowe was in fact born in Brawley.  Some people have speculated that Rowe might have been born in Compton because his parents had a farm there, and people tend not to move from one farm to another.  Mrs. Rowe told Dick the story of how the family had a farm in Brawley, then moved to Oakland after the Second World War broke, where both parents secured jobs in the defense industry, and once the war ended, moved south to Compton, where they took up farming once again.

A pretty interesting story.  Thanks, Dick!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Unexpected Research

Unexpected Research

As I was saying earlier today, I spent the whole morning chasing down facts when I came across a short note having to do with a trolley accident that Harry Wolverton was involved in while a player with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1900. Wolverton played nine years in the majors, and then went on to a long managerial career.

In The Sporting News note it made mention of Thomas McGuire, of Vallejo, California, having had a similar accident a few years earlier. Two things jumped into my mind over my second cup of coffee, and it forced me to do some research.

The first was I couldn’t remember exactly how the Wolverton accident occurred. The second was that I had Thomas McGuire listed as Thomas A. Maguire.

The first I found in The Sporting News issue of September 8, 1900:

Wolverton Seriously Injured

Philadelphia, Pa. Sept. 6— A serious, and what may prove a fatal accident happened to Third Baseman Harry S. Wolverton last night as he was riding on a trolley car. Wolverton had boarded the car, which was crowded, to go to the Cannstatter Volks Fest celebration in Fairmount Park. Owing to the crowded condition of the car, he stood on the steps and was struck by one of the poles that stood between the tracks. Policeman McElhatton was on the car and hurried to Wolverton’s assistance. He founbd him unconscious, he having, it is thought, been struck on the head, although there were no marks or cuts to prove the theory. At the Samaritan Hospital he was found to have concussion of the brain, and it is feared his skull is fractured. Wolverton has been particularly unfortunate since he has been a member of the Philadelphia Club, having a fractured finger early in the season, and on the Phillies last trip West, being so badly hurt by a ball thrown at him by First Baseman [Dan] McGann of the St. Louis Club, that he was unable to play for a week.

The second problem— that of Maguire/McGuire— took more time, much more time than I originally expected.

In my California database, I had Tom Maguire listed as playing for the following clubs:

Tom Maguire— ss, 3b, of, 1b

1884 SF Stars (Cal)
1885 San Franciscans (Cal)
1886 SF Stars (Cal)
1886 SF Californias/SF Knickerbockers (Cal St)
1887 SF Damianas (PCL)
1892 Vallejo (Cent Cal)
1893 San Francisco (Cal)
1894 SF Californias (Cal Players)
1892 SF Haverlys (Cent Cal)
1898 San Francisco (Pac States)
1899 Oakland (Cal)
1900 Azusa (SoCal)

I picked up the “Maguire” from John Spalding’s marvelous history of the early California League. But in going back over various newspaper box scores I found that virtually all the San Francisco box scores listed him as Maguire, though he was listed as “McGuire” in the 1894 Western League, the 1896 New Pacific League, and the 1900 Southern California League. But because he played most of his career in and around the Bay Area, I— like John Spalding before me— assumed his last name to be Maguire because all the San Francisco papers called him that.

The new bit of information that set me off to take another look was the part of the note that stated he was from Vallejo, California. When I compiled the statistics for the 1892 Central California League, I was forced to get all the box scores out of the Vallejo paper, because San Francisco papers didn’t carry box scores for games played in Vallejo.

(I did most of my work on the 1892 Central California League at the State Library in Sacramento, but because their newspaper holdings for Vallejo start with 1910, I had to drive another 100 miles or so roundtrip up to Vallejo.)

Anyway, I went out to the garage, and went through my 1892 Central California League book with all the box scores, looking box scores and possible game stories for games played in Vallejo, and I found that they had him listed as “McGuire” in all the box scores, and referred to him as Tom McGuire and sometimes as just “Tom” in game accounts, not surprising, I should think, for a hometown boy.

By the time I got through determining that that Thomas A. Maguire was really Thomas A. McGuire, the morning was nearly over. But these are the turns that take place quite often when looking something up.

From The Sporting News, October 27, 1900

From The Sporting News, October 27, 1900

I happened to like weird news, especially in the morning for some reason.  Here’s what I stumbled upon this morning.

[Harry] Wolverton’s trolley car accident last month recalls to some fans a similar one on the line between Minneapolis and St. Paul, a few seasons ago [the 1894 season, to be exact], say an exchange.  Tom McGuire, a gigantic shortstop from Vallejo, Cal., while enjoying a nickel’s worth of scenery, stuck his head out of the car going 40 miles an hour, and bumped a trolley pole. The impact broke the circuit, blew out the switchboards in both power-houses, and tied up the system between St. Paul and Minneapolis for 35 minut6es.  As McGuire got off to look for his hat he said the company should have more sense than to build the poles so close to the track.

Note: I will follow up the post— which should have only taken a couple of minutes out of my life, but in fact took up a whole morning— with another post this evening on what this one post lead me to.  It became a good lesson in what minor league research is all about, and what we are dealing with on a daily basis.  Until this evening.

Monday, November 14, 2005

This Week in the California League, August 20—August 26, 1900

This Week in the California League, August 20—August 26, 1900

Games this week were played in Sacramento and the Bay Area on Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26. After the weekend action, the standings remained pretty much as had been the week prior. The real news took place off the field. The day after taking the lead in the batting race, Stockton catcher Russ Pace jumped to the Montana State League, lured away by “filthy lucre.”

As to the games themselves, home club Sacramento defeated San Francisco on Saturday by a 9 to 5 score, Demon Doyle best Ham Iburg.

At Rec Park in San Francisco, Stockton— sans catcher Pace— defeated Oakland. Jimmy Whalen pitched a six-hit shutout. Both Ernie Courtney and Joe McGuckin got a pair of hits for the winners, both doubles by Courtney. Chief Borchers went the whole way in losing 6-zip.

In the morning tilt at Oakland, the Dudes tried out W. E. Farrow, who pitched for San Diego in the Southern California League in 1899, and until the league folded earlier in the 1900 season. Stockton, as I have mention before, only had two pitchers on the staff, and brought back Jimmy Whalen as the Sunday sacrificial lamb. Farrow won the game 5-1.

Oakland won the afternoon game behind the pitching of Doc Moskiman, who after a very slow start, brought his record up to 4 and 7. George Harper gave up 7 runs on 9 hits for the losers. Final Score 7-3.

At Snowflake park in Sacramento, a pitchers battle ensued Sunday afternoon. Former major leaguers Phil Knell and Jay Hughes faced off against one another, and at the end of hostilities only 1 run had been scored off of them. Knell gave up only 3 hits on the way to his 1-0 victory, striking out 4. Hughes gave up the winning run in the seventh inning for another heartbreaking loss. He stuck out 5 men, and only gave up 6 hit, though two of those in the seventh proved costly.

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

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Note from One of My Favorite Baseball Writers

A Note from One of My Favorite Baseball Writers

Note: David Nemec is one of the best baseball writers ever, if you didn’t know it.  His book The Great Encyclopedia of 19th Century Major League Baseball is one of the classics, and a must-have for any person even remotely interested in the early years of major league ball.  While it is an encyclopedia in the Neft-Cohen sense of the word there is also tons of short articles sprinkled through like the format  the Bill James’ Historical Abstract.   David is very prolific, and I’d be writing for days on all the fine books he has written.  The one above is, however, my favorite, and can be bought, as they say, “wherever fine books are sold.” And, I suppose a few where they’re not!

Your blog is a great contribution and one of my favorite places to wander about.  Thanks for creating it.
I read your Hughes piece hoping for some additional light in a corner of his family history that I've long disputed.
Jay and Mickey Hughes are still being carried as having been brothers.  In your research on Jay, have you found any evidence that they were?  Or were not?
Thanks again.
David Nemec

Second Note: I wrote back to David that,  in all my research, I have never come across any note that the two pitchers were brothers.  And, as a matter of fact, when Jay, Jr. died, The Sporting News didn’t mention that he was the nephew of Mickey Hughes, just that he was the son of…  Once things get into the public record, they are almost impossible to get corrected.  If anyone else has any light to shed on the subject, please contact me, and I will pass it on to David.

Nevada State League Update

Eric Wunderman sent me the following note on the Nevada State League:

My Research suggests that the Nevada State League existed in some form (or was planned) in1908 (with the same four teams), and 1909 (with the addition of Columbia and Virginia City) as well. I have no further information on the league than the franchises (or proposed franchises), and I do not recall where I got this information.

Eric Wunderman

Note: I saw mention of the 1908 league in papers here in California, and I seem to remember it did, at least, get off the ground. About 1909 I know absolutely nothing. Thanks to Eric for the update.

This gets me to thinking about all the other leagues out there, some like the Fox River Valley League in northern Wisconsin that went on for a couple of decades, anyway. And about all the leagues that Davis Barker has found in East Texas. This is why major league research can't hold a candle to minor league research.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

From The California Spirit of the Times & Underwriters Journal, September 17, 1887

From The California Spirit of the Times & Underwriter’s Journal, September 17, 1887:

Note: I found the following article on pitching quite interesting, and thought I’d share it.  The baseball section of the paper was edited by Waller Wallace, who began his sports writing career under tutelage of Henry Chadwick at the Clipper in New York City.  The California Spirit of the Times & Underwriter’s Journal was the paper of record for California baseball in the 1870s and 1880s, and I will print some other interesting articles from time to time from this long-forgotten periodical. There have been many who have opined on where the curveball came from, many of whom state it was Candy Cummings,  but this is from a player who saw it firsthand, and he goes into a lot of detail about the various types of pitches he face during his career.  

The Pitcher’s Art

Our old friend Tim Murran thus most eloquently discourses on the above interesting subject.  He will be remembered as the first base man of the famous Hop Bitters Team, a  nine that wintered out here some years ago [the winter of 1879—c.b.].  It will be seen that Charlie Sweeney tops the record:

It was by slow stages that the present high standing of the pitcher’s art was attained.  Arthur [Candy] Cummings, a Brooklyn youth, was the first to bring into use the out-curve.  He was known as the boy wonder, back in 1869, with the Stars of Brooklyn.  I have heard him tell how he first discovered the curve.  He was pitching against a picked nine one day, and noticed the ball curving.  He had no difficulty in striking the batsman out, and went home that night and tried to study out the phenomenon.  Next day he invited some gentleman friends out to see him work.  They laughed at him, and when he tried to convince them that he could accomplish what he claimed he failed; no doubt in his anxiety he sent the ball too fast, and very little curve can be got on a speedy-pitched ball.  He was not discouraged, however, but went with his catcher next day and learned that the curve came from a certain twist he gave his wrist.  He worked hard until he got control of the new move and then astonished the scientific world. Cummings was of slight build, his pitching was very graceful, and his curve was of the sailing kind, much like Crauthers’ of the St. Louis Browns.

Matthews [actually Bobby Mathews] was undoubtedly the first pitcher to work the raise ball, as far back at 1869.  I never saw him pitch an out-curve until 1878, and faced his pitching for several years before that.  In 1878, Matthews was with the Worcesters and pitched against the Bostons, defeating them.  He had changed his style altogether from previous years, and adopted one-arm Daily’s style, that is, making a double motion by drawing back before delivering the ball.  With his headwork and the addition of the curve, he jumped into the front ranks once more.

In 1872 [William] Avery, the famous Yale pitcher, discovered the “in-shoot.”  I don’t think he could curve a ball, at least I never saw him do it, and I hit against his pitching several times.  His effectiveness was handicapped by his inability of any catcher to hold him, as without doubt the “in-shoot” is the most difficult ball to handle, for in those days were not protected with gloves or masks.

Fred Nichols, better known as “Tricky Nick,” was the first to make good use of the drop ball. He was a great puzzle to the heavy hitters in 1875-6.  At Bridgeport and New Haven, Conn., Nichols got a great drop on the ball, when pitchers had to keep their hand below the belt, which would puzzle any of our twirlers of the present day to accomplish.

The next ball that seemed to bother the batters was introduced by [Harry] McCormick of the Stars, of Syracuse.  This young pitcher had Mike Dorgan, now of the New Yorks, for catcher.  They shut out about all the crack clubs of the country that paid them a visit.  The ball he deceived the batsmen with was a raise curve, now used by [Old Hoss] Radbourn, of the Bostons.  He gave his field easy chances; the out-field had most of the work to do off his pitching.  I never saw him pitch a ball below a man’s belt.  He had perfect control of the ball and a cool head.

The curve-drop was first worked by the “only Nolan” [now listed in encyclopedias as “The Only Nolan”] at Columbus, Ohio, in 1876.  For several seasons he fooled the best batsmen.

All these different curves, raises, shoots and drops were discovered by different people.  It is now no unusual thing to find a pitcher with all these wrinkles that they keep working up.  Change of pace was most beautifully illustrated by Al. Spalding in the old Boston champions. Tim Keefe, of the New Yorks is now the most successful in that line, while [John] Clarkson of the Chicagos, is also working the change of pace to good advantage.  Will White and John Ward were about the first to work the sharp curve and “in-shoot” as far back as 1878.  One of the greatest pitchers, if not the greatest that ever twirled the ball, was Charley Sweeney, who was with the Providence club in 1883-4.  He was the first and only man that I ever saw who would curve an out-ball to a left hand batsman. Several of the pitchers can get a shoot, but his was a clean curve.  He has the unequaled record, up to the present day, of nineteen strike-outs in one game.

Friday, November 11, 2005

This Week in the California League, August 13—August 19, 1900

This Week in the California League, August 13—August 19, 1900

Games this week were played in Stockton and the Bay Area on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19. This week San Francisco slipped back half a game on the leaders, while Oakland moved to 10½ back.

The two Bay Area clubs faced off this weekend, with Oakland losing a close 5-4 game on Saturday, but sweeping the Wasps on Sunday. On Saturday, the Dudes knocked Tom Fitzpatrick by scoring 4 runs in the seventh inning. The Wasps got a run in the eighth, and Ham Iburg— who had relived Fitzpatrick— shut the Dudes down for the rest of the game. Final score: 5-4.

On Sunday morning at Oakland, the San Francisco Chronicle reported: “[Phil] Knell was so easy to find on the Oakland Grounds yesterday morning that but seven innings of ball could be played.” The game had to be called with one out in the eighth, so the teams could catch the ferry back to San Francisco for the afternoon game. Chief Borchers won the game 9-5, and Hienie Krug hit his fourth home run of the season, a swat that went to the far centerfield corner of the park.

The afternoon contest turned out to be a sloppy 11-7 affair, marred by 9 errors, though it didn’t start out that way. San Francisco took the lead in the first when Manager-first baseman Ed Pabst hit a three-run home run. San Francisco looked like they would win the nightcap going away, piling up a 6-0 lead by the sixth inning. Then the roof feel in on Ham Iburg: He gave up 8 runs on 7 hits, fourteen men coming to bat. Doc Moskiman survived a rocky early going to take the win.

Stockton lost to Sacramento on Saturday, 6-1. Jimmy Whalen took the loss, and Demon Doyle brought his record up to 10-12 with a 4-hitter.

On Sunday, the tables were turned. George Harper bested Jay Hughes 5-2. The game last ten innings before Hughes tired. As the recap states in the San Francisco Examiner:

“In the tenth inning the mighty Jay Hughes distributed the confetti, filling the bases by allowing three hits in succession and then passing three men to first.”

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

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The 1907 Nevada State League Games Scores

A New Minor League, the 1907 Nevada State League

When I was working on compiling stats for the 1907 Pacific Coast League, I found mention that a number of Coast Leaguers were appearing in the new Nevada State League after the PCL contracted from six to four teams.

I knew nothing about the league, and contacted Gary Fink. Gary knew as little as I did, but wrote back, telling me that he would take a look to see what he could find.

The above standings are what Gary came up with. The following chart are the games scores. Gary is now collecting what box scores that are available, and hopefully he will be able to come up with enough for individual statistics.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Thinking About Jay Hughes

I got to thinking about Jay Hughes last night, and thought I'd write about what I know about him, and about what I don't know about him. James Jay Hughes was born on January 22, 1874 in Sacramento, CA, and died there on June 2, 1924. In the encyclopedias, he was listed as "Jim Hughes" though he was always know as "Jay." To this date we still don't have a height for him, though the encyclopedias list him with a weight of 185 pounds.

Hughes was a very good pitcher from 1898 through 1904, winning 83 games in the majors and 59 in the PCL, plus his 1900 California League season: Starting in 1898 he's 23-12 (NL); 1899, 28- (NL); 1900, 24-10 (Cal); 1901, 17-12 (NL); 1902, 15-10 (NL); 1903, 34-15 (PCL); 1904, 26-18 (PCL). After that, I don't know what happened to him in 1905, then he pitches a single game for the San Francisco Seals on April 8, 1906, and the following season he pitches seven innings for the Seals in a losing effort. That's it, I have nothing more after that game.

While I have never put together his career record, I have the following stops listed for him:
1893 Sacramento (Cal)
1894 Sacramento (Cal P)
1898 Batimore (NL)
1898 Sacramento (PCL)
1899 Sacramento (Cal)
1899 Brooklyn (NL)
1900 Sacramento (Cal)
1900 Anaconda (Montana St)
1901 Brooklyn (NL)
1902 Brooklyn (NL)
1903 Seattle (PCL)
1904 Seattle (PCL)
1906 Sacramento (Cal St)
1906 San Francisco (PCL)
1907 San Francisco (PCL)

Jay Hughes didn't like pitching in the East, and refused to pitch for the Brooklyn club in 1900, and in 1903. On both ocassions, the league he pitched in chose to become an outlaw league to keep Hughes pitching in his hometown.

What I don't know is what he did after pitching for the Seals in 1906, and before and after his 5-23 start in 1907. He apparently didn't pitch in the California State League like his contemporary, Cack Henley. He might have pitched in the San Joaquin Valley or Sacramento Valley Leagues, but I have, as yet, not researched those leagues during the years in question.

Jay Hughes died on June 2, 1924, and last night I found the following wire service note about his death:

To me it sounds like Jay Hughes' death was that of a drinking man. Was that what caused his career to end so abruptly? I don't know, but I can't remember any mention of a drinking problem. Additionally, the wire service article seems to indicate Hughes died in or around Walnut Grove, California rather than Sacramento. Walnut Grove lies some twenty-five miles south of Sacramento. Another change to the encyclopedias, I believe.

One other note: In the above AP story, it mentions Jay Hughes, Jr. playing with Evansville.
The son also had a tragic death: I belive he died in 1935, his playing career over in the depths of the Depression. Jay, Jr. drove over to where his estranged wife was living, parked his car, and blew his brains out.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This Week in the California League, August 6—August 12, 1900

This Week in the California League, August 6—August 12, 1900

Games this week were played in Stockton and the Bay Area on Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12.

This weekend, the pennant race tightened ever so slightly, with Sacramento winning two out of three from Oakland, while San Francisco picked up half a game on the leaders by sweeping the series against Stockton.

On Saturday, Sacramento and Oakland battled for ten innings, before Demon Doyle gave up the winning run with one out in the tenth. Chief Borchers went the distance for Oakland. Final Score 6-5. Buck Francks hit a home run for the winners.

At Stockton, Tom Fitzpatrick bested manager George Harper 9-4. The game was almost over in the first when the Wasp scored 4 runs.

Sunday had Jimmy Whalen and Ham Iburg hooking up in Stockton. It was a sloppily played game on both side with a dozen errors, 7 walks and 17 hits. The score stood tied at four at the end of seven, but San Francisco scored three in the eighth to put the game away. Final score: 7-4, San Francisco.

In the morning game at Oakland, Sacramento beat the Dudes 8-4. Buck Francks continued his heavy hitting for the losers, going 3 for 4 with a triple. Hen Stultz went 3-3 for the Sactos.

Jay Hughes brought his record up to 16-2 with a 3-1 six-hitter, and helped his cause with a triple and run scored. Brick Devereaux banged out 3 hits for the winners. Chief Borchers went the distance for Oakland, and went pitch-to-pitch with Jay Hughes until the eighth, when he gave up 2 runs to lose the contest.

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

Monday, November 07, 2005

How to Print Career Records

Several people have asked me how to print out the career records, so I will do that.

First, click on the image to enlarge it.

Then go up to "file" on your browser, scroll down to "print" and click on that, and that should do it.

Al Jacinto Died in August

Al Jacinto, who played parts of two season with the Seals, died in Sacramento in August. What I immediately noticed about his record, when I began putting it together, was how many walks he received in an era when base-on-ball wnet largely unnoticed. He probably would have gone higher in O. B. had he been playing today. Also check out his Runs totals.

Al Jacinto is the last player in this series of recently deceased players that I picked up from Dick Beverage's PCL Potpourri.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Correction to Ray Bauer's Record

Thanks to Ed Washuta, I am able to correct an error I made in Ray Bauer's career record. Somehow I read "Raymond" when the TSN guide clearly stated"Robert Bauer." This is one of the reasons why it is so nice to do minor league research-- the people out there who help. Thanks Ed!

Carlos --
The playing record for Ray Bauer on minorleagueresearcher.blogspot.com included 2 games pitched for Lincoln (Western). According to my records, those games belong to Robert L Bauer, a pitcher for several other Braves affiliates from 1951 to 1953. Most of Ray Bauer's other games played were for Cubs affiliates. Could this be an error?
Fantastic website!
-- Ed Washuta

Cal Hogue Died in August

Cal Hogue, who played the parts of two seasons with the Hollywood Stars, died at age 77 in Kettering, Ohio.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ray Bauer Died in June

Ray Bauer, who pitched four season in the Coast League, died in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. After his years in baseball, spent mostly as a left-handed relever, he began a career in higher education. For thirty-three years he was on the faculity of North Carolina Weslleyan. The baseball field there is named in his honor.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Stars' & Rainiers' Infielder Monty Basgall Died in September

As Basgall's career wound down, he began a managerial career. He began at Waco in the Big State League in 1956. He was also player-manager at Beaumont and Lincoln in suceeding season. He returned to managing in 1971 and 1972 in the Texas League. He also coached and scouted in the Dodgers organization.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Solons' Outfielder Al Anicich Died in August

Outfielder Al Anicich, who played briefly in the Sacramento Solons' system, died in his hometown of Sacramento on August 8, 2005.

Click on Career Record to Enlarge

Deaths in the PCL

In Pacific Coast League Potpourri, I noticed that there were five players who appeared in the Coast League for whom I had not posted career records.

Over the next five days, I will compiled and post career records for these players:

Al Anicich

Monty Basgall

Ray Bauer

Cal Hogue

Al Jacinto

I believe that this is gthe least we can do for these players. In about an hour I will have Al Anicich.

If anyone out there would like to put togerther of recently deceased player, who didn't appear in the Coast League, I'd be happy to post it. I'm doing the Coast League because it's the league I have the most interest in, but my interest isn't limited to that league, nor are the readers of this blog.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This Week in the California League, July 30—August 5, 1900

Games this week were played in Sacramento and the Bay Area on Saturday and Sunday, August 4th and 5th.

On Saturday at Rec Park Stockton and San Francisco played a seesaw battle, with San Francisco coming out on top of a 6-5 score, winning in the bottom of the tenth with none out. After Stockton got a man on in the top of the inning— and failing to bring him around— George Hildebrand lead off with a bunt single, followed by a base-on-balls to Charlie Schwartz. Then manager Ed Pabst hit a clean single right, and Hildebrand trotted home for the winning tally. Jimmy Whalen took his tenth loss, and Tom Fitzpatrick brought his record up to 8 and 9. Joe McGuckin had 4 hits, including a triple.

At Sacarmento’s Snowflake Park, the Gilt Edges prevailed over Oakland, though Chief Borchers struck out 7 Sacramento batters. Demon Doyle chalked up the win.

Sunday Stockton and San Francisco split a doubleheader. In morning contest, Jimmy Whalen out pitched Phil Knell— one of the first California-born pitchers in the majors, where he won over 20 games on two occasions— winning 6-2. Knell only gave up 5 hits, but walked a like number, and that was his downfall.

In the nightcap, Ed Pabst hit a home run and Heinie Krug went 4 for 5 in a 15-5 blowout. Manager George Harper “took one for the team,” pitching the whole, sorry game.

Over at the state capital, Truck Eagan hit his 6th home run of the season, and Jay Hughes got back into the rotation. Hughes pitched like he had all season: giving up 1 run on 6 hits, striking out 6 and walking only one man.

This week, San Francisco edged a bit closer to the league leaders, and edging over .500 for the first time this season.

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

From The Pacific Coast League Potpourri

In the October issue, I found the following item, which I believe resulted from a converation Dick and I had. We were trying to remember when the league office went east.

As I said in the earlier post, I believe that his newsletter is one of the best bargins in baseball. Normally each issue contains a short research article by Dick, then followed by news of players or the research on the league or books about the laeague, and finally short obits of players who have died since the last issue. That last item is worth the price in itself, as many of the players never appeared in the majors, and their obits probably would go unoticed without Dick Beverage's proactive interest.

The susbscription is $15.00 per year, and you can get it by writing The PCL Historical Society @ 420 Roninson Circle, Placentia, CA 92870

Click on Image to Enlarge

1900 California League Season Stats

When I have finished my compilation of the 1900 California League season, I will post the complete record for batting and pitching. While all the categories for batting were published in the baseball guides, it did not include all the players in the league (no players who appeared in less than 15 games) or identify those players with a first name. The only pitching stats published were games pitched, so what I publish will be completely new.

This evening I will post an interesting article that I found by Dick Beverage in his newsletter Pacific Coast League Potpourri, the best bargin in baseball at $15.00 a year for 6 information-filled issues. It can be subscribed to by sending a check to The Pacific Coast League Historical Society @ 420 Robinson Circle, PLacentia, CA 92870.