Sunday, April 30, 2006

From The Sporting Life, August 24, 1901.

From The Sporting Life, August 24, 1901.

Another Minor League I just happened to stumble across in those year before the National Association, and while looking for something else:

North Carolina League

The Championship Season Prematurely Closed.

The Championship season of the North Carolina League came to a premature end on Aug. 17, the Charlotte team withdrawing on that date, owing to alleged unfair treatment by the League officials in the matter of umpire assignments. Raleigh and Wilmington are now engaged in an 11-game post-season series between themselves. Following is the final League record:

Clubs Won Lost Pct

Raleigh 23 - 9 .719

Tarboro 15 - 17 .469

Wilmington 14 - 19 .424

Charlotte 14 - 19 .424

Note: This shouldn’t be a hard league for someone in that part of the country to do. A nice, short season. And who knows what players may show up in the league. This league is not included in Lloyd Johnson’s The Minor League Encyclopedia.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Just a quick note to let all know that the last set of The Coast League Cyclopedia has been sold, so will no longer be avialable.

From Davis Barker: Found in The Sporting News, May 25, 1939

From Davis Barker: Found in The Sporting News, May 25, 1939

I once had a friend who decided he wanted to go to Alaska to get rich quick because of all the jobs they were offering went they first started drilling for oil. So he left Chicago in the dead of night…and drove through the night without stopping…and the next morning, in the light of day, he found himself in Pennsylvania. My friend never to admit a mistake, spent 10 or so years in Pennsylvania, got married, before returning to Chicago

Here’s a baseball themed one from Davis Barker:

Identified by the means of a telegram from the Jersey club, found in his pocket, Ernest Sulik, outfielder recently transferred by the Dallas Rebels to the International League club, was released from a hospital in Fresno, Cal., where he had been taken, suffering from amnesia. He was sent to the hospital when he was found in a Fresno bus station, unable to identify himself.

Davis asked what had become of him…and maybe I’ll see if I can come up with anything in the next week or so.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Letter From Dick Thompson

A Letter from Dick Thompson On his Current Project, Cannonball Bill Jackman

Dick would like any help any of you can come up with on Jackman’s stint out here in California. If anyone comes up with anything, please let me know, and I will forward it on to Dick Thompson. Thanks.


I have sent you a copy of the sports page from the Portland (Maine) Press Herald of July 18,1947. Please note the column in the upper left hand corner of the page. It is about Cannonball Bill Jackman who is the subject of my current research project. To date I have Jackman at 123 wins and 48 losses and between 1925 and 1947. I know that Jackman pitched between 1917 and 1952. I suspect that there are at least 500 Jackman wins out there and my current goal is to document at least 300 of them.

Jackman worked mainly for the Philadelphia (Colored) Giants as they barnstormed around New England in the Twenties and Thirties. From my review of the Philadelphia Tribune I know that there was a Philadelphia Giants entry in the California Winter League. I know that Biz Mackey and Joe Rogan played for that squad but prior to this 1947 article I did not have any reason to suspect that Jackman also pitched out there. I had located a note in the Brockton, Massachusetts paper in the spring of 1928 that said that the New England version of the Giants had just come from the West Coast there they had been involved with the Oakland PCL team in a series of games. I had assumed that the Brockton paper had there facts wrong.

I am hoping you can post this article and this email. If any of your readers can document Bill Jackman in California I would greatly appreciate that information.


Dick Thompson

Cannonball Bill Jackman Article

Click on Article Image to Enlarge

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nap Rucker

Click on Career Record to Enlarge

I just noticed that somebody place a comment about Nap Rucker's early career, and it just so happens that his record is included in The Historical Register. Apart from all the Hall of Famers, we have included complete career records of all the Black Sox players, and every player who appeared in The Sporting News' Eight editions of Daguerreotypes. The career records of the players contained in the book are unique to The Historical Register. It's not a cut and paste effort; incredible amounts of research went into fleshing out the records. If you have an Encyclopedia, then you have to have The Historical Register to go along with it. Each edition contains new and updated material.

· The Historical Register, Fourth Edition, 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

· The Historical Register, Fourth Edition, compiled by Numerous SABR Members

This work presents the complete career records¾ major, minor and independent leagues, even semipro¾ 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 published¾ 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

Add $5.00 shipping & handling, plus 8.25% sales ytax for those who buy it in California.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

John Benesch on the 2006 Sporting News Baseball Guide


Received my 2006 TSN Guide in the mail yesterday.

In identifying the SL batting leaders, TSN lists “Young” as the Slugging Leader at .545. There is a Christopher Young [Birmingham] in the stats who compiled a .545 Slugging Average.

There is also a Delmon Young [Montgomery] who fell short of qualifying by having only 370 Plate Appearances [vs. the 378 required for qualifying].

By adding the shortfall ['ghost' appearances] to his ABs [330] we come up with a Slugging Average of .568 [192 TB's / 338 ABs].

By this process, the Southern League 2005 'Slugging' leader should be Delmon Young [actual figure: .582].


This, of course, is not a Sporting News error, but an error on the part of the statisticians. Most people never check to see if theoretical PAs would make somebody a league leader in either batting or slugging.

Thanks, John.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

From The Pacific Coast League Potpourri, April

Click on Image to Enlarge

The new PCL Potpourri just came out, and the one thing that caught my eye was the above, which listed the oldest living PCL players. But what I found even more interesting was the list of possible living players. If anybody has any information on those oldtimers, please let me know.

One player, Steve Coscarart, I believe is still alive, because researchers here in San Diego are in contact with the family, and his obit would have shown up in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

As always, you can subscribe for $15.00 by sending check or money order to:

The Pacific Coast League Historical Society
420 Robinson Circle
Placentia, CA 92870

Monday, April 24, 2006

PCL Pinch Hitting in 1903

Click on Image to Enlarge

One of the things that I had always wondered about, but never wanted to spend the time doing much about, was early pinch hitting. With an upgraed of the stat-compiling software I use, StatTrak 10.0, I was able to tease out the pinch hitting stats for the 1903 PCL season.

I would say 95%+ of the pinch hitting that season was done in the last inning of a game, and the pinch hitter batted for the pitcher. Roster were small, and so a manager's options were limited.

What is amazing, though, is the numbers: Pinch hitters compiled a .307 batting average in a season where the final batting average for all players was .260. Of course, pitchers hitting for themselves brought that average down, but still the gap would be large. And an enormous edge over the pitchers.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

1933 Dixie League, Less Thans Pitching

Click on Image to Enlarge

Saturday, April 22, 2006

From Davis Barker: The 1933 Dixie League, Batting Less Thans

Click on Images to Enlarge

Getting back to normal, Davis Barker compiled these stats from various sorces, and have never been published before. We can't thnak him enough for letting us post the following material. Pitching will be published tomorrow.

Friday, April 21, 2006

From Davis Barker Found in TSN, Jan. 1939

From Davis Barker: Found in The Sporting News, January 1939

Too Many Baseballs Lost on Homers, Spa Will Heighten Fence

HOT SPRING, Ark.—  Too many baseballs went over the short right field fence at the home field of the Hot Springs Bathers last season, so they’re going to raise the barrier this year.

Officials of the Spa club hadn’t planned to do much improving to Ban Johnson Field this year until they read the report of Club Secretary Warren Banks.  It showed an expenditure of $894.04 for baseball, 84 dozen of them.  Most of them, Banks explained, went over the 200-foot right field fence.  So the club decided to raise the fence by 15 feet, along with the other improvements

More home runs were hit in the Spa park last year than in any other park in the Cotton States circuit.  Club officials also pointed out that the short field had long been a hindrance to pitchers, many fly balls which should have been easy outs going for easy outs going for hits against or over the barrier.

This got me thinking about Gavvy Cravath.  With the short right field fence at Baker Bowl, he— or so I thought— changed his swing to hit balls over that short barrier.  Larry Zuckerman found so many home run balls by Cravath going over the right field fence, he asked me if were possible that Cravath might have been a left-handed hitter.  I did some checking, and found an article about Cravath aiming for the inviting right field porch.  I thought that it began in Philadelphia.

Later on, I found that Cravath began experimenting with the inside out swing to take advantage of the Minneapolis ballpark, Nicollet Park, prior to that.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Independent Baseball in the 1920s, Part Three & Final

Independent Baseball in the 1920s, Part Three & Final Part

As I said when I began this essay, I’ve had problems with people dealing with leagues that are not in Organized Baseball.  Many researchers ignore them completely.  

But should we?  Should we ignore the San Joaquin Valley League or the Midwest League of the early 1920s?  What do we do about the Chicago City League?  For many years, a player would make more in that league on a weekend than he would playing in “D Ball” for a whole month.  The same for the San Francisco City in one season in the 1920s.  Judge Landis call the San Francisco City League an outlaw league one season.

What about the 1928 through 1936 California State League that Ken Camozzi’s grandfather pitched in, or Jerry Coleman’s father played in?  John Spalding called it a semipro league— but the Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds had farm clubs in the league.  

The two seasons the San Joaquin Valley League was in O. B. were probably the two weakest seasons as far as players were concerned.   The reason for this was they problems these leagues had with population and salary requirements in O. B.   People in the Central Valley expected a higher caliber of ball than they would be allowed under Organized Baseball rules.  The towns were too small, and they had too much money to spread around.

Personally, I think we should handle them like we do leagues in the 19th Century.  If they are good leagues, include them in the whole scheme of minor league baseball.  If not, consign them to semipro status.  But no matter what they are, they are part of the great canvass of American baseball, and I will continue to research these leagues, especially here in California.  But there are strong— non-O.B.—leagues throughout the country prior to World War Two that should be researched.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Independent Baseball in the 1920s, Part Two

Independent Baseball in the 1920s, Part Two

Salaries shot up overnight for the average to above average player, and it got so bad that in 1924 (as I remember, but it could be 1923) The Sporting News had an article where they quoted Baseball Commissioner Judge Landis expressing his doubts about the survival of major league baseball because teams MLB teams might not be able to compete against real industrial giants for the services of ball players.  The implication being that Baseball Magnates were but small business men being forced out of business by the Wal-Marts of the day.

This whole independent-industrial teams phenomena began, as far as I can tell, about the mid-teens. Apparently, companies decided to incorporate athletics into their industrial relations programs, both for keeping their workers fit and keep their minds off dwelling about their lot in life.  These companies were more often than not in smaller cities, where diversions were less prevalent; e.g., Beloit, Akron, Kenosha, Racine, Canton, Bethlehem, PA, and so on.   To attract workers from the big cities, these companies needed some type of athletic pastimes. 

Gradually, these teams became symbols of pride for both management and the workers, representing both the town and the company of these one-company towns.  Real rivalries sprang up between neighboring towns, and rival companies.  Firms sensed this added dimension, and began importing a ringer or two. 

In the case of Beloit, the company imported Al Chubb from the Chicago City League to set up its athletic program.  Over time, he brought in players from Chicago.  The real quantum leap in the quality of players began, however, in the war-shortened season of 1918.  General Crowder's work or fight order made ballplayers scramble to find jobs in what was called "vital industries" as quickly as students in the 60s applied to graduate school.   The shipbuilder and steelmakers' leagues on both coasts that season had probably the highest ball ever played outside of the majors. The Harlan team of Wilmington, Delaware  boasted the services of Rogers Hornsby, Joe Jackson, Patsy Gharrity and Lefty Williams to name only the ones I remember from the Harlan roster. Other teams in the league boasted rosters only a tad below that.  Buck Weaver wound up with his buddy Al Chubb in Beloit, along with Dickie Kerr.  (Chubb wanted to sign Weaver after the Black Sox  scandal broke, but the other league people passed a no-dumper provision, even though the league employed Bill Rumler who had been suspended from the Coast League for five years for his part in the 1920 gambling scandal.)

Management saw the effect of their workers being represented on the field by the likes of well-known ballplayers.  There was virtually no talk of strikes in some plants, and talk of the team was everywhere. Management knew they wouldn't be able to pay the salaries of the Babe Ruths or other stars, but they realized they could sign virtually any of the other regulars, and many of the better— though not best— pitchers.  And management eventually got a case of George Steinbrenneritis. 

To illustrate management's commitment to the teams they organized, let me quote an article about the coming season from the Beloit Daily News of April 5, 1923 under the headline of Fairy Pitchers Leave for South:  "Beloit Fairy pitchers— Vaughn, Cashion, Noyes, Zabel, Kemman— leave Beloit today, April 5- for Hot Springs, Ark., where they will take a week-long conditioning drill before being joined by the remainder of the factory squad, due to leave for the southland April 11.  Manager Chubb will accompany the pitchers to Hot Springs, and will be on hand to pray for less rain at that resort than has been the portion of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Red Sox-- which clubs have been wallowing through three weeks of soggy weather there." 

Spring training, huh?   And yes, the Vaughn is Hippo, and, yes, the Davenport is Dave, and, yes, the Noyes is Win, and yes, the Zabel is Zip, yes, yes.  Apart from a good salary and easy life of four games a week, they were offered the possibility an occupation after they their careers ended, if they so chose.

This escalated until about the mid-1920s, when the bean counters got control of the operations and began to reign in the excesses in athletic programs.  

Nevertheless,  some of these industrial teams lasted up until the 1960s, with names I can remember like the Phillips 66 Oilers in basketball.  (That's not to mention the Chicago American Gears, the Zollner Pistons, and others.) 

The Sheboygan Redskins were a continuation of the Sheboygan Chair Company basketball team; the baseball team wound up in O. B. under the guidance of Joe Hauser in 1939. 

The Fairbanks-Morse Basketball team lasted at least up until the early 1960s, and maybe into the 1970s.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Independent Baseball in the 1920s, Part One

Independent Baseball in the 1920s, Part One

One of the things I have come up across very often is the resistance to including independent leagues in the whole scheme of minor league baseball.  The other thing I come across is the belief that independent ball came about with Miles Wolff in the 1990s.

In the early days, every minor league was an independent league.  Then the National Agreement came into effect, which only protected signatories’ contract from poaching by other signatories.  Most leagues remained independent (non-signatory) or outlaw (meaning that they did not respect contracts of other leagues).  Then in 1902, the National Association was formed, which created Organized Baseball for the first time.  Independent baseball remained strong, and continued that way up until the First World War.  That brings up to what I consider the first real threat to Organized Baseball, beginning with the end of World War One.  And I would also like to make a comment on are salaries of the early to mid-1920s.  From what I've seen, salaries must have gone up over 50% by 1923 or 1924, primarily driven by industrial league teams, but also by the inflation of the post-WWI period, which drove up salaries in all sectors.
When I was compiling statistical data for players included in The Historical Register who spent time in independent leagues around the country, I was surprised to find out much money was being thrown around by those teams and leagues.   To give one example, Hippo Vaughn's salary with the Cubs in 1921 was $3,500 or $4,000; for 1922, he signed a contract with the Beloit team (sponsored by the engine maker, Fairbanks-Morse) calling for a salary of $7,500.  By the time he pitched his last season with the Beloit Fairies, he had become what they called in those days,  A Ten-Thousand-Dollars-A -Year Man.  (By the way, for all you Black Sox fans, Dickie Kerr also in the appeared in the league that year.)  As a matter of fact, in 1922, the Midwest League had 52 major leaguers on the rosters of the six teams during the season (and the other roster spots seemed to be filled by Association players).  The number two pitcher for the Beloit Fairies was Dave Davenport.  Patsy Gharrity did the catching.  The Midwest League had teams sponsored by Nash Motors, Simmons Mattress, etc., later years had teams sponsored by Spencer Coal in Chicago, Chicago Steel Mill, Studebaker, etc.  The Midwest League played well over hundred games a season.  Most of these companies also supported football teams in the fall, and basketball teams in the winter.  This, the Midwest League, was only one league.  In Central Illinois there was the Central Illinois Industrial League that had baseball teams like the Decatur Staleys (with Joe McGinnity, Chuck Dressen and George Halas, and whose football team-- "managed" by Halas— became the Chicago Bears),  the Springfield Watch company, and Sinclair Oil's Havolines among others.   (The Beloit football team was so loaded one season, that they knocked off one of Curly Lambeau's Packer teams.)

In Ohio, the tire companies had teams and leagues.  In Pennsylvania, the steel companies had the Steel League, where they would hire the likes of a Joe Harris off the Senators' roster.  In Arizona and northern Mexico, they had the Cooper League— where all the 1919 dumpers wound up except Joe Jackson, who tried to hold out— and the Mining League around Cananea, Sonora.  In California, they had the San Joaquin Valley League, whose teams looked like veritable Coast League All-Star teams, and supported by agricultural interests.  Frank Shellenback, the great minor league pitcher, couldn't hold on to his roster spot after Fresno brought in Hub Leonard for two years, before the major leaguer returned to Detroit in 1924.  Shellenback when down a rung to the Raisin Belt League. Sailor Stroud pitched for Hanford in 1921 or 22.  After Hardrock Lane of  Salt Lake couldn't match the salary of that San Joaquin Valley League club, Lane turned around and sold Stroud's contract to the Yankees.  Stroud, as explained by the Bakersfield Daily Californian, refused to report to New York because he didn't want to take a cut in pay playing for the Yankees. 

The West Texas oil fields is another area where ballplayers wound up, and should prove a veritable gold mine for researchers.  If one looks at many of the records of minor league stars of the 1930s, most of those players seem to disappear from the scene for several years.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Another Bill James

Another Bill James

Ken Camozzi sent me the following letter, and the follow-up letter.  When I was compiling my Cyclopedia, I threw up my hands on trying disentangle the then two Bill James, and asked “so-called” minor league expert Bob Hoie (who had compiled records for the two players, and considered himself an expert on the two pitchers) to help me straighten out the careers of the two players.  The pitcher in 1919 was— according to Hoie— was William Lawrence “Oroville Bill” James, and he pitched for both Portland and Oakland that season.  As with much of the data Bobbie Hoie has given me, the Bill James  stuff turned out to be erroneous.  

I never compiled any averages for 1919, so I can’t be sure I would have picked it up or not, but it looks like we have a new Bill James, William A. “Lefty” James. And all thanks go to Ken Camozzi, admittedly not a Bill James expert until now.

Hi Carlos,

I¹ve been busy going through all my 1918 clippings and cross referencing names in the PCIL records you sent me. A friend up in Seattle spent a lot of time making copies of almost every PCIL related page in the Seattle and Portland papers, plus I own a copy of the 1918 Sporting News on microfilm and have online access to the Oakland Tribune
(  Lots of source material.

Anyway, I¹m finding lots of missing first names. Plus I found Nick Williams one game was not recorded. Found ³Lefty² James first name as Bill. Crossed referenced his name in your PCL records books. Found “Big Bill” and “Seattle Bill” but no “Lefty”. Plus both James' listed are right handed. But the fact that “Seattle Bill” James played for Portland in 1919 peaked my curiosity, since "Lefty James" played in the PCIL in 1918. So I did a quick search of the Oakland Tribune and found “Lefty James” opening the PCL season with Portland then released on May 1. Dug a little deeper and found “Oroville Bill” James joining Oakland on June 27. He was still property of the Boston Braves until Oakland purchased him outright on July 3, 1919. I also checked the LA Times through my SABR account and it seems to confirm what I've found.

Here are some clippings. Could this Be a third Bill James? I was wondering
what your thoughts were regarding the possibility.

I also found that Nick Williams played one game in the 1919 PCIL, but wasn't recorded in the records you recently shared with me. Also the Mails,—— is actually Walter Mails, he pitched the last game for Aberdeen (my grandpa played second...a rare thing to see a lefty at second).

Ken Camozzi

After Ken wrote me the above, and I determined that the player was in fact William A. “Lefty” James.  As to Bobbie Hoie, the old saw seems to fit— “Many times wrong— but never in doubt…”

Hi Carlos,

Here's what I've found. I’m looking at the 1919 Bill James “Orville Bill” in your records, you show him playing for Portland/Oakland in 1919. What I think is that the Portland part is “Lefty” Bill James,  which would be a third Bill James to add to the confusion of the other two.  
Here's a timeline:

“Lefty” James

1918—Pacific Northwest Shipyard League and PCIL1919-04-09— LA Times: Starts season with Portland of the PCL gets  into game opening day.

1919-05-01—Oakland Tribune: Released by Portland.

1919-05-13— Galveston Daily: Joining Galveston’s team in the Texas League.

1919-05-16— Galveston Daily: Debuts in Texas League

Bill “Oroville” James

1919— Starts season with Boston Braves (last game  06-04-1919)

1919-06-27 —Oakland Tribune: Scheduled to start next week for Oakland

1919-06-28 — Woodland Daily  reports “Oroville” Bill Passed  through on his
way to join Oakland.

1919-07-02— Oakland Tribune” Oakland purchased Bill James contract from
Boston Braves.

1919-07-10— Oakland Tribune: Debuts for Oakland

Ken Camozzi

I think Ken nailed it.  Below you will find the revised PCL records of the three pitchers.  Of note, both William H. & William A. pitched for the Indians in 1912.  

Which Bill James is Which?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Word from Our Sponsor

A Word from Our Sponsor, April 12, 2006

I have begged for sales in a while, so I’ll put this up while I finish up my taxes over the next few days.

Here are the books I have published 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.  These are some of the best baseball books ever published, and, needles to say, should be in every baseball fan’s library.

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 Historical Register Fourth Edition, 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

  • 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

  • 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:

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Great Find From Rocky Bauer

Click on Records to Enlarge

George and Ed Hurlburt played in the PCL in 1903, and according to John Spalding, George also played in the California League in 1902.

Ed Hurlburt was a catcher, and George both caught and played in the outfield.

Ed Hurlburt began the season as a change catcher with Los Angeles, and ended the season with Los Angeles. George Hurlburt played for Portland, and then went over to Seattle for a couple of game in September.

When Los Angeles played a series up in Portland, a Hurlburt caught 3 games for Portland, and then caught for the Browns when they traveled down to San Francisco to play a series. Shortly thereafter Ed Hurburt caught games for Los Angeles. And George Hurburt began playing the outfield for Portland, and catching occasionally.

What I assumed was that George Hurburt played all the games for Portland. Rocky Bauer, in going through the Portland papers, found that L. A. loaned Ed Hurburt to Portland, and he caught 3 games for Portland in Portland, then caught 5 games Portland in San Francisco before rejoining Los Angeles.

I rechecked both the L. A. Times and S. F. Chronicle, and I could not find any mention of of the loan of L. A.'s change catcher.

The above records are the revised records for the two players. Hat tip to Rocky for a great, and not easy, find.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pete Palmer Weighs In On the 2004 Season

Pete Palmer Weighs In On the 2004 Minor League Statistics

CarlosI worked with the 2004 minor league stats.  The problem as I saw it was that the Sporting News got data from Sports Ticker, and for some reason, the data ticker sent did not include players no longer with the team for about half the leagues including the PCL.  They were not the official statisticians.  The minors gave the job to Sports Network for some unknown reason, which was clearly a bad decision.  Sports Network posted their stats, which were supposedly official, on the BBA website, but included only players who qualified for the batting or era titles.  The BBA Almanac also used Sports Network data, but left out several categories and did not have pitcher batting.  There were probably 50 players who had fairly big differences between the two sources.  I was never able to figure out which one was correct.  Sports Network is now out of business for minor league stats, and MLBAM did the minors last year and this, and seem to be doing a good job.  At least there is only one set of figures to worry about.I don't believe that the Sporting News knew that they only got about half the players for some leagues.  And probably not many people noticed.  The team media guides for the most part (except Detroit) used the Ticker figures, with the dropped players included, but again, they did not have pitcher batting and omitted most of the minor categories.  One thing I determined was that Ticker fudged their pitcher AB, TBF, SH and SF allowed.  My guess is they did not have a source for that data, so they had to fake it.  It was pretty close to the correct numbers, but off a little.  Ticker had to rely on secondary sources for their data, since they had the official job taken away from them, even though they still had a contract to supply the major league teams with stats.I am not aware of anyone trying to clean up the 2004 minor league stats, but would be interested if anyone is.  It goes beyond just leaving half the players out of the guide.  The main problem is the two sources disagree and there is no way to tell which one was correct.Pete

I wrote Pete that I had heard the same story from reputable sources, but then was told a contradictory story by people just as reputable.  I think the bottom line is: Preserve the raw data— which Rod Nelson has told me is now in the hands of MLB; make it available to the Hall of Fame, where researcher can access it; have an ongoing system of preserving a copy of the raw minor league data on an ongoing basis, so problems of this sort can be sorted out.  

I also told Pete that I have been working behind the scenes on this project, and have asked him to join me if he wishes.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Follow Up Note From Davis O. Barker

A Follow Up Note From Davis Barker

Interesting thoughts ..... ones I would imagine anyone who has done any "original" research has pondered ...... led me to believe that anyone who does the same stats (including the official league statistician) would most likely have different totals on something ...... there is too much margin of error to assume otherwise.
I have redone stats, as has Willie Runquist, and one does expect discrepancies, but there are certain stats that have to correct; e.g., if a team plays 154 games, then there must be 154 games started for the team’s pitchers.  Inning pitched is the same type of stat.  Where discrepancies creep in are generally on errors, assists, extra base hits, etc.  I’ve found errors on at bats, and on hits, but if a league has batters getting 11,138 hits in a season, then you have the right to expect that pitchers gave up 11,138 hits.

One of the things I encounter often is discrepancies in box scores of one game in various papers ..... I often work in regional works, like the Dallas, Houston, and Shreveport papers, and local papers as well.  It is a fairly common occurrence that a box will vary from paper to paper .... I talked to a retired sports reporter and a newer one about the issue ..... both said in the pre-computerized days it was usually about space and personnel.
The variances I have found are mostly in fielding, where some discretion is needed on the part of the scorer, and errors— I have found— are more often than not pure typos that come from the typesetter rather than the reporter.

The personnel that transcribed this type of stuff was usually lowest on the totem pole and often were not even baseball-oriented or even fans (have encountered the same when contacting a local library asking for a copy of a particular box score on a particular day) ....... regardless, it was always about space— if one column was too long, they would drop a line from a box - most often a late inning defensive sub or a pinch hitter ..... they are usually caught by the researcher because of the totals, but who the missing player is not usually identified ...... interestingly they often occur at or near the bottom of the page - when they suddenly realize that they have used their allotted inches ......

For the Coast League & California League I have found this only vary rarely.  There are many papers who pride themselves on producing a good box score.  
I found this especially true of the 1930s ..... why, I don't know ...... probably financial - fewer pages.  Another thing I found was that until after WWII box scores were not standardized ..... big problem with locals in the 'Teens and early '20s was that local reporters (especially in towns without much past experience in OB), assigned to the game, may not have been baseball fans themselves ...... I can pretty much ID them because these papers normally ran only line scores .... and articles are one big baseball cliché of phrases.

If someone wishes to follow my tracks, they are welcome.  The 1925 Texas Association stats took over a year of regular work and almost 30,000 miles on my truck to complete.  Finding over 400 box scores in obscure, small-town papers was an ordeal.  I was not long into the project when I realized why no one had ever done them.

Last summer I did the two O. B. seasons for the San Joaquin Valley League of 1910 & 1911, and in the hundred-mile radius of the towns I put 2,500 mile on my car, so 30,000 miles in Texas doesn’t surprise me. For the 1903 and 1906 PCL seasons, I traveled all the way up the coast to Seattle (via Fresno) to get all the box scores.  
The bad thing here is that I always seem to follow some of the work of Vern Luse, whom I never met but greatly admire.  Texas is a big place, and way behind in the age of microfilm.  It is fairly easy to go on-line today and locate a paper ..... in Vern's day he was working hit-and-miss ..... bothers me when I find different stats .... knowing that I located more missing box scores, not because I am a better/more dedicated researcher, but because of technology and the fact that the trails have been blazed ahead of me by people like Mr. Luse.  I hope that came out right and you understand what I am trying to say.  I seem to meet a lot of people in this pursuit who seem to believe they are the only ones working ..... they are the only ones capable of doing legitimate research ..... or that their work is definitive and above question ...... I'm all for accuracy, but there is so much more out there that needs to be done that it is hard to get involved general scrutiny ..... one of my great fears is spending time, money, and sweat on something that has already been done ...... that is why some form of informational clearinghouse is vital ..... thanks to you, there is some form of gathering point.

The accuracy I’ve been talking about is one of properly compiling averages.  Different sources obviously will lead to slightly different averages, but if you are adding up the same source material twice, and get a different set of numbers, it might be incumbent to go back and correct your numbers.  And as to Charlie Chech— innings pitched cannot be off that much without an error: Counting a couple of games twice; counting 8 innings as 9 over the course of a season; missing reading the name of a pitcher; or any combination of the above.
As to Vern Luse, the leagues he compiled were leagues where most of the box scores appeared in Sporting Life, and supplement with other papers in those leagues.  What Davis and I do are travel to towns where you pull up to the front door of libraries.  In those libraries you sometimes find nuggets— like a second newspaper that only lasted a year— but covered baseball like The Sporting News!  Minor league baseball research is a lot like detective work.  

Lots of thoughts on these issues ....... things that have always bothered me as I compiled yearly stats ..... anyway, thanks for the blog!!!!!!!!!!

OK, Davis, now what does the “O” stand for?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Another Long Left Field Fence

Another Long Left Field Fence, From Davis Barker

Davis found the following note in The Sporting News:

The First Erie Sailor to hit the ball over the left field fence at General Electric Field, home of the Mid-Atlantic League club, has been promised an airplane ticket to Boston Bees Park by Business Manager Jack O’Connor…it might be a quick route to a chance in the majors, except for the fact that the fence is 420 feet from home plate.

From The Sporting News, May 5, 1938

Friday, April 07, 2006

Accounting for Innings Pitched

Accounting for Innings Pitched

The below are a series of questions from Rex Hamann that I think will be of interest to many researchers. I will try to answer each one as they come. First, thought, let me say that what Rex is doing is how many of us got started in baseball research; i.e., filling in the blanks that history has passed down to us, whether it is adding Innings Pitched columns, like Rex, or Extra Base Hits, or compiling a whole season of stats that never existed.

I use Marshall Wright's American Association roster book as a research tool for the writing I do on the American Association. Because he did not include the quantity of Innings Pitched for the 1903 season, I embarked upon a project to do so. I am 99 percent through with this project, but there are loose ends I'd like to take care of. The process has given me a strong sense of familiarity with the pitchers of that season in the American
Association, and it's an experience I consider to be invaluable.

Rex is absolutely right. One never gets closer to players than when one compiles seasonal averages. Building those averages, brick by brick, day by day— that gives you a real feel for the season.

But I wonder about the credibility of my own information. For example, in a book called The Minor League Register, published in 1994, edited by Miles Wolff, they list Charles Chech as pitching 326 innings in 1903. The total I come up with is 304. How can it be that, after such a detailed examination as I have performed, these numbers should be so far off?

The discrepancy, as stated above, is large, and one should go back and check, first games pitched— do they match up, or did you miss a couple of games? Rex did mention how he compiled his stats, but I would assume he used a spreadsheet of some sort, so it would be easy to check that.

By the way, I would love to know where Mr. Wolff was able to find the innings information for the pitcher Chech. It would mean that there is a source I could have used other than to have generated the data on my own. But then, would that data have been trustworthy? I'm finding that it's not always possible to trust the data. At which point do we draw the line in trusting the data, especially for these earlier records?

I did a little bit of digging, and found that The Minor League Register picked up the record of Charlie Chech from the SABR publication Minor League Stars, Volume III. In looking over the people contributing to that volume, it appears that the work on Chech probably was done by Ralph LinWeber who was a big American Association researcher/expert, who also lived in Minnesota.

My final question is this, at least with respect to the pitcher Chech: Should I go over my work to see how I might be able to account for the missing 22 innings, or should I realize that the 326 innings figure may be in error and to have faith in my own work as possibly setting a new standard of accuracy?

If games pitched are all accounted for, then at some point you’ll have to go back and satisfy your own mind. Let me give you an example of what I found with my own work, and why I used a form of double entry bookkeeping when I compile averages now. (I don’t think anybody else— save Bob Tiemann— does when compiling averages.)

Not long after I did my first project, the 1903 Pacific Coast League, I decided that it would be interesting to see what were the best hitting parks in the league. So I decided recompile all the averages for each day for each park. That is, I would take the totals for both teams for each day and sum them up. If Portland had 38 AB and Sacramento had 40 AB on July 23, the total would be 78 AB for that game played at Vaughn Street Park. I did that for every game for the whole season. When I was finished, I was shocked at what I found, even though I was so sure of my work before that. For one example, Innings Pitched had the totals for all pitcher 11,225.3, but the Innings Pitched at all the parks turned out to 11,191.0. I was also off five strikeouts and four walks, which I suppose over the course of a long PCL season is not much, but has always bothered me. (Pete Palmer once told me that when the American league came up with discrepancies at the end of the season, their statistician would fudge the number to make them balance.)

After seeing that, I decided that I had to come up with a system to cut down on those discrepancies as much as humanly possible. And the system I came up with is as old as the hills, and which I detailed in an earlier post about compiling averages for the 1918 PCL season, but will restate again here.

What I do is compile a weeks’ worth of stats (I have been using a stat compiling program, StatTrak from All-Pro software since it was a DOS shareware program called Soffballs), then go back and compile all the same stats for each game, as if one single player. This is the same concept behind double entry bookkeeping. Then I go back and try to resolve any discrepancies between the two sets of data, and believe me, more often than not there is something that does not jive. Once this is done, I go on to the next week. Entering the park part of the data is not as time consuming as it may first appear. It’s only one number, not 18 or more numbers as with players, and takes me no more than a half-hour to do the whole week of park data. (At first, I tried doing a month’s worth of data, but resolving errors took me too long, so I scaled back to a week’s worth of data, and that seems about right.)

What I am doing, in essence, is counting the same numbers in a different sequence, nothing more. However, I get the added beinfit of winding up with Park Data for my effort.

Rex, I believe you should redo your data as outlined above, because you’ll either be pleasantly surprised at how good, and how careful you are— or thankful that you didn’t publish your data with all those errors in it!

Not for nothing did they invent double entry bookkeeping!

Rex Hamann
14201 Crosstown Blvd. NW
Andover, Minnesota 55304

The American Association Almanac
A Baseball History Journal (1902-1952)
Subscriptions available...Be the first on your block!

By the way, everything I’ve seen done by Rex is first rate!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bill Staffa Corrects the Baseball Encyclopedias

Bill Staffa Corrects the Baseball Encyclopedias

How this happened, I don’t know.  Bill enclosed two articles stating that Ballou was right-handed.  Just for the hell of it, I checked the L. A. Times for an article announcing Ballou joining the Angels, and the subtitle stated: “Browns Right-Hander to Join Angels.”  The two Zeenuts of Pard Ballouwe are posting are from Mark Macrae.  Thanks, Mark.

From the Encyclopedias:


GIVEN NAME: Noble Winfield Ballou
BORN: 11/30/1897  Mount Morgan, Kentucky  DIED: 1/30/1963  San Francisco, California
BAT: R  THROW: L  HEIGHT: 5'10"  WEIGHT: 170  MLB DEBUT: 8/24/1925

Hi Carlos,

A little piece for your database.

In every encyclopedia, electronic or otherwise, published since 1994, Win Ballou is listed as BR TL.  However, one of my cohorts brought it to my attention that he has two Zee-Nut baseball cards from the late 20s showing Ballou throwing right-handed.  He also said that there's a picture of him in John Spalding’s PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE STARS ... throwing right-handed.

It occurred to me that the original Macmillan (1969) had pitcher hitting, so I looked in there and sure enough, he's listed as BR TR.  Somewhere between 1984 and 1993, the keeper of the great source database re-invented Ballou.

Attached are a couple of articles referring to him as a right-handed pitcher, one of which has a photograph.

Proof enough for me.  My little contribution to your work.

I'm sending you a check today for your latest Encyclopedia, The PCL Statistical Record, 1903-1957.

Bill Staffa

"Pard" Ballou as Seal & Angel, & All Right-Hander

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

An Update on Tommy Sheehan from Alan O'Connor

An Update on Tommy Sheehan from Alan O’Connor

Hi Carlos—
I was just looking at John Spalding's book The Sacramento Senators & Solons and noticed that Tommy Sheehan looks to be about 6 inches shorter than the 5'11 Truck Eagan in the 1899 Gilt Edge photo. That would split the difference between the 5'8" listed and Dick's 5'3" typo theory!

Every place I’ve seen Truck Eagan’s height listed, it’s always been 5’11, and that includes newspapers on top of encyclopedias. In the whole shot he is the shortest man in the last row. That in an age where people were much shorter than they are today. So I think the nickname “Midget” had its reason. I think Alan is right to go with 5’5”, though one could make a case for 5’4”. I’ll probably change my records to 5’5”.

He doesn't look to be 160 lbs, either, as the encyclopedias have it. I'll change my records to "a gentleman's" 140 lbs. though he looks pretty thin to me, and might even be 135 or 130 pounds. If he weighed 160, his nickname would be "Dumpling."

Tommy Sheehan & Truck Eagan Together

Click on Image to Enlarge

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

An Update on David Abel's Presentational Baseball

An Update on David Abel’s Presentational Baseball

It’s good to hear that David was finally able (no pun intended) to pretty much resolve the question of where and when.  City baseball league were big, I mean really big in the first decade on the twentieth century.  In Chicago, for instance, it was not uncommon to have neighborhood crowds in excess of 5,000 fans.  Not everywhere, but in a number of cities this type of neighborhood pride supported their local baseball teams until WWII.  

Hello to all,
It's been about 4 months since I started researching an old baseball that I had acquired. Through the help of many of you I was able to concentrate my research and not spend many hours going around in circles. About two months ago the Boston Public Library had found reference to two teams I was looking for.
They were the Tigers and the Ironsides. Those findings sent my search to the City of Newark, New Jersey. My search continued but with little success until I found a book written by Robert Cvornyek about baseball in Newark. We emailed back and forth. He recently made another trip to Newark to continue his research on baseball in that city. Upon searching reels of microfilm from The Newark Star and The Newark Evening News papers from May of 1910 he hit gold. Not only did he find mentions of the two teams, but detailed accounts of their seasons in the Newark City League. It doesn't stop there. The ball I have has writing on it that says "First Ball Pitched at the opening Game on the Tiger Oval". On May 22, 1910 the champion Newark Ironsides played a double header with the Newark Tigers from the Vailsburg section of town. The morning game was played on the Ironsides turf at the West Side Oval and the afternoon game was played on the Tigers turf on the Tiger Oval. The afternoon game on the Tiger Oval was the first home game ever for the Newark Tigers. The article mentions a large gala and elaborate ceremonies were planned with many attending including political figures. The game drew over 5,000 fans. The ball I have came in a handsome leather display case. The ball is also inscribed with the date that matches the article and the score of Tigers 8 and Ironsides 3 which also matches the article. The ball was presented to a local Assemblyman which I am still searching for.
I know I had email conversations with a handful of you and the name Oval was really hard to search for. The articles mention the other following teams: Bay Views, Parkviews, Rosevilles and the Turners. Some of the other Ovals mentioned are: Parkview Oval, Roseville Oval, Johnson Oval, Ashland Oval.
The newspaper articles even mention the players from both teams. Some of which either went on to play in the majors or already had stints with major league teams.
I want to thank all of you for your help. I still have a little more research to do because I want to learn more about the Newark City League and teams and players.
David Abel
Parrish, Florida  

Monday, April 03, 2006

Eastern League Pitching, Two

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Eastern League Pitching, One

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Eastern League Batting, Two