View Poll Results: Is There Any Interest in Seeing Historical Articles?

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  • Christy Mathewson Picks an All-America Team, 1924.

    36 31.86%
  • Greatest Batters I Have Ever Faced, W. Johnson, 1925.

    47 41.59%
  • Greatest Players I Ever Saw, W. Johnson, 1929.

    49 43.36%
  • Pitchers I Have Faced, E. Collins, 1914.

    36 31.86%
  • Good idea, like to see more Historical Articles.

    92 81.42%
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Thread: Historical Articles

  1. #1
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    Historical Articles

    Gaging from the musings on the thread where Christy Mathewson picked his 1924 all-star team, I'm wondering if there is any interest in my cracking open the Musty, Dusty Cabinet of Forgotten Baseball Lore?

    I am fully capable of posting some arcane, yet tantalizing articles form both The Sporting News, and Baseball Magazine, if the interest is there.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Table of Contents:

    2. The Greatest Players I Ever Saw, by Walter Johnson, October, 1929, Baseball Magazine. He evaluated Waddell, Mathewson, Alexander, Joe Jackson, Ruth, Crawford, Cobb.
    4. The Greatest Batters I Have Ever Faced, by Walter Johnson, June, 1925, Baseball Magazine. He evaluated Lajoie, Joe Jackson, Speaker, Cobb, Eddie Collins, Baker, Ruth.
    5. Christy Mathewson Picks a (1924) All-America Team for Collier's. October 11, 1924.
    7. Christy Mathewson Lauds The Babe, The Outlook, August 30, 1922, pp. 704, Interview by Frederick M. Davenport)
    9. Hot Tamale Circuit, Part 1 & II
    10. My Story of the Black Sox Series, Chick Gandil, as told to Melvin Durslag, Sports Illustrated, 1956.
    11. Pitchers I Have Faced, by Edward T. Collins, July, 1914, American Magazine. Eddie evaluated Walter Johnson, Mathewson, Vean Gregg, Joe Wood, Ed Walsh, "Big Jack" Powell, Lefty Russell, Eddie Cicotte, Jim Scott, Russell Ford, Eddie Summers, Waddell.
    12. Cap Anson - 2 articles, 1909 team, 1917, 1918 teams.
    15. Historical Polls/Surveys.
    16. Miller Huggins' All-Time Team, Washington Post, February 5, 1929, pp. 20.
    17. McGraw's View on Pitchers, Catchers, Sporting News, February 8, 1934, pp. 4, column 3.
    18. John B. Sheridan, On Defensive Shortstops, catchers, 3B; ; Sporting News column, "Back of Home Plate", 1917-29"; (Sporting News, February 11, 1926); Herman Long's Case
    19. John B. Sheridan on Relative Value of a Player, Sporting News, December 8, 1927, pp. 4, column 6.
    20. George Sisler; His All-Time Team, April, 1931, pp. 483, 484, Baseball Magazine.
    23. William B. Hanna; 25 Greatest Players; June, 1924, pp. 300-301Baseball Magazine.
    25. What BB Records Mean To the Player; William Kamm, February, 1928, pp. 387, 388, Baseball Magazine.

    Page 2.

    26. Ed Cicotte: I Did Wrong, But I Paid For It, February, 1966.
    27. Introducing John B. Foster; His All-Time Team, 1938.
    29. St. Paul Pioneer Press articles.
    30. Ed Barrow; His Top 5 Players Ever, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Nap Lajoie, Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, February 28, 1929, Sporting News; 1951, autobiography.
    31. BB's Greatest Player; 12 Veterans choose their top 5 Players Ever, John McGraw, Wilbert Robinson, Walter Johnson, Connie Mack, Kid Gleason, Bill McKechnie, Joe McCarthy, Jim Burke, Gabby Street, Dan Howley, Bucky Harris and Burt Shotton, June, 1931, Philadelphia Ledger.
    32. - 34. MLB special report on Race Relations, August 28, 1946.
    33. The Sad Story of Martin Bergen, January 20, 1900.
    34. Introducing Early Player Profiles; Buck Ewing, Bill Lange, Jimmy Archer, Charlie Bennett, Herman Long, Jimmie McAleer, Ned Williamson.
    35. Clutch Players.
    36. Charles J. Ferguson.
    37. Versatile Baseball Players; Honus Wagner, Herman Long, Roger Bresnaham, Dick Allen, Buck Ewing, Michael 'King' Kelly, Harmon Killebrew, Jim O'Rouke, Deacon White, Charlie Ferguson, Pete Rose, Jimmy Foxx, George Davis, John 'Monte' Ward.
    38. Greatest Player Ever Survey/Poll, Sporting News, April 2, 1942
    39. Childhood Idols, by Frank Graham, December, 1983; Also Joan Culcen, Dec., 1983.
    40. Carl Mays, and UnderHanders. by John B. Foster, Sporting News, November 24, 1921.
    41. Introducing Francis Richter, John B. Foster, Sam Crane, Bill Phelon, Ferdinand Lane & Tim Murnane.
    42. Most important, Famous, Influential Sports Writers
    44. The Atlanta Constitution, piece done by Billy Evans, January 26, 1919
    45. Sporting News, Taylor Spink, Baseball Magazine, SABR, Proquest.
    46. Fond Memories of Ty and Babe.
    47. Ty Cobb Found a 'Cousin' in Babe Ruth, the Pitcher.
    48. Damon Runyon on Who's the Greatest Pitcher: Christy Mathewson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, or Walter Johnson?
    49. CENSUS OF FANS SHOWS BIG MAJORITY LIKES HOME RUNS, February 1, 1923
    50. Players Who Are Always Hustling.

    Page 3.

    51. When Is a Home Run Not a Home Run?
    52. They Had Their Heroes, Too.
    53. The Toughest I've Ever Faced.
    54. Honus Wagner talks about Ty/Babe.
    56. Interview with Harry Heilmann.
    57. Baseball's Popularity
    58. Number of newspapers in 1933 per city
    59. Good Sports Writers Who Died since 1988.
    60. Historical salaries.
    61. On August 26, 2003, Nate Silver and Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus had an interview with Rickey Henderson
    62. Excerpt from Reggie Jackson's 1984 autobiography, Reggie
    65. Francis C. Richter
    67. Joe Morgan article, July, 2000.
    70. Honus Wagner picks 3 all time teams: 1924, 1935, 1949.
    71. Sultan's extensive Babe Ruth post.
    72. Carl Mays talks about Ty Cobb.
    73. Hal Chase's 1941 Sporting News' interview.
    74. Tris Speaker's 1944 Sporting News' interview
    75. Bobby Wallace's 1954 Sporting News' interview

    Page 4.

    76. Bobby Lowe's 1951 Sporting News' interview
    77. Jimmy Sheckard's 1940 Sporting News' interview
    78. Jimmy Collins' 1943 Sporting News' obituary/tribute article
    79. Bill Bradley's 1950 Sporting News' Interview
    80. Amos Rusie's 1939 Sporting News' Interview
    81. Jimmy Burke's 1940 Sporting News' Interview
    82. Zack Wheat's 1941 Sporting News' Interview
    83. Frank Baker's 1955 Sporting News' Interview
    84. Charlie Gehringer's 1951 Sporting News' Interview
    85. Ed Walsh's 1957 Sporting News' Interview
    86. Clark Griffith's 1952 Sporting News' Interview
    87. Nap Lajoie's 1942 & 1953 Sporting News' Interviews
    88. Pete Alexander Interview, Baseball Magazine, July, 1929
    89. Carl Mays' 1925 article, "Is Hornsby Baseball's Greatest Hitter?"
    90. My Attitued Toward the Unfortunate Chapman Affair, as Stated by Carl Mays (Baseball Magazine)
    91. Ty Cobb Picks The greatest Ballplayers Since Ty Cobb
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Myankee4life 08-05-2005, 11:10 AM

    I'm interested
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    wamby 08-05-2005, 11:41 A

    I would be interested also.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    CyNotSoYoung 08-05-2005, 12:09 PM

    Sounds good to me!
    -----------------------------------------------------
    CyNotSoYoung 08-05-2005, 12:14 PM

    I always like to read old articles. It would be great if you posted them here on BBF.

    Thanks in advance.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    2Chance 08-05-2005, 12:49 PM

    All of the above. More as you find them in that dusty closet.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-20-2008 at 07:34 AM.

  2. #2
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    ---------------------The Greatest Players I Ever Saw-------------------------------

    The Best Natural Hitter--The Smartest Ball Player---The Speediest Hurler---The Greatest Pitcher---These Stand Out in Vivid Relief Against the Memories of Twenty Years

    -----------------Comprising an Interview with Walter Johnson---------------
    -----------------Baseball Magazine, October, 1929-------------------------

    Who were the greatest players I ever saw? That's a question, or rather a whole series of questions. There have been many who stood out above the crowd in the past twenty years. But the top-notchers, well--a man can give only his opinion.

    It seems but a little while ago that I came east from Idaho, a young rookie, green, wondering whether I would make good, stirred by the prospect of pitching in the great cities I had read about but never had seen. And now I am a "has-been," done with professional pitching forever, my only activity to sit on the bench, to watch others, to direct their play as well as I can, and to meditate about the great days when I could go in there myself, kick my spikes into the mound and face the opposing batter.

    Two things I had when I came up--speed and control. They were all I needed for years. When my speed began to lessen, I tried to master curves and change of pace. But I can't say that I ever was more than indifferently successful. I often said that if a pitcher didn't have a good fast ball, he wasn't a pitcher. Now that it has left me, I'm willing to admit that I took a lot of comfort out of my fast ball.

    Sport writers, fans, interested people everywhere have asked me how present day pitching compares, to my way of thinking, with pitching when I was in my prime.

    Conditions are altogether different. I once went for more than fifty innings without allowing a run. I wouldn't guarantee to do that now, even if I were in my prime. The lively ball has struck deep at the heart of pitching.

    I have seen Dazzy Vance pitch. I imagine he has more sheer speed than any pitcher now on the mound. But he has other things. He impressed me as being an all-round pitcher. He had a great curve, which was something I never could boast of myself. But I wouldn't want to say that Dazzy had more speed than any pitcher I ever looked at. That wouldn't be true.

    In my opinion, and I suppose if there is any subject that I am qualified to discuss it is pitching. Rube Waddell had more sheer pitching ability than any man I ever saw. That doesn't say he was the greatest pitcher, by a good deal. Rube had defects of character that prevented him from using his talents to the best effect. He is dead and gone, so there is no need for me to enlarge on his weaknesses. They were well enough known. I would prefer to dwell on his strong points. And he had plenty.

    There is one game that stands out in my memory above all, perhaps, that I have pitched. That was a game fairly early in my career, when I hooked up in a pitching duel with Rube Waddell.

    Rube was a queer character and he could get indisposed more quickly than anyone I ever saw, when the mood seized him.

    That day we scored a run off him in the first inning. This didn't please Rube at all. He wasn't feeling particularly ambitious that day, and as he came in to the bench, he started to limp. His leg, it seemed, hurt him a good deal. We had a coach at the time who had a deep knowledge of human nature and a particular knowledge of Rube Waddell's nature. He started after Rube, without an instant's delay. "You'd better be getting on your way to the showers," he said. "If you don't get out of the box, we'll knock you out."

    Somehow, that remark got under Rube's skin. He really was a sensitive soul under it all. He made up his mind that he wouldn't quit. Instead, he came back the next inning with blood in his eyes, and from then on he gave the greatest exhibition of all-round speed and unhittable curves that I ever looked at. They scored a run off me, meantime, to tie up the tally. The game drifted into extra innings. In the eleventh inning they scored another run and beat me by 2 to 1.

    In those eleven innings Rube struck out seventeen Washington players. Most of the time they were choking up on the bat and just trying to keep from getting struck out. But Rube burned them past in spite of everything.

    There have been many arguments about pitchers' speed. Such arguments invariably hinge on personal opinion. When Waddell had a red letter day such as the one I have mentioned, and cut loose with everything he had, he showed an amazing amount of speed. But Rube was erratic and uncertain, and his pitching was decidedly unequal.

    When I was in my prime, I could go in there and be sure that I had plenty of speed on tap. Besides, it didn't tire me to pitch. In spite of all the criticisms I encountered in the early days of my Big League career. I had an easy, natural delivery. Pitching a fast ball was second nature to me. It did not require any great exertion. I was always fast, when in shape, in those years. But, like Rube, I, too, had my red letter days.

    Personally, I believe I know more about those red letter days than anyone else. They didn't always get into the records. In fact, they didn't always do me much good, for when I had more than my ordinary speed and cut loose with everything, as the saying goes, the ball would jump so much I couldn't control it.

    Perhaps the best day I ever had, so far as speed was concerned, was in a game against the Athletics. I don't recall the date and I could not, off hand, give the year. But I remember the game as distinctly as if it was pitched last week.

    A pitcher likes to cut loose when he has a fast ball, and I was no exception. I cut loose in that game, all right, but immediately got into trouble. One of my fast ones jumped, struck the catcher, who misjudged it, disabled one of his fingers and went through him. They put in another catcher, but I hadn't thrown three balls before I could see that he was going to have trouble holding my fast one. We finally compromised by having him put up his glove. I would pitch directly at the glove and then he could hold me. If I didn't, the ball would get away from him. There have been many times since when I have thought of that day and wished that I had all that stuff, more than I could use, and a catcher who could really hold me. But that's only an idle dream. We all have them, I suppose.

    One thing I will say, without boasting. When I was young and strong, I could put the ball past the batter. I don't notice many pitchers doing it today. The difference between a very fast ball and a ball that's so fast it's practically unhittable may not be much, but it's that difference that tells the story.

    Great pitchers have not necessarily excelled in speed. I remember Christy Mathewson very well. I saw him pitch a number of games. He is commonly rated as the best all-round pitcher who ever lived. That may be true. I hesitate to say anything which would detract to the slightest degree from the well-earned reputation of a man who was universally respected in life and who is now dead. But I am going to be honest with my opinion, such as it is. With all due respect to Mathewson, I think Grover Alexander had a little on him. I can think of nothing that Mathewson had that Alexander didn't have. Certainly Alexander had a marvelous fast ball. Not so speedy as some, it was particularly good because it was so deceptive. My fast ball jumped and frequently broke up. Alexander's fast ball broke down. Mathewson gained fame in his later years because of his fadeaway. But if he ever had a better fadeaway than Alec, I never saw it. Alec's screw ball is proverbial. Mathewson's control was gilt-edged. But even there I think Alexander could go him one better. Alec's control is as near perfection as it's humanly possible to get. I doubt if any pitcher ever lived who could put the ball as near where he wanted it to go, game in and game out, as Grover Alexander. I doubt if any pitcher will ever excel him in that respect.

    Mathewson made a grand reputation and deserved it all. Usually, however, he had a strong, scrappy team behind him. Alexander has had many weak teams behind him in the years of his career.

    They tell many tales of Matty's pitching wisdom. I have no doubt that he was a master of the craft. And yet, I can not think of anything worth knowing in pitching that Alexander doesn't know.

    Alexander is what I never was, a well-rounded pitcher. He has everything. I am talking now of the years of his prime. Alexander is an old veteran now and can not last much longer, but he lasted longer than I did. And he lasted because he was such a well-rounded pitcher. When my great speed left me, my bid to pitching greatness went with it. When Alexander's speed left him, he fell back on an all-round assortment of stuff and an unbeatable control.

    Pitchers are naturally impressed more by great natural hitters than by great fielders. But so, for the matter of that, is the general public. Think of stars ten years ago and you think of great hitters. Fielding, important as it is, seems to be merely incidental to baseball glory.

    The greatest natural hitter that I ever saw was Joe Jackson. Joe passed out of it about the time the lively ball came in. It was a bad break for him. How he would have waded through the records with that fast ball to lengthen his hits! Joe's career was cut short by the Black Sox scandal. But I shall never believe that he was a bad fellow at heart. He was easily led and terribly misled by his associates. He paid a heavy penalty.

    People have asked me if I didn't consider Babe Ruth the greatest of natural hitters. I certainly do not. There are many times when Babe looks terrible at bat. I've seen him miss a ball by two feet. Nobody ever saw Joe Jackson miss a ball two feet. Babe has his particular specialty where no one can equal him. He can hit a ball harder than anybody who ever lived. But why go outside that specialty and make claims for him that aren't true?

    Babe is certainly a terrific slugger. No one can convince me that his equal ever lived since baseball graduated from the rounders stage. I, for one, do not expect to live long enough to see any other player come up who can hit the ball, day in and day out, as hard as Ruth. Some kind friends have claimed that Lou Gehrig can hit the ball nearly as hard as Babe. Perhaps he can, but if so, it's just nearly. Gehrig may be second best, but he's not and never will be Babe's equal in sheer slugging.

    Among the old timers, Sam Crawford stands out in my memory. He too would have thrived in these days of the lively ball. I was touring the Pacific Coast in '24. Babe Ruth was there. I pitched against him and he drove out a tremendous fly for a long home run. Everybody began to yell. It was a true Ruth wallop. Then Sam Crawford came up, an old player long past his prime. I put a lot on the ball and he met it on the nose. It soared out and fell in almost the precise spot where Ruth had put it earlier in the game. That doesn't mean to say that Sam would hit the ball as hard as Ruth all the time or very often. But if he was playing at the Yankee Stadium now, and was in his prime, he'd belt a lot of homers into that right-field stand.

    People ask me often if I don't consider Ty Cobb the greatest hitter I ever saw. I certainly don't. He was never in Joe Jackson's class as a natural hitter. A number of other hitters have excelled him in natural ability, in my opinion. There again, people go astray. Ty, like Babe, has honors enough without fastening others on him that do not belong.

    Ty was the smartest player that I ever saw by so great a margin that I won't even bother to think who was second best. And that's credit enough. For brains are just as prominent in baseball as in any other profession. Ty was always about three jumps ahead of the crowd. That's what made him such a wonderful star. You could never dope out what he was going to do next. Always, he had you guessing. He had the infield up in the air. He was continually getting the catcher's goat. The outfield couldn't lay for Ty. They never knew where he would drive the ball.

    There was a time when Ty was sore at me. That was when he was racing Joe Jackson for the Championship. Joe was hitting me much better than Ty. Ty accused me of putting the ball over for Joe. That was foolish, though I guess he was sincere. The fault lay rather in Ty's system and Joe's superior hitting ability. Joe would lay back with that black bat of his and merely slap at my fast ball. He always had a good chance to connect. Ty favored place hitting and beating out bunts. My fast ball, chest high, that had a tendency to jump, was a tough ball to place. It was also a tough ball to bunt. In later years Ty changed his system and had much better results against my pitching. He was too smart and resourceful to be buffaloed very long by any pitching on earth.

    In sheer batting ability he had superiors. But in dazzling footwork, mechanical skill and lightning quick thinking he never had an equal. Ty has also graduated. He has taken with him most of the records in the American League. He needs no tribute from a "has-been" pitcher who could once bother him in the heyday of his prime. But I'll say of Ty, as I would say of Babe, he was unique.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    End of first article.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-24-2008 at 04:35 PM.

  3. #3
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    Bill,

    I have a question for you. I always see these old articles that ask players for their all-time team or the best player they ever saw, or to rank the top ten players ever. Nowadays, though, we do see interviews and articles written by old stars, but it always seems to be about their personal life. Why don't they ask players like George Brett, Reggie Jackson, Bob Gibson, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, and any other living HOFers for their all-time team? I would love to hear Reggie's opinion on players of his own time, but they never ask him. Why?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bill responds to Chris:

    I'm with you on this one, man. Here would be a great idea, and have historical significance. The BBWAA should give every player, at the end of every season, a questionaire.

    The questionaire should ask the player for his 3 teams.

    1. All time team, A & B
    2. Best team for that one year, A & B
    3. Best team comprised of only active players

    That way we would have a living, evolving record of professional opinion, as to who the pros felt were the best, in those 3 contexts.

    Maybe I should send them my ideas. Provoke them to action!!!

    Concerning Reggie. There are now 2 books in my collection. You should have them, since they address the issue on which you speak.

    1. The "All-Stars" All-Star Baseball Book, by Nick Acocella & Donald Dewey, 1986, paperback.

    2. The Greatest Team of All Time, As Selected by Baseball's Immortals, from Ty Cobb to Willie Mays, compiled by Nicholas Acocella & Donald Dewey, 1994.

    Both should be available on www.bookfinder.com

    Both books have the all time all star teams of those you mention. Whose teams would you like me to post here?

    In the latter book, Reggie was asked who were his toughest pitchers. His response: "I did very little against two lefties, Mike Caldwell and Sott McGregor, for a few years anyway. Eventually, I caught up with both of them, though. It was really Jim Palmer who stands out in this context: I had some success against him overall, but he was so good in clutch situations that I never really hurt him when the game was on the line."

    That is all he gave the authors.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -Bill contributes this one.

    These guys were asked who were their all time teams, but were limited to only those players that they had actually seen/played against. Still . . .
    Code:
    Joe Morgan:---------Willie Mays:--------Buck Leonard:--------Monte Irvin:
    1B: McCovey--------Musial--------------Jonny Washington----Gehrig
    2B: Maz------------Robinson------------Sammy Hughes-------J. Robinson
    3B:Schmidt--------Mathews------------Ray Dandridge---------Mathews
    SS: Concepcion----Reese--------------Willie Wells------------Banks
    RF: Aaron---------Clemente-----------Bill Wright-------------Mantle
    CF: Mays---------Mays---------------Cool Papa Bell---------J.DiMaggio
    LF: Stargell-------Aaron--------------Fats Jenkins-----------Mays
    P: Marichal/Koufax-Gibson/Koufax-----Paige/Slim Jones-------Gibson/Koufax
    C: Bench----------Campanella-------Josh Gibson------------Campanella
    
    
    Roy Campanella:-------Cool Papa Bell:--------Aaron:--------Musial: (NL only)
    1B: Hodges-----------O.Charleston-----------Hodges-------B. Terry
    2B: J.Robinson--------Sammy Hughes---------J.Robinson----Hornsby
    3B: Billy Cox----------Willie Wells-------------Mathews------Mathews
    SS: Reese------------Judy Johnson----------Banks---------Wagner
    LF: Furillo------------Rap Dixon--------------Clemente------Aaron
    CF: Snider-----------Turkey Stearns---------Mays----------Mays
    LF: Mays------------Monte Irvin-------------Musial---------Clemente
    P: Newcombe/Koufax--Ted Trent/W.Foster---Gibson/Koufax--Gibson,Spahn,
    C: Campanella---------Biz Riley Mackay------Campanella-----Seaver,Matty
    ----------------------------------------------------------Alexander,Hubbell
    ----------------------------------------------------------Koufax,Face,Labine--C:Campanella
    
    
    
    Spahn:
    1B: Hodges/Musial
    2B: Maz
    3B: Billy Cox/Mathews
    SS: Johnny Logan
    RF: Mantle
    CF: Mays
    LF: Aaron
    P: Burdette/Koufax
    C: Crandall/Bench
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-06-2005 at 04:09 PM.

  4. #4
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    -----------------The Greatest Batters I Have Ever Faced-----------------

    In the Following Interview the Great Walter discusses the More Famous Batters Who Have Faced His Terrific Speed And Offers a Few Sage Comments on Pitching

    From an Interview with Walter Johnson, Baseball Magazine, June, 1925, pp. 291, 292, 327, 329

    Although I am the oldest veteran among American League pitchers, I have something in common with the rookie who is beginning his first season. For I, too, am starting all over again.

    When the last man was retired to that great twelfth inning of the last and decisive World's Series game in October, I figured that my career as a Major League pitcher had come definitely to an end. It was the psychological moment for me to say good-bye. That was the most thrilling game that I have ever seen. Although as Joe Engle said, "The ground keeper really decided the Series," I was fortunate enough to be called upon to pitch the final innings and so receive credit for the victory. My wish had been granted. I had pitched in a World's Series and I felt that I could now write a fitting close to my eighteen years of Major League service.

    There is, so we are told, a time for everything. That was my time to step aside and to prepare for the future. I felt that I owed it to my family to embark in some worth-while business venture, which would assure me a permanent income. I naturally looked to the Pacific Coast for such an opening. In that great and growing country, baseball has prospered and favors a veteran like myself. And I was reasonably certain to be able to pitch on the Coast for some years to come. Besides, I could have entered that field with the prestige of a World's Series behind me, as something of a drawing card. The stage seemed to be set for me and I have no doubt that had matters progressed as I thought they would, I should now be well located on the Pacific slope.

    Unfortunately my efforts to obtain a suitable Pacific Coast League ball club were not destined to prove successful. And so it happened that after I had turned my back on familiar scenes and old associates, I found myself constrained to begin all over again with a two years contract and with uncertain though limited time at my disposal.

    I won't deny that the winter was something of a disappointment. And yet, perhaps it was better so. A ball club is still a risky venture. I might not have made good. Anyway, I seem to have many friends in this part of the country who wish me well and hope that I may linger with them quite a little while to come.

    I have been a long time in this League and with this ball club. Many things have happened and I can note a decided change in pitching standards. Ball clubs carry more pitchers than they used to and change them more frequently. But the big thing, I believe is the new ball and the particular rules which seen to govern the ball. It isn't so much that the ball now is use is livelier than it was years ago. What is fully as important is that fact that it is thrown out so often that you always seem to have a new ball in your hand. When I broke into the League most of the time a pitcher used a rather battered ball that was often discolored. Such a ball thrown with the speed that I used would hop a good deal, and because it was often discolored, it was harder to see. Pitching conditions as they exist now favor the batter a good deal.

    Pitching does not seem to me to be as good as it was, though I may be prejudiced. I certainly pay little respect to stories of iron man pitching stunts like Radbournes'. I do not believe that any pitcher ever lived with more strength or endurance than Ed Walsh. I do not believe any pitcher ever lived who could pitch oftener than a number of pitchers who are wearing the uniform now. The style of game in these days was different. I don't say they were not good pitchers, but they had an easier job. There are kids on the sand lots who pitch every day and they think nothing of it. They wouldn't pitch every day in the Big Leagues however. No pitcher is going in there now and pitch twenty or thirty consecutive ball games. The pitcher hasn't changed but baseball has changed.

    I believe it is just as hard to compare batters of the present with batters of twenty or thirty years ago. The lively ball has helped batters in recent years. But, on the other hand, there may be other factors which have handicapped batting. It's pretty hard to say. It is all right to compare batters who have worked in approximately the same period of time, but to compare batters of one generation with those of another generation is difficult and the records don't help you much. Perhaps my opinion is not worth any more than others, but this is my nineteenth year of facing Major League batters and I have faced some good ones during that time.

    I wouldn't care to say who was the best hitter I ever faced. I never saw Hans Wagner but, I have faced Hornsby, but only in an exhibition game when he wasn't in his best form. No I am not in a position to judge just how good he is. Undoubtedly he has developed greatly in recent years. I am inclined to believe that the hitter who impressed me most of all those that I have faced was Lajoie. It is hard for me to believe that anybody could be a greater hitter than the Frenchman.

    I would put Joe Jackson close to him, however. Joe was certainly one of the greatest natural hitters who ever lived. Poor Joe is out of it now and I feel sorry for him. Others were guilty. Joe was merely foolish. Tris Speaker was a great hitter, but I don't think he had quite the natural talent that Joe had.

    Of course Ty Cobb has to be considered. But I don't class Ty with Joe Jackson or Lajoie. So far as natural hitting ability is concerned, they were his superior beyond any reasonable doubt. Where Ty had it on them and where he has it on any batter who ever lived is in amazing speed and tricky head work. He was always doing something, bunting, placing his hits here and there through the infield, slugging when he had to slug. An ordinary roller to short stop was a hit for Ty. If you're talking about great players, Ty is in a class by himself. But when I say that a fellow is a good hitter, I mean that he is naturally a good batter, quite apart from speed of foot, originality and all round head work.

    Eddie Collins was a great hitter, but he was something of the Ty Cobb type. He was a fellow who always made his head help out his batting eye. Sam Crawford and Frank Baker were good heavy hitters, uncommonly good but they wouldn't rank with the Frenchman or with Joe Jackson.

    Babe Ruth is the most dangerous hitter I ever saw, but he is not the best hitter. Like Ty Cobb, Babe has other talents which help out his batting. He is so big and strong that sheer strength works for him just as speed worked for Ty Cobb. Ty would beat out an infield hit by fast footwork. Babe will beat out an infield hit by sheer strength, for he will top a ball and still drive it through the infield for a hit.

    The public figures a batter altogether by results. His average is what counts. But a pitcher figures a batter by his ability as a batter. Ruth will look worse in one game than Lajoie would look all season. He will sometimes get crossed up and miss a ball by two feet. Lajoie was a well nigh perfect hitter. Ruth, at times, is about as imperfect as anybody you could think of. But he is, with it all, naturally a good hitter and his prodigious strength and knack of driving the ball for long clouts makes him the most dangerous batter in the game.

    I sometimes hear a batter say he likes curve pitching better than fast ball pitching . I'm inclined to doubt that statement myself. If a fast ball is very fast with a hop on it like a bullet, then it's hard to hit, but ordinarily a curve will bother a man more than a fast ball.

    But I am just as strong for speed as I ever was. I have said, and still maintain it that if a man hasn't a fast ball, he isn't a pitcher. Fast ball pitching is natural pitching. The men who have lasted a long time in baseball always had good speed. Curve ball pitching is unnatural. It twists and wrenches the arm. So does the average slow ball. But fast ball pitching is just as natural for a pitcher's arm as it is natural for a dog to run.

    Some people have been kind enough to tell me that they were glad I came back because I could perhaps break a few records over my long career. That is a phase of the question that I never even considered. For example, I don't know how many ball games I have won in my career or how near I am to equaling somebody else's record. I have won all that I could and let it go at that.

    Strike-outs have been my specialty, but that is merely because my style of pitching naturally expresses itself in strike-outs. Generally you will find a speed pitcher strikes out more men than a curve pitcher. Some years ago I pitched a game in which I struck out ten men in the first five innings. Then we got a big lead and I didn't strike out any more. I didn't need to. Perhaps if I had set out to do so, I might have struck out fifteen or sixteen men. The last game of 1923 I struck out twelve men. I had struck out eleven and the crowd was rooting for me to make it a dozen. I didn't know what they were yelling about, for I never keep count of the number of strike-outs I make. But anyway I struck out the last man up and they were satisfied.

    Having a lot of stuff may not enable you to strike out batters as well as considerably less stuff would do. When I first broke into the League I had so much stuff that I figured any batter who went in there swinging from the handle was bound to strike out once or twice during the game anyway. But the batters learned not to swing from the handle. They started meeting the ball so it was more difficult for me to strike them out. There are days now when I have a lot of stuff, the batters will choke up and punch at the ball. On days when I have less stuff, they may swing from the handle and I will strike out more of them.

    A pitcher can never be certain to strike out any batter. But there are times when he already has two strikes on the batter and is in the hole himself, so he has to exert himself to retire the side that he can, if he has stuff enough, feel reasonably sure of fanning the batter. And that's the only time when a pitcher should exert himself to strike a man out.

    What goes for strike-outs goes equally well for shut-outs. No pitcher ever deliberately pitches a shut-out, unless the score is 1 to 0 against him or there is no score at all. Ordinarily he merely aims to win his ball game. If there is a big score in his favor, he can afford to take things a little easier and he's foolish not to do this, for the pitcher will exert his arm enough in the general course of the season without exerting it unnecessarily.

    The lively ball has made a baseball game much more uncertain that it used to be. There was a time when, if the club gave me a two-run lead, I felt that I could count on that game as already in. Now a two-run lead is nothing to get chesty about. A home run with a man on base will wipe out that lead.

    Homers always were a black eye to a pitcher. Twice in my career I have lost ball games because the first man up hit me for a home run, the only score of the game. Doc Johnston did that once and Harry Hooper was the other batter. That was a tough break. Pitching through a game with the score 1 to 0 against you is a tough assignment anyway. You can't let the other club score any runs at all. And still, though you pitch shut-out ball, with the exception of that one slip, the best you can look for is a loss, unless your team pulls the game out of the fire.

    The worst hole a pitcher can be in is to have three men on and nobody out. Still, that situation has its compensations. You can make a forced play at any base, but you've got to play a mighty tight game with no slips. Ordinarily I would rather have a man on second and third and nobody on first, than to have the bases full. That gives you a chance to work on the batter. Even if I pass him I am no worse off.

    One of the best games I ever pitched was against the Red Sox when they were a great team. There was no score on either side and then in the ninth inning they got three men on with nobody out. But I managed to pull out of that hole and won the game in the fifteenth inning by the score of 1 to 0.

    Fortunately a pitcher isn't called upon to face that bit of hard luck very often. It may not happen more than once or twice in a season. What happens rather often, however, and what is always a present danger, is a batting rally.

    A batting rally is a queer thing. Sometimes it seems to come because a pitcher has begun to weaken. That isn't always the case, however. I know I have faced batting rallies when I was just as good as ever and knew it. But the boys had started to hit and they seemed determined to hit anything. What makes matters worse, from the pitcher's viewpoint, is the fact that such a rally seems to inspire every batter with more confidence. The fellow just up has made a hit and he's is going to make a hit. It's largely a matter of psychology.

    Sometimes a batting rally is a bit of strategy on the manager's part. He has been studying the pitcher for some innings, instructing the batters to wait him out. And then, when he feels that the time is ripe, he orders them to hit. If his judgment is sound and he has picked the right moment, the batters may succeed in shelling the pitcher off the mound before he is able to protect himself.

    Luck plays an important part in batting rallies. The batters are certainly getting the breaks. I have fooled batters at such a time with curves so badly that they hit the ball with the handle of their bats and still it went safe. In my opinion the only way to stop a batting rally is to call up some reserve speed, put everything you have on the ball and breeze it past them. A batter isn't going to hit a ball very hard that he can't see.

    With this fast rabbit ball the pitcher not only has to figure the batter and the opposing team, but he also must take into consideration the ball park as well. For example, there are stunts that I would try at Washington, that I wouldn't try, for example, at the Yankee Stadium.

    A pitcher can fall back occasionally on his reputation. I have always been known to have a good fast ball. There have been plenty of times when I could get by on speed and nothing else. The best curve ball ever invented wouldn't get a pitcher very far with nothing else. There have been games, however, when my speed wasn't right. I pitched a game two years ago when I really couldn't pitch a fast ball. I had been sick and my stuff had left me temporarily, so I pitched curves and slow balls and got away with it, simply because the batters were expecting every minute that I was going to cut loose with some speed. I fooled them for one game, but if I pitched that way very long they would murder me.

    I do not pay much respect to wind up. I do not believe it deceives many batters. There have been pitchers with an effective wind up, particularly for a slow ball. Most peculiar wind ups are used by left-handed pitchers.

    A pitcher feels good and bad by turns, like every other person. But feelings don't affect his work as much as you would suppose. I have gone into the game feeling great, only to be knocked out of the box. On the other hand, the best game, theoretically at least, that I ever pitched was when I was just recovering from an attack of grippe and didn't think I was able to work at all. I really had no idea of sticking through the game. I told Griff I would go in and pitch for an inning and see how I felt. I did this and told him I could work another inning. By that time my arm was pretty well loosened up so I finished the game without allowing a hit. I believe I deserved that no-hit game too, although such a game is always a trifle lucky.

    Control is just as important to me now as it ever was . You can't over-rate a pitcher's control. I used to wonder what control really was. Now I think I know. It is comprised of four things-confidence, practice, condition and natural talents. If a man doesn't think he can get the ball over the plate, he can't get it over. Practice is important. All pitchers know that if they get rusty, their control suffers. Condition is very important, and by condition I mean not only physical health, but pitching in turn. A pitcher's arm is just right or it isn't just right. It's best when he takes his regular turn in the box. Those three things are all important, but you must add natural talent to round them out. Some pitchers can just naturally aim a ball more accurately than others. It's a gift.

    Important as control is to a pitcher, it may be something of a defect. Take my own case for instance. I have often been told I would have been more successful if my control had not been so steady. The batters could always depend upon my getting the ball over the plate, or at least trying to, so they weren't gun shy. If I had had the reputation of being a little wild, they would have tried to avoid getting hit all the time and that would have bothered them.

    Stuff is valuable to a pitcher, but there are times when too much of that is bad. On my very good days, I have sometimes had more stuff than I could use to advantage. The ball would hop a little too much and go wild. This only proves, I suppose, that it's possible to have too much of a good thing.

    On the whole, I am inclined to believe that a base on balls bothers a pitcher more than a hit. There are three reasons for this. In the first place, a base on balls usually means more physical exertion than a hit. The pitcher must have given the batter at least four balls and quite possible two or three strikes, including fouls. A hit may have been made off the first ball pitched. In the second place, a hit is often an accident. A pitcher knows this quite as well as the batter. He knows that he had the batter fooled, but that luck broke with him. Accidents are unpleasant, but they don't impair his confidence in himself. That's no doubt the biggest injury he suffers from a base on balls. He's inclined to be suspicious of his own control.

    For much the same reason hitting a batter bothers a conscientious pitcher worst of all. A speed pitcher like myself doesn't want to hit a batter, if he has any conscience, because he knows that he may injure that batter. If he hits a man he is therefore likely to be extra cautious not to hit the next fellow up and so may cut down a little on his stuff or get the ball right over the heart of the plate where it can be more easily hit.

    You read a lot about bad balls. A bad ball isn't necessarily a ball that doesn't happen to be over the plate or is too high or too low. It's simply a ball that that particular batter likes. I believe there are about as many hits made off so-called bad balls as there are off perfect strikes.

    I suppose I am pretty lucky to be able to pitch at all after all these years. And right now I am doubly lucky in being with a strong team that has just proved itself a champion. But I have had my ups and downs. This is my nineteenth year with Washington. True enough, I was glad to get there when they offered me a job for I was only a rookie in Idaho. Washington has treated me well, but at the same time I would have prospered much more, financially, with certain other clubs. Most of the time I have been with Washington, the team has been entirely out of the running.

    This has hurt me in every way. In the first place, it has hurt my record. It has often been said that no modern pitcher would ever equal Cy Young's great record of winning over 500 ball games. I am very certain that I will never equal that record at least. But I might have done so had I been with a strong club instead of a weak club for going on nineteen years. I believe I would have won a hundred more ball games in those years. Everyone will agree that would have made some difference to my record.

    A player values a record not only for its own sake, but because it affects his salary. He likes to be with a strong club not only because he wants to win, but because a strong club is prosperous and can pay him more money. There are players in this League who have been in five or six World's Series. That's a small fortune in itself.

    While I appreciate the fact that my career has been by no means so profitable as it might have been had I signed, for example, with New York, I have never had any sympathy with fellows who laid down on the job with the avowed intention of being traded. Not a few players in this League have benefited by just such tactics, but I never would resort to such questionable methods myself I have always given my best work to the ball club every year. A player owes something to his own self respect.

    I deliberately said good-bye to the American league and circumstances over-ruled me. Some day circumstances will compel me to say good-bye. When they do, I want to be able to leave the game with a free mind. I want to feel that I have nothing with which to reproach myself. I want to know that I have played a square game in a square way. (Interview with Walter Johnson, Baseball Magazine, June, 1925, pp. 291, 291, 292, 327, 329)
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-24-2008 at 04:36 PM.

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    -------------Christy Mathewson Picks an All-America Team for Collier's------------
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    A man who is known to every fan on earth here does for baseball what for years Walter Camp, writing in Collier's, has done for football. He has reviewed the season just closing and named the men who, in his opinion, have proved themselves the greatest in their respective positions on the diamond. He has chosen two teams - a first and a second. We'd go a long way to see a series of games between them.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    --------------------Collier's, the National Weekly, for October 11, 1924


    In choosing the All-America Baseball Team for 1924, I am assuming the role of a manager with the material of both major leagues at his command and a baseball game to play. I am assuming the game is to be played under conditions and with equipment typical of the season of 1924 and that the characteristics of that season will still predominate.

    Before I can proceed to the formation of the strongest possible combination from the players at my disposal, it is imperative that I reach a definite understanding of what those characteristics are.

    The may be succinctly summarized as follows:

    Nineteen twenty-four was another year of high score games hard-hit balls, and harassed pitchers. Several clubs, notably Pittsburgh and Detroit, made an early-season effort to revive the obsolete art of base stealing, but they soon found the 1924 ball as fast as ever and abandoned attempted base thefts as a useless risk. The next man up was far too likely to hit a three-bagger.

    So the season, long before it had reached the halfway mark, settled down into another slugger's year. Both right-and left-handed pitching suffered. Pitching in both leagues continued the previous year's improvement as a matter of accuracy, due to the fact that balls in all parks were again left in the game longer, but hitting nevertheless maintained a sharply defined lead.

    The records, still incomplete as this article is being written, seem to show that left-handed pitchers as a class fared better than right-handers this year, but paradoxically enough 1924 was also a year of sensational left-handed hitting.

    This last fact is the clinching argument that 1924 was a year of batting supremacy and a true index to the requirement that any team built to win 1924 -style baseball must be a batting team. Defensive power must be there too, of course, but in choosing between two men with anything approximating equal defensive ability the player who can hit the ball hardest and oftenest must be given the call.

    With that fact in mind, I start assembling my team of world beaters.

    For the catching assignment, I single out Bassler of Detroit and Myatt of Cleveland.

    Bassler is considered by most experts the smartest catcher of the year. He has the ideal temperament and talent for the highly specialized art of backstopping. He is aggressive in a thoroughly wholesome manner, a quick thinker, a masterful handler of pitchers, the posseser of a powerful arm, and a batter of the clean-up variety.

    Bassler is exceptionally "smart around the plate," a sure guardian, and a power in stopping the double steal. He never cripples his pitcher by demanding repeated pitch-outs, and the fact that he coaxed Rip Collins, Yankee and Red Sox trade-off, Whitehill, a rookie, and Holloway to pitch Detroit into a contending position in the American League race this year is high tribute to his all-around value.

    Myatt's chance came this year when Steve O'Neill went to the Red Sox, and he promptly shouldered his way into the limelight. He is faster than Bassler, but lacks Bassler's experience and skill in guarding the plate and stopping the double steal.

    Myatt is a strong right-field hitter and especially valuable on his home diamond, where the right-field wall is close in, but he is a great at all times with an average that has hovered between .320 and .330 from the first.

    Hartnett of the Cubs, Severeid of the Browns, and Ruel of Washington are all splendid catchers, but they haven't pounded the ball this year with the viciousness of Bassler and Myatt.

    Vance of Brooklyn and Walter Johnson of Washington are unquestionably kings of the pitchers. Vance, the "Strike-out King," supplanted Adolfo Luque this year as leading "Won-and-Lost" pitcher and also shattered his own 1923 record of 197 strike-outs.

    The tall Brooklynite used a fast-breaking hook such as carried Luque to glory in 1923, but mixed it with a faster ball than Luque's. Control he had in the pinches, but ordinarily he was just wild enough to make him unbeatable. Even the most daring batsman hesitates to crowd the plate on Vance.

    Vance probably reached the peak of his 1924 season on August 23rd at Chicago when he struck out fifteen Cubs for the season's record to that date, six of them consecutively, lifting his year's total to 196, which is one less than his record mark for the entire season of 1923.

    Vance is also that rare gem - a good fielding pitcher. He has a sound minor-league background and easily qualifies as one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

    Walter Johnson's eighteenth season of major-league ball has found him greater than ever. Long a magnificent figure with a team never until this year in the running, Johnson has has one of his greatest seasons. His fast ball may have leaked some of its former steam, but it is still so much faster than the majority of fast balls doing business that it still has the batters lunging at the spot it just left.

    Walter Johnson is also a batter of ability. He frequently goes in as a pinch hitter, and when he smacks a ball it travels. With him in the game pressure would be on the opposing pitcher all the way. There would be no respite anywhere along the line. Our offensive team would always be in danger of breaking through.

    Hollis Thurston of the White Sox is a youngster who made a splendid impression in 1924. He is colorful, confident, and aggressive. He has an uncanny ability to sneak the ball by the batter. Some sixth sense seems to enable him to serve his pitch either just before of just after the batter is ready for it. He promises to become one of the very real stars of the future.

    Vance, Johnson, and Thuston are right-handers. A team doing actual battle should also have a supply of left-handers in reserve. Joe Shaute of Cleveland, Earl Whitehill of the Tigers, and Jack Bentley of the Giants are three left-handers who have come to the fore this year. Artie Nehf of the Giants is a veteran of established worth, and Wingard of the Browns has looked unbeatable at times.

    In selecting Fournier of Brooklyn and Sheely of the White Sox as my first basemen, I am for the first time setting aside other considerations to get men who slaughter the ball. Fournier, my first choice, isn't so perfect a target as George Kelley of the Giants, for example. He isn't the relay and cut-off man Kelley is.

    He may not field his position so cleanly as Jim Bottomley of the Cardinals, Charley Grimm of the Pirates, Joe Judge of the Senators, or Lu Blue of the Tigers, but he is an all-round workman of parts, nevertheless, and he is by far the most murderous batsman of the group. As this is being written Fournier is leading the National League in home runs with twenty-five to his credit, and his batting average is .346. Sheely trails ten points below him, and Judge, the nearest of the others, is fourteen points below Sheely.

    Fournier has a sufficiency of other points to supplement his slugging. He is fast, despite his years in the harness, and his throwing arm is still one of the best. He bats left-handed.

    Sheely, a right-hand hitter, impresses me as one of the smartest stickmen in the game. He is invaluable on the batting end of the hit and run. He can hit behind the runner, pull his shot through short or push it through second with uncanny skill. He is a great target at first and can dig a ball out of the dirt better than Fournier. His handicap is lack of speed, but he is great despite it. Sheely at first, Eddie Collins at second, and Harry Hooper in right field bunch three of the smartest men in baseball in one corner of the White Sox defense.

    The first basemen can't be passed without a reference to George Sisler. He is still great, but he is sadly not the Sisler of two years ago. The dimming of this brilliant star is one of the real tragedies of baseball history. It is to be fervently hoped that this eclipse is only temporary.

    Hornsby of the Cardinals gets the assignment over Eddie Collins of the White Sox at second only because of the tremendous hitting. The only established .400 hitter in baseball, and five-time leader of the National League, Hornsby's is one of the great names in baseball's Hall of Fame.

    Hornsby doesn't cover so much ground as Collins nor offer the brilliant defensive play of Frisch, but he is nevertheless dependable, with a great arm a natural flair for the game, and a pair of the fastest legs of the decade. Archdeacon of the White Sox is called the fastest man in baseball, and perhaps he could beat out Hornsby down the first base line. But I should like to see them race against each other from first to third. I think I'd back the National Leaguer to get there first.

    Eddie Collins, playing his nineteenth consecutive season in the game, is second choice for the keystone assignment. He has been hitting close to .340 all year and leading his league in stolen bases despite his 38 years of age. Collins is a finished defensive second baseman in every sense of the term. He plays his position the same as Speaker plays the outfield, shifting constantly on each count and pitch. He has the knack of getting the jump on the batter and he does even the most difficult things so well that they appear ridiculously easy.

    Despite the fact that three of the greatest stars of the contemporary game, Hornsby, Collins, and Frisch, are second basemen, the keystone position is the weakest in the major leagues at present. After these three the field falls rapidly away with the single exception of Maranville of the Pirates, who shifted to second this season after years of starring at short stop and continued his splendid playing.

    Stanley Harris, the young manager of the Senators, and Aaron Ward of the Yankees were the other outstanding second-sackers of the year.

    -------------------------------Frisch is Best at Third----------------
    -----------------
    Frank Frisch of the Giants and Joe Dugan of the Yankees are my nominations at third. Frisch's normal position is at second base, of course, but he was a star third baseman before he became a star second baseman, and any team defending the honor of American baseball would be foolishly discounting its strength if it failed to avail itself of his spectacular defensive play and his sharp work with the willow.

    Frisch has a marvelous pair of hands. He is a courageous, desperate, try-for-everything type of player. He is lightning fast of brain and body. He has a powerful, arm and can throw from any angle. He hits from either side of the plate and clubs at a .330 clip. In short, he is a Fielding third baseman who gets the call over other fielding third basemen because of superior hitting ability.

    Joe Dugan is the best of the bona fide third basemen. Although barely in the .300 class, he is a hitter of the clean-up category with an especial perchant for the two-baggers and three-baggers. He too has great hands. They have a particular affinity for balls that take wicked hops, and many apparent base hits are tamed by his spectacular knockdowns.

    Traynor of the Pirates and Kamm of the White Sox are other star third sackers. Traynor batted for .337 in 1923 but he wallowed in a slump until midseason of 1924. Both Frisch and Dugan are more versatile batsmen that Traynor and will hit the ball harder to the different fields.

    All these men are exceptional on bunts laid down their alley, and Dugan and Kamm are wonderful handling that more exacting chance - a topped ball. Traynor has the best throwing arm of the lot perhaps, but Frisch and Dugan will shade him getting the ball away. Walter Lutzke of Cleveland is a marvelous fielding third baseman, but his hitting ability isn't so marked.

    For shortstop, my first choice is Bancroft of the Braves. I have never seen more brilliant shortstop play than Bancroft's while he was in the game this year. The ease with which he plays a ball would appeal to these efficiency experts who go into the different trades to eliminate lost motion. He can go farther to either side to get a ball and cut off his man than any shortstop since Hans Wagner.

    Banny covers a huge amount of territory, and he is near perfection in the all-important item of midfield defense. He is an adept on relays and cutoffs with throws from the outfield; he is the best man in either league handling the long or short throw against the double steal, and he puts the ball on a runner with the best of them. He is sure fire on either end of the double play and like Frisch, is reversible at bat. He was hitting like a demon when illness removed him from the battlefield.

    Young Glenn Wright, the brand-new Pittsburgher, is my second choice for the short field, although he is quite a drop from Bancroft. He is a youngster of great promise. He takes a hard cut at the ball and is a busybody at all times. He is exceptionally fast for a big man and he fields the position cleanly. The fact that he jumped from the minors into the pivotal position of a contending major-league club and made good from the start gives a true line on his ability.

    Walter Gerber of the St. Louis Americans is even a faster fielder than Bancroft. He can make a play faster when he has to than any shortstop I have ever seen, but he is not so dependable at bat as Bancroft and Wright.

    Peckinpaugh of the Senators, Joe Sewell of Cleveland, and Everett Scott, the wonderful veteran of the Yankees, are the other great shortstops of the year with Chick Galloway of the Athletics and Travis Jackson of the Giants close behind.

    From the plenitude of outfield material the 1924 season produced, I am selecting Babe Ruth of the Yankees, Edd Roush of Cincinnati, and Bib Falk of the White Sox for my first string, with young Hazen Cuyler of the Pirates, Ty Cobb of Detroit, and Zack Wheat of Brooklyn in reserve.

    These are six of the most murderous sluggers in baseball. If any one of them had a real batting weakness in the season just closed, the pitchers in their respective leagues failed to discover it. But they were also considerably more than mere sluggers. They exhibited a sterling brand of defensive play that was usually overlooked because all eyes were riveted upon their tremendous hitting.

    Babe Ruth in right field is an unquestionable nomination. His record as the leading slugger of all time is too well known to require amplification here. He is unquestionably the most valuable player in the game. Most enthusiasts think of Ruth only as a mighty batsman. As a mater of fact, he is a very finished outfielder with a marvelous throwing arm; and the fact that he was one of the greatest left-hand pitchers in the game before he became an outfielder is now generally forgotten.

    Ruth plays a hard-hit ball as well as any outfielder in the business. He goes after a ground ball like an infielder, and for all his size he is a smart and daring base runner.

    Vicing for Ruth I should place Hazen Cuyler, who broke in as a regular this year with Pittsburgh and became the sensation of his league. Cuyler is young, strong, and fast. He can throw and run with the best of them and his hitting for the season has been better than .380.

    ---------------------The Years Keep Cobb Off----------------------------

    In Center Field, I select Edd Roush over Cobb and Speaker because he is still great in every department, while time has begun to take its toll of the remarkable Tris and Ty; I place him ahead of Archdeacon of the White Sox because Archdeacon eventually faltered after a sensational start, while Roush started poorly, then blazed his way to heights never attained before in his career.

    Roush is a finished outfielder in every sense of the word. He is a great ground covered, a shifting ball hawk, and a clean-up slugger of the .350 class.

    Ty Cobb, like Babe Ruth, is far too well known to require comment here. Ty is slowing a little but he is still one of the greatest of them all.

    Bib Falk in left is a fitting teammate for Ruth and Roush. he is wonderful on a fly ball, and with Ruth is the best throwing outfielder in the game. He hits better than .350 and, like Roush, plays all over his field. Like Ruth and Roush, Falk can also go back after a ball. This is the ultimate test of outfield greatness. When a man can play in close enough to snare short hits and still go back fast enough to pull down the long ones, he is of double value to his club.

    Zack Wheat get the alternate assignment in left chiefly because of his hitting. Wheat's arm isn't so good as it once was and he doesn't handle a ground ball so well as the first stringers, but his .350 batting average would fit in handsomely with any plan of attack.

    --------------------------The Question of Batting Order----------------------

    Having selected this first team of heavy-hitting stars, I should next build me a batting order that would enable me to utilize their several talents to the fullest. This is the order in which I should send them to the plate:

    1. Bancroft
    2. Roush
    3. Ruth
    4. Hornsby
    5. Falk
    6. Fournier
    7. Frisch
    8. Bassler
    9. Vance


    Bancroft is an ideal lead-off man. He hits either right-handed or left-handed. Bancroft is a good waiter and is presented with many a base on balls. He hits hard enough to keep the infielders back, but he is also fast enough to make a bunt extremely dangerous.

    Roush as second man is not only a long slugger who could be depended to bring Bancroft in, but he is also fast enough to make an infielder hustle to double him at first. Roush can lay down a bunt expertly when that strategy is resorted to or he can take a free swing if that seems advisable.

    Although Ruth and Hornsby both bat third for their respective teams, I should send the Babe up ahead of Hornsby here because he is a long hitter, while Hornsby's specialty is base hitting. Ruth would either clean the bases or clout a long sacrifice fly. In case of a shorter hit or a base on balls, he is fast enough to stay ahead of Hornsby, who, batting as clean-up man, could do whatever Ruth failed to in the matter of cleaning house.

    The heavy artillery would already be under way, with Falk, Fournier, Frisch, and Bassler waiting in line to keep up the drum fire. The batting average of this team, based on 1924 figures and exclusive of Vance, is something over .350.

    Vance is not a hitting pitcher, but Walter Johnson is, and with the latter in there, terrific pressure would be on the opposing battery all the way. The opposing hurler would have to pitch his hardest at every stage, for all these men are smart batsmen. They don't go after the bad ones. The all have to be pitched to.

    The opposing infield would be under a severe strain also, for any one of these batters is smart enough to cross up the defense with an unexpected bunt at any stage.

    The fact that Roush, Ruth, Falk, Fournier, and Bassler are all natural left-hand hitters may draw the criticism that this is a left-handed batting team. That criticism won't hold because players with the batting averages of these stars have proved that they can hit any kind of pitching.

    This team of mine may never be assembled as a unit on a playing field, but if it could, and would play up to its capabilities, I fail to see how it could be defeated. It boasts the best of everything that makes baseball a game - tremendous hitting power, sensational fielding ability, and pitching of unbeatable class. With a manager like John McGraw to guide its destiny, there is no limit to the heights it might attain. ( He also chose Ty Cobb of Detroit, to manage his second team) (End of article)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Bill Burgess

    PS. This is a lot of typing. Is anyone getting any satisfaction out of these articles?
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-08-2005 at 03:10 PM.

  6. #6
    PS. This is a lot of typing. Is anyone getting any satisfaction out of these articles?
    Great stuff, Bill.
    -----------------------------------------
    538280 09-21-2005, 02:08 PM

    Any more historical articles, Bill? I find them to be quite interesting.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    blackout805 09-21-2005, 03:14 PM

    thanks for posting these William, these are baseball gold!
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Sultan_1895-1948 09-21-2005, 05:41 PM

    Damn Bill, thanks

    Very interesting, keep 'em coming. Anything about Ruth is always appreciated. Players who played with him and saw him, clearly understand that he could do it all. And now I have a quote from Christy which says as much

    Thanks again.
    ps. Anything Gehrig or DiMaggio related would be cool too
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    blackout805 09-24-2005, 04:18 PM

    please post more articles!@##!@!#@#@!!#@#@!#!@
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    four tool 09-26-2005, 07:29 AM

    Bill, you never cease to amaze me. Incredible stuff. Johnson's evaluation the strength and weakness of various hitters is masterful. Did he really say Joe Jackson could have beat out the records of Cobb and Ruth?

    Sounds like a new discussion to me
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    janduscframe 09-26-2005, 02:17 PM

    I'm with Cold Nose. Good thread and I'll read all you guys care to post.
    Bill, I have an article in which Ty Cobb recalls his "greatest day in baseball".
    Do you have it? or should I post it? I'm under the impression you kind of admired Mr. Cobb.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    yanks0714 11-08-2005, 02:01 PM

    Keep'em coming. I found this extremely educational and fascinating.
    -------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-06-2005 at 05:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Mt. View, CA, above San Jose
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    Randy,

    Thanks so much for the appreciation. Always appreciate appreciation. Since you sound so pleased with Christy lauding The Babe, allow me to toss in another bone. This one is just for you, Randy.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Christy lauds The Babe: (The Outlook, August 30, 1922, pp. 704, Interview by Frederick M. Davenport)

    We fell to discussing the salaries of big players. "They are very much larger now than they were in my day," said Mathewson. "I began at $250 a month for six months' work. Even at the height of the period the best players got only from $7,000 to $10, 000 for the season. Now I hear that Babe Ruth gets somewhere near $40,000 a year."

    Here was an opening. I said, "Isn't Babe Ruth growing irascible and showing pretty poor self-control?" Instantly the poise and breadth of sympathy of Mathewson showed itself. "Well, I don't know," he replied. "Self-control is a wide word. Sometimes the management doesn't think a player has self-control because he exercises his own judgment at the bat instead of following implicitly the directions of the coach. Ruth is what he is. It is his temperament which makes him so valuable to baeball and so worthy of his salary. The mass of people on the bleachers care most for a man whom they can cheer to-day and jeer to-morrow, and Ruth fits into that picture. He is on the heights when the bleachers rock with applause, and he is correspondingly depressed and irritable sometimes when the great crowd turns on him because he doesn't produce the thrills. It is all in the mercurial temperament. And it is the very thing which gives Ruth great money value.

    Now there is Sisler, of the St. Louis team--he is every bit as valuable a player as Ruth, some people think more valuable. But he has another temperament. When he makes a great hit or a great play and the crowd are ready to idolize him, he modestly touches his cap and fades away out of sight. He doesn't fit into the picture."
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 07-14-2008 at 09:59 PM.

  8. #8
    Just for anyone interested in listing old articles from magazines and books.

    It is legal to relist an article from any source if said source falls into one of the following -

    1.Article is from a defunct magazine or newspaper.

    2.Article has been reproduced in another source by said publisher or author.

    3.Article is older than 20 years.

    4.Article has been found to be false in some part.

    5.If you hold a paid subscription to a source you may save to your pc and house a link to a blog site.

    6.Article has written consent of the author or publisher.

    7.Article has a quote or reference to the person posting said article.

    8.Article has a quote from a direct family member that can be considered a family archive


    Hope this helps.I had to look at all the ends and outs of articles for a class a couple of years ago.

    Most publishers dont care if articles are used for a website as long as it is used for non negative means.

    Matt Drudge online is the source of above....

    Just be sure to use the author's byline.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Tiger fan living in Reds country
    Posts
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    HOT TAMALE CIRCUIT
    By Kyle Crichton
    FROM COLLIER'S
    Copyright @1946, Kyle Crichton

    In 1946 the American baseball player was still in serfdom to the reserve clause and all the attendant evils that a standard baseball contract offered. Playing ball in Mexico during the off season was an attractive moonlight occupation which American owners resented and fought. The author comes to grips with the whole issue of the relationship between management and employees that even today is besmirching the sport of baseball. Originally this piece was two different articles, but they are here combined.

    In Mexico City Mickey Owen was on second base when the next hitter drove a fly into right field. Mickey tagged up and set sail for third as soon as the ball was caught. He made it safely by one of the famous belly-buster slides specialized in by Pepper Martin of the St. Louis Cardinals.

    This was Mr. Owen's first game in Mexico City and he had been on Mexican soil only a week. The altitude in Mexico City is 7,325 feet and most visitors not only refrain from belly-busting but take to their beds immediately on arrival. Mickey is obviously a brave man, but as he lay on the ground at Delta Parque there were varying thoughts about him in the capacity crowd. Had it not been for the stern and challenging eye of Senor Jorge Pasquel, president of the American League, it is quite possible that sporting bloods among the spectators would willingly have ventured a few centavos on the proposition that Senor Owen would never get up alive. Mr. Owen arose, dusted particles of sacred Aztec soil from his uniform, and was left there on third when Chili Gomez hit into a double play and killed the rally.

    We mention this excruciatingly unimportant detail because it represents one of the minor hazards to be faced by American players crossing the border. Now that the original tumult and shouting have died, it is possible to estimate Mexican baseball and see what it means to the blacklisted American players who have temporarily departed the homeland for a sample of Senor Pasquel's gold.

    It may seem farfetched to say it, but that arrival of Mickey Owen in Mexico City was an event of considerable international importance. It followed close on the departure of Vernon Stephens, who had fled to the States across the border at Laredo as if he were escaping from a concentration camp. This was bad enough, but subsequent interviews with Stephens produced varying reflections about Mexico which were considered insults by the Mexicans. When a spokesman for the State Department in Washington hinted that it might be well for the American leagues and the Mexican League to get together, he was obviously speaking from information not available to the public.

    In the interests of mutual amity, we shall not recount the entire Stephens story, but it can be said that Jack Fournier, of the St. Louis Browns, met Stephens at Monterrey, and other mysterious Americans went over the border with the intent of facilitating Stephens's release. An explosion could easily have occurred there which would have had tragic consequences for our relations with Mexico. We can get an idea of how the Mexicans felt by envisioning a situation in which Mexican agents filtered into Chicago by nightfall and spirited away a Mexican player on the ground that he was in danger from gangsters.

    Owen and his wife had reached San Antonio on their way to Mexico when the Stephens incident occurred. It gave them pause, and they were further harassed by pressure from the American side. The general tenor of the remarks was that the Mexican League would blow up and Owen wouldn't get his money; also he would be mixed up with a gambling racket, would sacrifice a good career in the States, and might even end up shot by tough Mexican hombres who didn't like his style of catching. The phone in the Owen hotel room rang all night long, and after a few days it was plain that they either had to get away or collapse.

    A phone call with Branch Rickey had brought merely the suggestion that Mickey come back and be a good boy and Brooklyn would look into his case. Rickey promised further that in fifteen days he would dig up the money so Owen could repay the $20,000 already received from Pasquel. The Owens then got in their car and started to roam. When they reached Vicksburg, Mississippi, they read a newspaper story saying that Rickey was adamant in his determination that Owen would never again play for Brooklyn but would be traded. That was the finisher. Mickey got in touch with Alfonso Pasquel in Houston and later joined him in Laredo. What Mickey wanted was proof that his five-year contract would be carried out.

    "Name any proposition you want and you'll get it," said Alfonso.

    Jorge Pasquel has stated privately that Owen was paid $50,000 in advance on his contract; Mickey says he was paid a bonus of $12,500 and was given his fifth year's salary of $15,000 in advance. In all, he got $27,500, says Mickey, and is being paid for this year's work as he goes along. He explains the difference between his own and Pasquel's figures by the amount that Pasquel will pay out for Owen's living expenses. It seems impossible that Mickey could live that sumptuously but the point need not be stressed; it is certain that Owen has $27,500 at least and ample assurance for the rest.

    What is most immediately apparent in interviewing the ball players in Mexico is that Pasquel would have had no luck whatever in his recruiting if the players had not been dissatisfied with conditions in the States.

    The landscape of Mexico is dotted, for example, with ex-New York Giant players. Down at Puebla you will see a familiar figure waddle his way out of the coaching box and will recognize him immediately as Dolf Luque, former pitcher and coach of the Giants. With him at Puebla are Napoleon Reyes, Adrian Zabala, and Salvatore Maglie. Up at Laredo are Roy Zimmerman and Tommy German; Danny Gardella and Charley Mead are with the Vera Cruz team in Mexico City. George Hausmann is up at Torreon with Red Hayworth, former St. Louis Browns catcher Ace Adams and Harry Feldman are new arrivals.

    “I did good with Cincinnati and Brooklyn,” said Luque, “but those Giants ...” He stopped and waved a hand. “They don't want to pay nobody no money.”

    “Don't forget those two autographed balls they sent us as a bonus last winter,” laughed Maglie.

    It is difficult to reconcile the opinion the public has of Mel Ott and the resentment the Mexican ex-Giant contingent has against him. Quite aside from the salary differences, they maintain that there is no team spirit on the Giants because Ott suppresses it. At least half a dozen of the men said to us: “Ott never even looked at us away from the ball park. He doesn't mean to do it but he beats you down until you haven't any spirit left as a player.”

    The players particularly resented the treatment given to Nap Reyes, Danny Gardella, and Ace Adams.

    “Maybe Reyes isn't a great player, but he worked his head off for the Giants last year. He played third base and first base and kept going even when he had a leg injury that would have put anybody else on the bench. Then when he couldn't get what he wanted with New York and signed with the Mexican League, the newspapers said it was good riddance and he was a bum anyhow. You can say what you want, but Gardella was the only drawing card the Giants had last year. Ace Adams pitched in over 60 games for two years in a row, and when he left New York one paper said it was the best break the Giants ever had. The Giants broke their record for home attendance last year, with a low-salaried team-and that's what they say about the players that helped them make a fortune.”

    But the financial details are less important than the human element. How are the Americans going to get along in Mexico? What chance has the Mexican League to last? What sort of a man is Jorge Pasquel (pronounced “Pass-kell”)? How will the Americans be affected by the living conditions, the food, the water, the necessity of learning a foreign tongue? To get the answers, we visited the homes of as many American players as we could reach and talked also with Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Mexican players. We have found out a great deal about Mexican baseball and almost as much about American baseball.

    Take the case of Tommy De La Cruz, formerly a very good pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. Tommy was setting the league on fire last year for the Mexico City team (working on a five-year contract at a salary almost twice that of Cincinnati) when he tore a muscle in his leg. He collected his salary for the remaining two months of the year and then Pasquel paid all expenses for a major operation last winter in Havana. When De La Cruz returned to Mexico City this spring, Pasquel refused to let him pitch until it was certain he was in shape. He still wasn't pitching a month after the season opened.

    “Jorge said it didn't matter if I ever pitched again,” said De La Cruz. “He said I was with him for life and could be a manager or coach if I couldn't pitch.”

    The De La Cruzes were established in an expensive apartment in the Washington Apartments with their rent paid and their living expenses assured by the club. The Owens were around the corner in another nice apartment, and down the block were the Frank Scalzis. Scalzi, the former New York Giant player, is known in Mexico as Rizzuti because he played in Mexico under that assumed name in 1940. A short distance away are the Bobby Estalellas in the Latino-Americano apartments. Danny Gardella, late of the New York Giants, is set up in style in an apartment near Hamburgo Street, where Jorge Pasquel lives. Luis Olmo, the former Brooklyn star, is also living in Mexico City, and Charley Mead of the Giants is a new arrival.

    The apartments are rent-free and last year the players were given six hundred pesos a month for living expenses (approximately $120 at the current rate of exchange). But this means nothing under the Pasquel system. If groceries come higher, the players let Pasquel know and he puts up the difference. Without doubt, it is the most amazing thing ever known in the history of sports. The players practically get their salaries clear.

    George Hausmann has his wife and children at Torreon, where they enjoy the privileges of the country club and have a swimming pool for the children. Red Hayworth is also at Torreon and likes it so well that he has sent for his family. Mickey Owen reports that Roy Zimmerman is happy at Nuevo Laredo, and we can testify that the Mexico City contingent feel they are sitting on top of the world. They were worried about Murray Franklin, the ex-Detroit player, at Tampico, where it is hot and not too attractive, but Franklin has stated that he is quite content there. He feels he got a raw deal from Detroit in being dropped after a month of spring training, and is one of the greatest boosters for Mexican baseball.

    Pasquel treats the players with such prodigality that they go about with their eyes popping. In addition to the salaries, bonuses, free apartments, and allowances for living expenses, he pays all doctor and dentist bills and is so free with his largesse that all the players' wives have gold bracelets as gifts from him and many of the players have clothes, watches, and rings as presents. Ramon Bragana, Cuban Negro pitcher and manager of the Vera Cruz team, is wearing a diamond ring presented by Jorge and said to be worth $6,000. Dolf Luque down at Puebla has a new car as a gift from the club.

    Thinking that this might only be true for the higher-priced athletes, we talked with Raymond Dandridge, American Negro second baseman for Mexico City. He assured us that conditions are exactly alike for all players. Since he has been coming to Mexico for many years, he knows the situation well and other players told us with envy that Dandridge was installed in one of the finest houses in town. At forty-two, Dandridge is a wonder as a fielder and hitter. He plays baseball 11 months a year (Panama, Cuba, and Mexico), and there is general agreement that he would be a star on any big-league club in America.

    However, Mexico is not the United States and there are handicaps that are inclined to irk the visitor. It is a country without water, and Mexico City, modem as it may be, is no exception. In some apartments the water is turned off at noon and unless the housewife learns to keep a reserve supply in the bathtub, the family may have a tough time during the day. However, the 6,000 other Americans who make Mexico City their permanent home get used to such difficulties and also accustom themselves to the differences in food.

    The Mexico City ball park looks like a run-down minor league plant in this country. It seats around 20,000 but is a rickety job with no lavatory conveniences, no clubhouse, and no showers for the players. They dress at home and go back home to change. Even President Pasquel's box has no chairs; you sit on the flat boards with no backrest. There is a line of boxes in front holding four patrons sitting on small wire chairs such as we see in drugstores. The Puebla ball park holds around 10,000 and the boxes there consist of one row of grandstand seats protected by a railing.

    However, the league will spend $6,000,000 next year for new parks. Pasquel now has two architects in the States inspecting our plants, and ground will be broken in January for a $2,000,000 Baseball City in Mexico City, with an apartment house for the ball players, space under the stadium for 2,000 cars, and theater seats for the paying guests. Puebla is even now extending its grandstand to care for this season's crowds and will have a new park next year. At Tampico a spur of railroad track runs through right field but that also will soon be corrected. Night ball is played only in Torreon and Laredo. Formerly the league played three games a week, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday morning at 11:30. A fourth game was added, starting in May, and this met with the players' approval because they complain about getting out of shape from too much lying around. But they are frankly relieved at getting away from the seven-day grind in the States.

    “Hell!” said one of the Americans disgustedly. “If we ever had an off day, they'd book an exhibition game. On this system down here a guy should be good to fifty.”

    Pasquel owns two clubs in Mexico City (Mexico and Vera Cruz), controls every park in the league, and is said also to own San Luis Potosi and Torreon. The Tampico is owned by the American Coca-Cola representative, Fleischmann, who is said to net $100,000 a month from the franchise. Laredo is backed by men worth $40,000,000. Monterrey is a rich city and is completely nuts about baseball, and this is true of the whole country. Monterrey, with no American players on its roster, was leading the league in early May. Pasquel's own pet team, Vera Cruz (he was born there and still keeps a residence there), was in last place, and Jorge was suffering audibly. He acts for the good of the league, but when Vera Cruz loses goes into mourning. If he is a dictator, he is having little luck with his dictating.

    Pasquel's personality is all-important in any discussion of Mexican baseball, and it can be said immediately that he is an amazing man. He conducts an importing and exporting business with his brothers (Alfonso, Bernardo, Gerardo, and Mario) but his fingers are in dozens of pies. He owns a ranch near San Luis Obispo and his brother Gerardo owns another near Torreon. Bernardo and Alfonso are installed at Laredo, and Mario, the youngest, is a lawyer in Mexico City. Nobody in Mexico City has any idea what Jorge is worth; it is a matter of as much heated discussion there as it is in some circles here. The first surmise is that Pasquel is confusing pesos and dollars when he speaks of a $60,000,000 fortune, but Pasquel replies that he is well aware of the difference, and it is dollars he is mentioning.

    All we know is that Pasquel seems to be connected with almost every line of activity in Mexico. It is rather well established that he controls a Mexico City bank, although this is not publicly known. His mother owns a cigar factory in Vera Cruz.

    Whether Pasquel has 18 pesos or $60,000,000, he is a red-hot baseball fan and he is also a proud Mexican and there is no possibility whatever that he will give up the fight against American baseball (the baseball monopoly, he calls it) or that he will renege on his contracts. When Branch Rickey followed Luis Olmo's defection with harsh words against Mexican baseball, the die was cast.

    “That hurt me, that hurt my pride,” says Jorge, with his hand on his heart. "It hurts the pride of all Mexicans. If American baseball wants peace with us, I will not go to them. They will get peace only when Commissioner Chandler comes here to this office and sits in this chair and explains what he has meant by his words about Mexico.”

    His feelings were not assuaged in the slightest by the injunction taken by Colonel Larry MacPhail and Branch Rickey in American courts to prevent Pasquel's agents from tampering with their players. This would certainly be accounted another provocation by Jorge.

    Pasquel's acquaintance with the Americans came in a rough way. As a boy of six, he cowered in a cellar in Vera Cruz while American warships blasted the town and killed hundreds of citizens of the little port town. Relations with Mexico were so bad in the First World War it was estimated that the country was almost unanimous in desiring a German victory.

    The episode has been forgotten now, and Jorge Pasquel forgot it to the point where he began making yearly trips to this country in 1931. He knows more about the United States, its roads, its industries, its farms, than most Americans. He thinks the United States is the greatest country ever created by God and destined to rule the world for the next thousand years.

    On the personal side, Pasquel is a fanatic on good health and sports. He neither smokes nor drinks, and when Danny Gardella arrived in Mexico, they rigged up a gymnasium in the patio of Pasquel's Mexico City house (a lavish affair on all counts) where they have daily workouts with Jorge's American trainer, Robert Janis. On Sunday afternoons after the ball game, they go out to Chapultepec Heights and play a variety of squash tennis on a jai alai court. During the week Jorge sneaks away from his work and turns up at Delta Parque to throw a few with the ball players. He was an amateur player and got deeply interested in the sport in 1940, when he managed Vera Cruz into the pennant. He may not be an expert, but he knows the game thoroughly.

    What is not generally understood in the States is that Mexico is baseball mad. On the train coming down from Laredo, we saw dozens of games going on in backlots; in Puebla the grocery boys wore baseball caps with the peaks turned up, like kids all over America; the waiters in the Ritz Hotel were more concerned about how the game came out than in getting the soup on the table hot. Bobby Estalella and Tommy De La Cruz tell us that Cuba is even wilder about the sport.

    Lefty Gomez is managing a team in Venezuela and it seems only a short time till baseball captures all Latin America.

    Which is to say that Jorge Pasquel is no fool. He likes baseball, but he is also a businessman. We saw seven games in Mexico and all but one ( Easter Sunday ) was a complete sellout, with the gates closed at game time and crowds around the outfield and sitting in front of the stands ( at Puebla ).

    Jorge Pasquel expects the league to gross between $2,000,000 and $2,250,000 this year, which will allow it to break even, despite the high salaries being paid. Fifty-five percent of all receipts are turned into the league treasury and divided among the teams at the end of the year. This means that Mexico City ( and Pasquel) carries the league; that is why other owners are quite content to let him run things.

    Next year, with the new parks built, Mexican baseball is going to be a gold mine. The prices range from two and a half pesos (50 cents) to 10 pesos (two dollars) for box seats. Pasquel figures that next year his games at the new Mexico City Park will bring average daily receipts of $30,000. This is money in any language, but the enthusiasm of the Mexicans for baseball seems to warrant Pasquel's expectations. In view of this, his three- and five-year contracts to American players appear less startling. The man knows exactly what he is doing, and things that strike outsiders as fantastic may turn out to be sound business deals. Mickey Owen would probably have brought Brooklyn $75,000 in a trade; Pasquel gets him for a $12,500 bonus. Mickey makes a good deal for himself, Pasquel gets a valuable player; everybody's happy except Brooklyn.

    The Mexico and Vera Cruz teams travel either by air or by Pullman on their trips. Tampico, Laredo, and Torreon also travel by air and train. Monterrey has its own bus; San Luis Potosi uses bus, train, and plane on other trips. We mention this because of reports in the States that Mexican players travel like a class-C American outfit, taking their chances in rickety charabancs with paisanos, chickens, goats, and odors.

    The players feel that the American baseball contract is inequitable and harsh in its terms. It contains a clause whereby a player may be discharged with ten days' notice and an even more famous clause (the reserve clause) which permits the club to retain possession of the player from one season to the next. Because of this he is always the property of some club in organized baseball and is prevented from making a deal for his services.

    It is plain from speaking to players on both sides of the border that the Pasquel threat is the finest thing that ever happened to them. Even if they don't jump to the Mexican League, their salaries are being hiked here. Instead of being at the mercy of the American club owners, they now have a leverage that makes life infinitely sweeter for them. It seems inevitable that if Pasquel persists in his campaign, changes will be made in the American system that will greatly better the status of the players.

    All reports to the contrary, the players down below consider it a Mexican hay ride. If they are eating their hearts out with regret, they are dissembling in a most amiable manner. It doesn't show.


    The Hot Tamale Circuit, PART II

    Mexican baseball is exactly like American baseball, except for the extraneous embellishments. They work the hit-and-run and make the double play. but they don't sell the hot dog. The Mexico City ballpark (Delta Parque) looks like something discarded in Oskaloosa, Iowa, in 1915, but the bleacher fans are a spitting image of the horny-handed sons of toil from downstate Missouri who crowd the stands in St. Louis for a Sunday doubleheader. In spirit, however, they are much like a New York crowd. Which is to say, they are impartial and often on the side of the visiting team.

    Games in Mexico are really a spectacle for the gods. The bleacher aficionados (fans) are rattling the gates for admittance long before the ball players arrive. Outside the concessionaires are lining up their wares. A young man stands on a table busily mixing huge bowls of what seem to be soft drinks. In little booths outside the park, frijoles, tamales, and tortillas are steaming on the stoves. In the grandstand early arrivals are having their shoes shined by bootblacks.

    After the game starts, the vendors begin selling oyster cocktails, tall glasses in which the oysters are embedded in tomato sauce. Another delicacy is chicken, of which you buy a very full plate with a mixture of white and dark meat. Despite what the young man is selling outside, the vendors inside are getting rid of vast quantities of soft drinks.

    It's an American game, right down to the nomenclature. On the scoreboard are places for Strikes, Bolas, Runs. Out on the field the players are proving that beisbol has an excellent chance of becoming an international sport. The teams are made up of Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, South Americans, and recruits from the States. They handle themselves with every mannerism known to American players. And don't let anybody fool you with the theory that Mexican baseball is amateurish. They play fast, hard, and very good ball. The Americans playing down there feel it ranks up with AA baseball in the States. If the seven we watched were a fair test, the Mexican League has major-league class in defensive play, at least.

    In the Vera Cruz-Monterrey game, Colas for Vera Cruz made a sensational catch of a screaming low drive into center field with the bases full and two out. In the San Luis Potosi-Puebla game, the Puebla third baseman made a fantastic play on a ball over the bag, converting it into a double play in the ninth with the bases full and none out.

    What will be harder to believe is that the best ball we saw played in Mexico was by Danny Gardella, who was noted in New York for his awkwardness as an outfielder. Gardella happens to be a physical-culture fanatic who can do flying splits and tie himself into a knot with ease. Vera Cruz had him on first base, which is where he perhaps should always have been. He made three unbelievable plays in a game with Monterrey, on the last play throwing himself full length on the ground to the left, keeping his foot on the bag and making a backhanded pickup of a wild throw. Hal Chase in his palmiest days never did better.

    But what about the pistol-toting Mexicans from whom Vernon Stephens of the St. Louis Browns fled in terror? Stephens signed a Mexican League contract with Jorge Pasquel, played two games to the frantic approbation of the Mexican fans, and then decamped. Do the Mexicans carry guns? Ladies and gentlemen, they most certainly do! Sitting in a box with Pasquel, you will discern the glint of something at his feet and there the revolver will be. The gentleman next to him may have taken his out of his holster in the hot weather and have it resting easily under his seat cushion.

    We offer no explanation of this. but can report no instances where ball players were pinked in the anatomy for ineptitude. The revolution may still be in action in Mexico or it may merely be a frontier country, but the gentry wear their gats at social events and there is no denying it. And how about gambling? There are persistent reports in the States that baseball in Mexico is merely an excuse for gambling and that games are run accordingly. This suggests that gambling coups are possible with games being thrown, which naturally is repugnant to all loyal Americans. From what we could see - and we looked with gimlet eye and made every investigation possible - this is a lot of nonsense. There is absolutely no open gambling at the ball parks and certainly no animated group of swindlers such as are seen behind third base in every ball park in this country.

    There is the further charge that baseball in Mexico is a syndicate affair because Jorge Pasquel owns or is interested in every club in the league, but this also blows up on interviewing the owners of the various teams. They are fanatically proud of their organizations and determined to win the pennant. Pasquel takes the greatest care not to overload his favorite team, Vera Cruz, with the best players. The Mexicans look with horror at the very thought of anything irregular in their sports.

    “You've never heard of bullfight or soccer or prizefighting scandal down here, have you?” they ask, with flashing eyes. They take this inquiry about syndicate ball very hard, as if it were a reflection on their integrity, we can only surmise that Pasquel would be in grave danger if any hint of manipulation ever arose.

    The crux of the whole situation is Jorge Pasquel, who is an amazing character. At thirty-eight he is a well-set-up, vigorous man with very definite ideas on the future of baseball in Mexico. At his elaborate home on Hamburgo Street there is a statuette of Napoleon prominently placed in the reception hall. Pasquel admits to having read 25 books on Napoleon and being an authority on his life. This may account for a lot in his career.

    Although he is not the oldest, he is the head of the Pasquel family. Living at home with him are his mother, his brother Mario and sister Rosarie, his married sister and her husband and two children. Another sister is married and lives in Puebla in another fabulous Pasquel mansion. The old family home is kept up in Vera Cruz, and there is another Pasquel establishment in Nuevo Laredo, where brothers Bernardo and Alfonso live. Gerardo runs a huge ranch near Torreon.

    The Vernon Stephens affair was particularly painful to Jorge (pronounced “Hor-gay” in Spanish but now “George” by common consent) because Stephens had been taken into the Pasquel home as a guest, a distinctive honor. This accounts for Pasquel's determination to sue Stephens for breach of contract. “I will sue him as long as he lives,” Jorge kept saying over the phone to New York, when reporters called him during the excitement about Mickey Owen's arrival.

    This suit could easily be a disaster for American baseball, and it ties in with much of the resentment among American players against American club owners. The baseball contract is admittedly a one-sided affair. The player is tied to organized baseball for life, but he can be discharged at will. The player either works for what the club owner offers or he doesn't work at all, for no club is allowed to tamper with the players of any other club.

    It must be admitted at once that without this type of contract, baseball might be impossible. If the players were free after each season to make new deals for themselves, the best players would naturally gravitate to the best-heeled clubs and no team would know from year to year where it stood.

    However, there is a possibility that the courts would find the present contract a form of peonage, since the player has no legal rights whatever. This has been known to the owners for a long time and accounts for their reluctance to tangle with the law. It is most ironically possible that Pasquel could lose the suit against Stephens for damages (even though Pasquel reported in the middle of May that Stephens had not returned any of the money advanced to him by Pasquel) and yet blow up the whole structure of baseball by getting the present standard contract held invalid.

    Since Pasquel's raids on our leagues, facts about American salaries have become public and shocked the fans. Luis Olmo knocked in 110 runs for Brooklyn last year and was offered a contract this season for $7,500. Hal Gregg won 18 games for the same team and was given $8,000 after a hard fight. We were told by American players in Mexico that the St. Louis Cardinals pay their new men $400 a month, raising the ante to $600 after May 15, if they stick. The season is five and a half months.

    There was a report in New York that Ralph Branca of the Dodgers had signed a three-year contract calling for a total salary of $4,900. It is alleged that men on the Philadelphia Nationals have played for as little as $1,750 a year. The newspapers reported that Branch Rickey had offered Joe Hatten, the spectacular southpaw, a salary of $500 a month this spring. Hatten held out and got more.

    “If a player is good enough to make a big-league team,” said Sal Maglie when he left the Giants, “he should be worth at least $10,000 a year.”

    We talked with Maglie in Puebla, where he and his wife are installed in a suite in the best hotel in town and very contented with their fate.

    'I'm twenty-nine years old and had a hard time making the big leagues. I won five straight games for them when I came in late last year, but that didn't seem to mean anything to them this spring. They didn't answer my letters when I wrote them about a new contract and then finally offered me one with a small raise. When they heard I had been approached by the Mexican League, they boosted it to $8,000. I'm working on a three-year contract down here and even if I'm no good and am dropped after the first season, I'll still be better off than if I'd stayed three or four years with the Giants.”

    Pasquel has been swamped with letters from players in this country since starting his raiding campaign. Many of them are from amateurs and minor-leaguers with no chance in Mexico, but we can testify to .being startled by some of the big names involved. The players seem to feel that they play baseball for a living and are entitled to make the best deal for their services. If an engineer can run off to Egypt or Russia or India to build a bridge, they don't see the disloyalty in making the best of their talents in Mexico.

    The Mexicans are unable to understand our psychology in the battle between Pasquel and the big leagues. Baseball is our national sport and it seems to the Mexicans we should be the proudest people in the world at the thought that others are taking it up. With the war over and big-league rosters crammed with players, the Mexicans think it would have been a smart thing for us to offer Pasquel some of our overflow talent. Instead, we have practically waged a vendetta against them, they claim, replete with insults, recriminations, and boycotts.

    “The manufacturers took our order for 2,000 dozen baseballs,” says Pasquel, “and then refused to fill it. We have to get baseballs and bats from retail stores in the States, just as if we were bootlegging them. Every foul ball that goes over the fence costs us fourteen pesos [approximately $2.80].”

    That pettiness was not lost on the Mexican fans, who are aware of everything going on over here. The big Mexico City dailies (Excelsior, Universal) carry more baseball news than any paper in this country. La Aficion is said to be the only daily sports paper in the world.

    The madness for baseball in Mexico will probably soon produce many fine Mexican players. At the present time the core of the league are the Negro players from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States. There are some great players in this group, but the Mexicans are coming fast with such talented young fellows as Vecino and Magallon of San Luis Potosi and Bache, a fine shortstop, and Torres, a great outfielder of Monterrey. Torres is a natural hitter and is said to have the best arm in the league.

    When we asked if Mexicans might not resent the influx of American players, the Mexicans answered with astonishment: “The Mexican players are entirely satisfied because the success of baseball here has raised their salaries about 400 percent. Hockey is a popular game in your country and yet all players are Canadians. Do you resent that?”

    The raiding has not all been on one side. For years Joe Cambria, scout for Washington, has been luring prospects north. The Mexicans feel that Commissioner Chandler is slightly less than logical when he objects to Mexico seeking our players and yet welcomed Vernon Stephens back with open arms, although he had repudiated a Mexican contract; but their chief resentment is against Clark Griffith of Washington, who for years has had almost a monopoly on Latin-American players.

    When Griffith welcomed the flurry of injunctions against Mexican tampering with American players by saying that the Mexican officials “can be prosecuted for trying to persuade American players to jump their contracts, since this is clearly outside the law,” the Mexican laughter rose to hysterical heights. They pointed out that Griffith, Connie Mack, and Ban Johnson formed the American League by raiding the National League, a battle in which contracts were repudiated right and left. They also recalled how contracts were flouted in the famous Federal League war of 20 years ago and noted that in the present conflict between American professional football leagues many strange things are happening to the sanctity of the contracts.

    The cardinal point in the discussion is that baseball is in Mexico to stay. They call their home runs jonrons or cuadralangulares, but the crowd gets into hysterics over them just as they do at the Yankee Stadium, and the happy team rushes out en masse to meet the hitter when he arrives at home plate. We observed the umpiring down there and were convinced that it was honest.

    Two of the best umpires are Atan, a Chinese Cuban, and Maestri of Cuba. Maestri made his reputation years ago by ignoring insults on the field but meeting the offender after the game under the stands and fighting it out.

    From a ball player’s point of view, Mexico is not all peaches and cream. The altitude at Mexico City and Puebla has had a bad effect on some players and this is especially felt among the wives.

    Most visitors to Mexico get a touch (sometimes a serious touch) of dysentery from being careless about eating fresh vegetables and drinking impure water. The ball parks are primitive and the playing fields rough specimens compared with our big-league layouts. The pitchers find that their curve ball doesn’t break at high altitudes (Tampico, at sea level and with a muggy climate, is said to be a pitcher’s idea of heaven), but the hitters admire the way a ball travels at 7,000 feet.

    The players we interviewed in Mexico all felt they had landed in the middle of a gold mine and could easily put up with the hardships.

    Mickey Owen is considering offers from Cuba and South America for the winter months. He has paid off his farm at Springfield, Missouri and is dickering for another one.

    “The way I was going in the big leagues, I couldn’t have done that in ten years if ever,” he says.

    According to J.K. Lasser’s authoritative book, Your Income Tax (1946 edition), American players will not have to pay an income tax here if they get their “compensation for services outside the country for the entire year.” In that period they can make business and vacation trips to this country without changing their status. This is not to say that any of the players looks down his nose at American baseball and certainly none will risk his American citizenship, no matter how much pelf is involved. They read the daily box scores and recall the exciting days in the States, but then they scan their bankbooks and relax.

    “I liked it fine at Washington,” says Roberto Ortiz, the big outfielder, “but by the time I paid my living expenses and the taxes, I got back to Cuba every winter broke. This is different here.”

    The procession of American players keeps wending its way south and the trail may grow deeper next year when the new parks are built in Mexico.

    “Then maybe you won’t be surprised at seeing Ted Williams down here,” says Senor Pasquel proudly.

    With Pasquel, nothing would surprise me. It is not true that the Mexican government is backing him now, although he is a friend of President Avilo Camacho, but if Miguel Aleman becomes the next president (and it seems a cinch for him now), the league will definitely be a favored sport. Aleman and Pasquel grew up together in Vera Cruz and are fast friends.

    “Maybe even Bobby Feller next year, eh?” said Senor Pasquel when we last saw him.

    If that happens, the battle royal will really be on, and we will probably see contracts breaking in all directions. At least one American scout was lately run out of the Mexican ball park, just as we have been fighting off Mexican agents here. The happy gentry you will note on the sidelines will be the ball players, experiencing the millennium at last.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-06-2005 at 05:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    ----------------HE KEPT BASEBALL'S BLACKEST SECRET FOR 36 YEARS. . .

    ---------------THIS IS MY STORY OF THE BLACK SOX SERIES---------------

    The ringleader of the infamous plot, the first baseman of the team which exploded baseball's dirty business with the game's worst scandal, breaks his silence to speak for the first time

    ------------------------by Arnold (Chick) Gandil as told to Melvin Durslag
    ------------------------------------Sports Illustrated, September 17, 1956

    About this time each year when people start getting excited about the World Series, I find myself wanting to crawl into a cave. I think you'd feel the same if you had the memories I do.

    I have played in two World Series, the last time 37 years ago when I was first baseman for the Chicago White Sox. The Sox haven't been in a Series since. We played the Cincinnati Reds and had a hell of a ball club, the best I've ever seen. But people didn't remember us afterward for our playing. They remembered us only as the "Black Sox."

    A lot of you young readers have probably heard of the Black Sox scandal fom your dads or granddads. It was some mess. Eight of us Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series to Cincy. We were taken into court in Chicago, tried and acquitted. But organized baseball banned us for life.

    To this day I feel that we got what we had comning. But there are certain things about the Series that have never been told and which I would like to clear up right now.

    I'm an old man by any standards. I'm going to be 69 in January. I have worked the past 35 years as a plumber, mostly in Oakland, California. Now I'm about to retire. The wife and I plan to take a small place in the country, out in Napa Valley. We've been married 48 years.

    A lot of stuff has been written by newspaper and magazine people about the Black Sox scandal, but most of it has been rumor and guesswork because none of us involved ever told our story. Four of the Black Sox were supposed to have made secret confessions with immunity before the Cook County grand jury in 1920, but they all denied the statements later and refused to talk. When we went on trial in 1921, all of us stood on our rights and dummied up.

    Why should I wait until now to tell the real story of the Black Sox? One by one the Black Sox players have been taking the secret to their graves. Joe Jackson is gone, so are Fred McMullin and Buck Weaver. I'm sure I could go the rest of my life easily without talking. But after thinking it over--and against the better judgement of my wife--I asked myself, why not? It should be on the record. So here goes.

    To start with, I think I should recall to you the main charactors involved.

    First, there was Charles Comiskey, the White Sox owner. He was a sarcastic, belittling man who was the tightest owner in baseball. If a player objected to his miserly terms, Comiskey told him: "You can take it or leave it." Under baseball's slave laws, what could a fellow do but take it? I recall only one act of generosity on Comiskey's part. After we won the World Series in 1917, he splurged with a case of champagne.

    Comiskey's manager was William (Kid) Gleason, who had been our coach in 1918 and became manager in 1919 when Clarence (Pants) Rowland resigned. He was a tough little guy, and he had a hard time trying to keep peace among the malcontents on our club. But most of the players liked him and gave him their best.

    The players involved were most of the top guys on the club. There was Joe Jackson, the left fielder; Buck Weaver, third base; Oscar Felsch, the center fielder; Swede Risberg, our shortstop; Eddie Cicotte, our leading pitcher; Fred McMullin, a utility infielder; Claude Williams, who was basically perhaps even a better pitcher than Cicotte; and, finally, myself, the first baseman.

    Let me tell you a little more about myself. I was 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighed 195 pounds and had been playing baseball for 14 years. I had run away from my home in St. Paul, Minnesota at the age of 17 and hopped a freight bound for Amarillo, Texas to play semipro. Then I caught on with an outlaw team in Cananea, Mexico, just across the Arizona border.

    Cananea was a wide-open mining town in those days, which suited me fine. I was a wild, rough kid. I did a little heavyweight fighting at $150 a fight. I also worked part-time as a boilermaker in the copper mines.

    I slowed down some after my marriage in 1908, but I guess I still remained a pretty roughhouse character. I played minor leauge ball for a couple of years, then was sold to the White Sox in 1910. I then bounced around to Washington and Cleveland but landed again with The White Sox in 1917. I have often been described as one of the ringleaders of the Balck Sox scandal. There's no doubt about it. I was.

    For all their skill, the White Sox in 1919 weren't a harmonious club. Baseball players in my day had a lot more cut-throat toughness anyway, and we had our share of personal feuds but there was a common bond among most of us--our dislike for Comiskey. I would like to blame the trouble we got into on Comiskey's cheapness, but my conscience won't let me. We had no one to blame except ourselves. But, so help me, this fellow was tight. Many times we played in filthy uniforms because he was trying to keep down the cleaning tab.

    Most of the griping on the club centered around salaries, which were much lower than any other club in the league. Cicote, for example, had won 28 games in 1917 and still wa making only $6,000 a year, Jackson, a great hitter, was earning the same. I had been making $4,500 a year for the past three seasons. Only one man on the club was drawing what I'd call a decent salary, Eddie Collins, who had finagled a sharp contract in coming to the Sox from the Philadelphia Athletics. He was making about $15,000 a year. Naturally, Collins was happier with Comiskey than we were.

    So when the opportunity came in 1919 to pick up some easy change on the World Series, Collins, though a key man, wasn't included in our plans. Neither was Catcher Ray Schalk or Outfielder Nemo Leibold.

    Where a baseball player would run a mile these days to avoid a gambler, we mixed freely. Players often bet. After the games, they would sit in lobbies and bars with gamblers, gabbing away. Most of the gamblers we knew were honorable Joes who would never think of fixing a game. They were happy just to be booking and betting.

    I had always considered "Sport" Sullivan as one of those gamblers until he approached me in Boston in 1919, about a week before the World Series.

    I had only had social contacts with gamblers until that September day in 1919 when Sullivan walked up to Eddie Cicotte and me as we left our hotel in Boston. As I recall, we were four games in front the final week of the season, and it looked pretty certain that the pennant was our.

    I was kind of surprised when Sullivan suggested that we get a "syndicate" together of seven or eitht players to throw the Series to Cincinnati. As I say, I never figured the guy as a fixer but just one who played for the percentages.

    The idea of taking seven or eight people in on the plot scared me. I said to Sullivan it wouldn't work. He answered, "Don't be silly. It's been pulled before and it can be again."

    He had a persuasive manner which he backed up with a lot of cash. He said he was willing to pay $10,000 each to all the players we brought in on the deal. Considering our skimpy salaries, $10,000 was quite a chunk, and he knew it.

    Cicotte and I told Sullivan we would think it over. The money looked awfully good. I was 31 then and couldn't last much longer in baseball. Cicotte and I tried to figure out first which players might be interested. And of those who might be, which ones would we care to cut in on this gravy. We finally decided on Jackson, Weaver, Risberg, Felsch, McMullin and Williams--not that we loved them, because there never was much love among the White Sox. Let's just say that we disliked them the least.

    We played our game that afternoon and won. That night Cicotte and I called the other six together for a meeting and told them of Sullivan's offer. They were all interested and thought we should reconnoiter to see if the dough would really be put on the line. Weaver suggested we get paid in advance; then if things got too hot, we could double-cross the gambler, keep the cash and also take the big end of the Series cut by beating the Reds. We agreed this was a hell of a brainy plan.

    I met Sullivan the next morning and told him I could close the deal only if the players got their money in advance. He explained it would take a little time to raise all that cash so quickly but said that when he got it he would contact me in Chicago. As we parted, he told me that no player was to yap about the fix to other gamblers.

    When the White Sox returned to Chicago for their final games of the season, Cicotte brought a friend of his to see me, a former big leauge pitcher named Bill Burns. Somehow Burns had got wind of our negotiations with Sullivan; one of our players must have talked. Burns asked that we definetely not accept Sullivan's deal until he could contact a rich gambling friend in Montreal. He said he could top any offer.

    Cicotte and I called a meeting of the players that night and told them about Burns. Weaver piped up, "We might as well take his money, too, and go to hell with all of them."

    I personally disliked and distrunted Burns and said that we should stick with Sullivan. But I was overruled by the others who voted at least to listen to Burn's proposition when he returned from Montreal.

    Later in Chicago I got word from Sullivan that he was bringing a friend from New York to sew up the deal. A meeting was arranged at the old Warner Hotel on the South Side, where many of the players lived. Sullivan introduced his friend as "Mr. Ryan", but, having met this man two years before in New York, I recognized him as Arnold Rothstein, the big shot gambler. His plan was this:

    We were to try our best to win the first game behind Cicotte, who was the leauge's leading pitcher. The White Sox were rated as 3-1 favorites in the Series. A win in the first game would boost the price higher. We were then to lose the Series at our convenience. At that time, a World Series was decided by five out of nine games instead of the four-out-of-seven system used today.

    Rothstein said nothing until we asked for our $80,000 in advance. He asked calmly, "What's to assure us you guys will keep the agreement?" We offerd him our word. He answered, "It's a weak collateral."

    The deal was about to fall apart when Rothstein came up with a compromise. He would give us $10,000 in advance and pay the remaining $70,000. in installments over the first four games, each payment amounting to $17,5000.

    We asked Sullivan and Rothstein to come back in an hour. I got the gang together and we decided to accept the deal. Rothstein returned and gave us ten $1,000 bills. When the gamblers left we entrusted the money with Cicotte until it could be changed inconspicuously. He put the bills under his pillow. At Rothstein's insistence, we had given our solemn word that no other gambler would be tipped off, but as soon as he left, we agreed to take any money we could get from Burns, too.

    Worry and Arguments

    The next day, I got a telephone call from Jake Lingle, the Chicago reporter who was later to be murdered by gangsters. Lingle said he heard the Series was fixed. "Where did you hear that crazy story," I said and hung up. I now began to worry. That night Sullivan paid me a visit. He was mad. He said that someone had yapped to Chicago gamblers about the fix. The price on the Sox had suddenly begun to drop. We had a hot argument that came close to turning into a fist fight. We both apologized, and an agreement was made for Sullivan to make the cash payments after each game to a friend of mine.

    By the time we arrived in Cincinnati to open the Series the rumors were really flying. Even a clerk in a stationery store, not recognizing me as a ballplayer, told me confidentially, "I have it firsthand that the Series is in the bag." Waitresses and bellhops were talking the same way. Reporters were buzzing about, asking questions.

    We were now convinced that every move on the field would be watched like a hawk and we were beginning to sweat. Burns and a friend, the prize-fighter Abe Attell, came to see Cicotte and me at the hotel. They asked that we arrange a meeting with the gang--which we did grudgingly. Attell took the flooer and produced a telegram which read, "Will take you in on any deal you make. Will guarantee all expenses." It was signed, "A. R."

    Attell idntified A. R. As Arnold Rothstein. The players exchanged looks. Obviously the telegram was faked, and Attell and Burns knew nothing of Rothstein's private deal with us. We walked out of the room.

    This was the last of our group meetings with any gamblers. But now our troubles were just beginning. That night, the eve of the Series, several players got threatening phone calls. I must have had five during the early part of the evening. Many of them--maybe all of them--came from cranks, but they still left me creepy. Cicotte was so upset that he left the hotel about midnight and took a long walk. I don't think he slept an hour all night.

    I had just fallen asleep when Sullivan knocked at my door and awakened me. He said excitedly that a couple of the players had told him the deal was off. I said to him, "Well, maybe it is." He replied, "I wouldn't call it the best policy to double-cross Rothstein."

    Deep down, I knew he was right. In my nervous state I got mad at Sullivan and told him to get out. I sat on the edge of the bed, trying to think. I truthfully wanted to go to our manager, Kid Gleason, and tell him the whole story, but I knew it wouldn't be that simple. I realized that things were too involved by now to try to explain.

    I guess some of the others must have felt the same way, because the next morning I was called to a meeting of the eight players. Everyone was upset and there was a lot of disagreement. But it was finally decided that there was too much suspicion now to throw the games without getting caught. We weighed the risk of public disgrace and going to jail against taking our chances with the gamblers by crossing them up and keeping the $10,000. We were never remorseful enough to want to return the ten grand to Rothstein. We gambled that he wouldn't dare do anything to us since he was in no position himself to make a fuss over the cash. Our only course was to try to win, and we were certain that we could.

    But when we trotted out on the field that day for the opener, we were still a tense buch of ballplayers. And, as if things were't bad enough, some joker in the stands yelled to Cicotte, "Be careful, Eddie. There's a guy looking for you with a rifle."

    Cicotte wasn't worth a wooden nickel in that opening game. He was knocked out of the box in the fourth inning when Cincy scored five runs. The Reds were unstoppable that day. Even their pitcher, Dutch Ruether, got two triples and a single, driving in three runs. When Cicotte was lifted in the fourth with the Reds leading 5-1, Gleason sent in Roy Wilkinson. The Cincy batters slugged him too, just as they did our next pitcher, Grover Lowdermilk. Cincinnati got 14 hits that day and beat us 9-1.

    RUMORS AND PHONE CALLS

    Rumors of a fix began to circulate right away, and, though I didn't see Comiskey, I heard he was running around like a wild man, trying to track down information. What the wiseacres didn't know was that our original agreement with Rothstein was to try to win the first game.

    That night I got more threatening phone calls. I'll never know whether they came from screwballs or from gamblers. I half expected a visit form Sullivan or one of his men, but I imagine things were hot for them, too. By this time I'm sure they knew the deal was off, especially since our collection man didn't show up after the game to try to get the first installment of the $70,000.

    The White Sox made 10 hits in the second game against four for Cincinnati, yet we were beaten 4-2 when we should have own easily. In the fourth inning, with no score, we had runners on second and third with one down, but I grounded into an out at the plate and Risberg popped up to kill our chances.

    In the last of the fourth our pitcher, Williams, hit a wild streak, gave up three walks and a triple to give the Reds a 3-0 lead. They stretched it to 4-0 in the sixth, but we made two in the seventh when Risberg and Schalk scored on a wild throw by Greasy Neale, the Cincinati right fielder who later became a pro football coach.

    After the game the cynics made quite a thing of the six walks issued by Williams, and there were rumors that he wasn't following his catcher's signals. But nothing was said about Neale's wild throw, or some dumb base running By Edd Roush, the Cincy center fielder, who was caught in a trap and tagged out after trying to go to second.

    When the doubt is planted, it is easy to mistake plain and simple boners in a ball game for acts of crookedness.

    The pressure eased when we came back to Comiskey Park for the third game and Dickie Kerr threw a shutout for a 3-0 win. I batted in our first two runs in the second inning with a long single to center. We made our third run on a triple by Risberg, who then scored on a slick bunt by Schalk.

    That night I was paid an unexpected visit by Burns, who was in a panic. He and some other gamblers, going on the assumption the Seris was fixed, had bet heavily on the Reds. Now they had their doubts. Burns said that if I could assure him that the players would go along with the fix, he would guarantee me $20,000. Since I personally didn't feel that Burns could guarantee me 20 cents, and since I was troubled with enough outside pressure as it was, I told him I wasn't interested. Meanwhile, the threatening calls got so heavy that I had to quit answering the telephone.

    Cicotte went to the mound in the fourth game and allowed only five hits, but we got only three and were beaten 2-0. Both of the Cincy runs were scored in the fifth inning, partly due to two errors by Cicotte. One was probably my fault. Eddie fielded an easy roller and threw wide to first, permitting the runner to move to second. When the next batter singled to left center, and Jackson threw to the plate to try to cut off a run, I yelled to Cicotte to intercept the throw. I felt we had no chance to get the man at home but could nail the batter now trying to reach second. Cicotte juggled the ball and all hands were safe. The next man then doubled, and Cincy had both its runs.

    Well, you can imagine all the gossiping that took place that night. Everyone talked of Cicotte's two errors, but no one even mentioned that he had allowed only five hits. After listening to all the talk in the hotel lobby, Gleason called a meeting of the players. He asked if there were any truth to the rumors he had been hearing. We who were involved with gamblers got all huffy about this; the players who were not kept quiet. Gleason was happy to let the matter drop, but Comiskey was now convinced that we were out to throw the Series. He suspected the whole club.

    With the Reds now leading three games to one, we came back with Williams in the fifth game against Hod Eller, who was one of those fellows who could be either real bad or real good. This day he was good. He had a mean shine ball that had us missing all over the place. He struck out the side in two straight innings--and half of those he fanned were never in on our plot.

    Williams allowed Cincy only four hits that day, three comning in the sixth inning in which the Reds scored four runs. But before Eller was through with his shine ball, he struck out batters and shut us out 5-0.

    Felsch got the blame for that loss. He had thrown wild after fielding a Texas leaguer in the sixth inning and later chased a long fly to the fence which he couldn't get and it went for a triple. When Collins booted one later permitting the fifth run to score, the experts must have thought that he was in on the fix, too.

    We went back to Cincinnati for the sixth game which we won 5-4 behind Kerr, after we had overcome a 4-3 Cincy lead. this was the only game to go into extra innings. In the 10th, Weaver doubled and I drove him home with a single for the winning run.

    WE HIT OUR STRIDE

    Though Cincy now led the Series 4-2, we honestly felt we had hit our stride and would have no trouble taking the next three games. We were even more confident the next day when Cicotte won his third start easily, 4-1. We breezed in this game, led all the way and only Collins committed an error.

    Things had quieted down by the time we got back to Chicago for the eighth game. The Series now stood at 4-3 in favor of the Reds and a lot of the skeptics decided that maybe the Sox meant business after all. It was Gleason's feeling that if Williams could finally win in the eighth game, then he would start Kerr in the ninth and have Cicotte ready for relief at the first sign of trouble.

    But Williams lasted less than an inning. Cincy drove him out with four runs, and that was the game and Series. We lost 10-5 as Eller pitched his second win for Cincinnati.

    If there is any doubt about our trying to win the Series, let's look at the record. Jackson was the leading hitter with .375. He didn't commit an error.

    Weaver was our seond man with .324. He didn't boot any, either. Total hits favored Cincy only 64 to 59, and each side committed 12 errors. Though I hit only .233, it was still seven points better than our star Eddie Collins, and two of my hits knocked in winning runs.

    Our losing to Cincinnati was an upset all right, but no more than Cleveland's losing to the New York Giants by four straight in 1954. Mind you, I offer no defense for the thing we conspired to do. It was inexcusable. But I maintain that our actual losing of the Series was pure baseball fortune.

    The loser's share amounted to $3,254 apiece, which Comiskey held up while he conducted a private investigation. I never did get any part of Rothstein's $10,000 and I don't know who did. Since Rothstein probably won his bets anyway, he never gave us any trouble. Naturally, I would have liked to have had my share of that ten grand, but with all the excitement at the Series' end and with Comiskey's investigation, I was frankly frightened stiff. Besides, I had the crazy notion that my not touching any of that money would exonerate me from my guilt in the connspiracy. I give you my solemn word I don't know to this day what happened to the cash.

    During the next two months, after returning to my winter home in Los Angeles, I heard some wild reports about the killing I made on the World Series. One account said I was flashing around a bankbook with a $25,000 entry. Another said I had been paid off in diamonds. And still another had me plunking down cash for a house. The truth was, I did buy a house--with $2,500 I had borrowed from the bank for down payment. The loan was repaid when I finally got my World Series check from the White Sox.

    By the time the 1920 season came around, I was kind of sour on baseball, Comiskey and everything else. I didn't care whether I went back to the Sox or not. I asked for a $2,000 raise, which Comiskey naturally refused. I became the only one of the eight conspirators not to report that year. Instead, I played semipro ball twice a week for the Elks Club in Bakersfield, Calif. I earned $75 a game.

    News about ehe 1919 World Series was disappearing from the newspapers--which was fine with me. And then came the explosion. It happened in September of 1920 while the Sox were fighting for the league lead. I recall the headline I read clearly: WHITE SOX CONFESS SERIES FIX.

    Cicotte, for reasons unknown, appeared to have told the story of our plot to Comiskey, who ordered him to confess (with immunity) before the Cook County grand jury. There were reports that Williams, Jackson and Felsch squealed, too. Meanwhile Comiskey banned from the team the seven players connected with the conspiracy. It was just before the end of the pennant race, and the Sox lost out to Cleveland.

    No one really knows for sure what the players confessed privately to the grand jury, and we'll never find out because the confessions later turned up missing (in my opinion, this was Rothsteins's work), and everyone repudiated the things that were supposed to have been confessed.

    The grand jury brought an indictment against the eight of us in Septemeber 1920, but the case didn't come to trial until July 1921. I was picked up by police in Los Angeles and spent a night in jail before being extradited to Chicago.

    The trial dragged out for 15 days. Upon advice of our attorneys none of us testified, and without our testimony the state had no case. When the jury finally found us not guility there was loud cheering in the court room, and the jurors even carried a few of us out on their shoulders. What a scene.

    SUSPENDED FOR LIFE

    But our ban from baseball stuck, and when Judge Landis took office as commissioner a short itme later, one of his first acts was to extend the suspensins for life.

    Inasmuch as we were legally freed, I feel Landis' ruling was unjust, but I truthfully never resented it because, even though the Series wasn't thrown, we were guilty of a serious offense, and we knew it.

    Aside from embarrassment and personal qualms I have never suffered any hardship because of the Black Sox incident. The doors to jobs have never been closed to me. We have lived quietly away from the news, and I have attended only half a dozen ball games - all minor league - during the past 37 years.

    For a good many years, I held a deep resentment against Cicotte for his initial confession. I felt I would never forgive the guy, but I think I have by now. Still, I don't believe we would have ever been caught if he hadn't gabbed.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-26-2010 at 01:51 PM.

  11. #11
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    Excerpt from Eddie Collins autobiography, Sporting News, August 16, 1950, pp. 13.

    "I put on a uniform that did not fit me too well," said Eddie. "Gosh, I weighed only about 140 pounds. I was self-conscious among all those big fellows--men like Waddell, whom I had read so much about. Waddell had been warming up on the sidelines.

    "Get a bat, kid," he said "and I'll throw you a few". I thought that was great--I was to bat against the great Rube. But I didn't know what Waddell was up to. With more fear than confidence I took my stance at the plate. He threw me three curve balls that looked as if they had dropped off a table. I missed all three. I thought I'd never make good if they had that kind of pitchers in this league and I started to walk away. Rube must have noticed how downcast I was, for he walked out of the box, patted me on the back and said, "Don't mind kid. I do that to all of 'em."
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------Pitchers I have Faced, by Edward ("Eddie") T. Collins
    ----------------
    ------------------------------------American Magazine, July, 1914, Illustrated with Photographs---------------------

    It has long been evident that what draws people into the ball parks is hitting. The fans like to see air-tight pitching and brilliant fielding, but without batting, excellence solely in these things becomes tiresome and that is why, day in and day out, the most brilliant fielder in the game will only get scattered applause, while the man who is reasonably certain of clubbing the ball safely,--at least once out of every three times he comes to bat,--he is the man who more often throws the stands into tumult.

    For seven years I have faced the pitchers of the American League, and some of the best of the National, in three World Series. Of them I have observed certain things and I think I know wherein their strength lies. What I shall try to do is to give you an idea of the representative pitchers of big league baseball, and what a batsman who faces them confronts. Sometimes it looks so easy to those in the stands to get up there and drive the ball on the line to the fences; but, believe me, it is not. I have chosen pitchers who have exhibited something in the art of twirling out of the ordinary, against the Athletics. By this I do not mean to put myself on record as saying that these men whom I shall mention are the best pitchers in baseball, as unquestionably some of them are; but I prefer to think of them as those who have impressed me most.

    I shall state my frank opinion, however, that Walter Johnson, of Washington, is without any question the greatest pitcher of all time. Of all the men I have faced, he is by far the best. He is also the easiest working, apparently putting no effort at all into his task. His wind-up is the poetry of motion and there is about him a gentle, lackadaisical manner, a sort of "I don't care whether school keeps or not" air. Possessor of extraordinarily long arms, Johnson takes a full sweep backward; then something white whizzes by, and you hear it crash against the catcher's mitt. When the umpire yells "Strike!" you begin to realize that Johnson has pitched.

    To describe his speed is impossible. It was tested one day last winner in the testing room of a big cartridge company by special electrical instruments and showed a velocity of one hundred and twenty-two feet per second. Rucker, Brooklyn's great southpaw, who is also rated as a speed merchant, underwent the same test, and the result showed his ball to be nine feet per second slower.

    When Johnson began his career in the American League, speed was all he had. Learning rapidly, he soon developed a curve so good that it is now as effective as his "fast one." Whenever I face Johnson, I always get the feeling that he is holding something in reserve; because, somehow, he never seems to let himself out. However, if he ever uses any more "stuff" than he does now, I hope I shall never have to face him. It would not be difficult for me to count up all the hits I made from Johnson during the last year or two: in fact the fingers of both hands would suffice for the job. Yet last year, the greatest of his career, Johnson met with more reverses against the Athletics than against any other club. But it is a cinch that these triumphs were not due to me, as Johnson has always had "my number." Frank Baker has been successful against him, but "Bake" is about the only one.

    I recall one particular game when Johnson ruled us with an ion hand. It was that nineteen inning game two years ago at Shibe Park. In the last of the ninth inning Johnson relieved Bob Groome and worked the rest of the distance. During the final innings it grew dark, and as they flew past, Johnson's pitches were like bullets. Washington won the game in the nineteenth inning, but from the ninth until the end we did not get anything like a score off Johnson. According to figures he did better against us in the opening game in the 1910 season in Washington, when he shout us out and allowed only one hit, a double by Baker into the overflow crowd: but I always look upon the nineteen inning game as Johnson's best. Modest and unassuming off the field, you'd never gather from his conversation that he was associated with baseball at all.


    Vean Gregg of Cleveland is one of the best southpaws I ever faced. He is tall and rangy, and the best compliment I can think of is to call him a left-handed Johnson. To Gregg pitching comes natural; he possess abundant speed, but it is a wonderful curve ball that rounds him out as a great pitcher. He gave more bases on balls last year than any pitcher except Huck of the Athletics, yet his control was always perfect. Gregg's "wildness" is not a handicap; on the other hand, it is often as asset. Let me show you what I mean:

    One afternoon last year the Cleveland battery was Gregg and O'Neil. They seemed to be having a lot of trouble with their signals and Gregg was having difficulty locating the plate. He seemed to be favoring his fast ball. To be sure, when he got it over it was impossible of solution; Gregg's curve had been very effective against us in the past, but for some reason he didn't use it much on this particular afternoon. Finally O'Neil walked out to the box and said something to Vean. I never knew what it was, but I felt the effects soon after when I cam to bat the next inning, with two runners on base. Before I knew it, I had "three and nothing" and I figured that a base on balls was inevitable. Then Steve O'Neil, who was crouching behind the bat, shouted to him: "Come on now, Vean! Remember what I told you!"

    Whereupon Gregg Vean threw three curve balls in succession--mind you!--and they all cut the middle of the plate for clean strikes, after which I took a drink of ice water.

    That is where Gregg's mastery lies. If he had to, he could almost put that curve ball of his through a know hole. It seems to have a break on it like the letter S, and whenever you see him on a sweltering hot day, wearing a bright red flannel shirt, look out!--as that is his lucky combination. It is then that his wonderful control is at its best; and that curve of his can certainly make you look bad.

    Russell Ford, the New York American man, who at this writing has signed with the Federal League, is unusually known as a "spit ball" pitcher; but you could never prove that by me. All the times I have ever batted against Ford I can never recall his throwing me a spit ball. To close followers of baseball this may seem amazing, but it's true. I have had plenty of chances to observe, however that besides the "spitter" Ford has something unique in his pitching equipment. You often hear it said about a pitcher: "he's got a good fast ball," but did you ever hear of a pitcher with two kinds of a fast ball? Before I faced Ford I know I had never encountered such an assortment.

    "Russ" enjoyed his best season in 1910, when by his wonderful pitching he made the Yankees the runner-up in the race. Illness held him back in 1911, and the effects of it still showed on him in 1912, but at times last year Ford looked more like himself. On Memorial Day morning he pitched one of the best half games of his career. For eight innings we could not get anything that looked like a hit. Only one man reached first base, he on an error. With one out in the ninth, Eddie Murphy singled. Oldring followed with a drive to the shortstop which ought to have resulted in a double play, ending the games; but instead, another error followed, and then a hit by McInnis broke up the toughest game I believe I ever saw lost.

    It was on that day that Ford impressed me most, as never before do I remember being so helpless against a pitcher. I must have looked it, too, for I struck out enough. All Ford did was to throw me his variety of fast balls. One would be the straight one, and the next would look as if it were going to be in the same place, only it would break down and out from me, a left-hander.This is significant, for it was the very opposite "break" that any other right-handed pitcher would give the ball. When I thought his next was about going to hit me in the back, it would swoop out over the plate. About this time I would say to myself, "Well, I won't let any more get by!" and Ford must have known my exact thought, as then up would come a bad ball, on which I would bit and go back to the bench.

    To a left-hander, Ford's peculiar fast ball breaks out like a "fade-away about which I shall have more to say when considering another pitcher. Against a right-hander it breaks in, close to the hands. About the time you prepare for it he throws a regular fast one, and then you have to begin figuring all over again. In spite of the fact that he has never used it against me Ford has a good spit ball and a curve. Apparently all he needs to set me back are his two kinds of "fast ones".

    Edward Walsh is about as valuable a man as any club could wish for. While Johnson may surpass him in various individual points there is a doubt if the "Iron Man of the White Sox" could not win more games in a season. At any rate I am positive that Walsh would be in a greater number. During the early part of last season, Walsh's arm "went bad" on him. But eliminating 1913, in any four-game series the White Sox played it was not at all uncommon to see Walsh pitch the first game; called in for a ninth inning rescue in game number two; pull game number three out of the fire, and then begin and finish game number four. During the years 1906-12, Walsh participated in more games than any other pitcher. He simply gloried inn his work; and he was always a rescuer.

    If any pitcher ever had the Athletics' number it was Walsh. He always seemed to have something on us. Before last year I don't think we ever knocked him out of the box; and even then, batting against his but recently healed "bad" arm, we could get only one run off him in five innings, when he was retired. I recall a game two years ago, when we got fifteen hits off him and only three runs. Talk about Mathewson's finish against the Athletics in the World Series! It was tame compared to "Big Ed's" in that ninth inning. With three men on base, none out, and the score 4 to 3 in Chicago's favor, it was up to Walsh to check any Philadelphia rally, and he did not take any chances on fly balls or gentle taps to the infield. Instead, every man who faced him was mowed down on strikes; and when I say that Baker and McInnis fanned too, you have an idea of the marvelous pitching Walsh must have done.

    Walsh is the only real master of the spit ball I know of. He was the first absolutely to perfect and control it. Most spit-ball pitchers are wild; and they have trouble especially to make their spitter a strike, and usually have to resort to the fast on, but not Walsh! Many times I have seen him give a batter three balls and no strikes, and then three spitters would go swishing across the plate knee high, and the batter would sit down. Walsh invariably aims his spitter at one spot on a batter, namely between the waist and the knees. I have never seen a spitter that was any good that broke above the waist.

    Walsh never attempted to throw a curve until last year, when his arm was in bad shape. A visit to a noted arm specialist is said to have put Walsh back in form again, and I hope he is again the old "Iron Man," for if baseball were to lose him, his absence would be severely felt. A good fielder, a dangerous batter, Walsh always helped to win his own game. In our series against the White Sox there was always a keen personal rivalry between Jack Barry, the Athletic shortstop, and Walsh, as they both live in Meriden, Connecticut, and, oddly enough, our Jack Always seemed to get a little the better of it.

    Walsh was not a pitcher I dreaded to hit against, because it was never a battle of wits. You were never fighting in the dark, as you always knew what to look for--the spitter. It was sure to be in the same place--waist to shoe tops, and it was not like the spitters of some pitchers, at your head one minute and at your feet the next. In spite of this it was mighty hard to hit safely. Although there was almost a foot break on Walsh's spit ball, Sullivan, who always caught him, said he could do it sitting in a rocking chair, his control was so perfect.

    In contrast to Walsh is Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants. I would call Matty the clairvoyant of all pitchers. He seems to posses an uncanny power of diving what you are expecting; and then he serves up the exact opposite. Neither his fast ball, nor his curve, is remarkable, indeed they are only ordinary, but there is something about Mathewson, though, --his bearing, his manner,--that gives you the impression that you are going up against Gibraltar. Unconsciously you think: "I am up against something now, for fair.

    In the box Matty wastes no time or surplus energy, and he pitches as soon as a batter takes his place at the plate. By doing so he bothered me a lot, I know, because I was not used to it. I go through habitual movements, fix my cap, hitch my trousers, tap the plate, and I am accustomed to do these things as I wait for the pitcher to wind up. Matty, however, didn't give me a chance. Before I could hitch my trousers the ball was in the catcher's mitt, and the result was that I felt at a loss. Disturb the habitual preliminaries of a batter and you bother him. The result was I was forced to do all my motions before I got into the batter's box.

    All the advance notices and bits of dope that find their way into the clubhouse before a World Series, led us to believe that Mathewson was a curve ball pitcher. Naturally we thought we were prepared for him. Imagine my state of mind, for the first time I faced him in a World Series, expecting a curve nearly every other ball, and he throwing nothing but fast ones right across the middle! About the time I would say to myself, "Hum, nothing but fast ones: all right, here's another," he would send up a curve, and as I let it go by it would break over the plate. Why, at times it seemed he actually smiled at me.

    When he came back at us in the last game in the 1913 series, I thought by that time I knew all his methods, and that I had him doped out right. But only one fast ball did I get the whole game; all the rest were curves, and only once in the whole series did he throw me his most noted ball, the "fade-away," a sort of a slow, screw ball, that breaks away from a left-hander.

    Mathewson's brain really make him a great pitcher, although his other big asset is his control. By comparison his style of balls is insignificant, for he has neither the fast one of Johnson nor the spitter of Walsh, but Matty comes nearer to putting a ball where he wants to than anyone else pitching today. With this ability he wastes few balls. Indeed, he prides himself on being able to go through a whole game and throw only eighty or ninety times, while most pitchers use well over one hundred. I understand that Mathewson has pitched a game in which he threw only sixty-nine. So you see, in this way he conserves his pitching strength.

    Perhaps I do him an injustice when I say he has not a remarkably good fast ball. But I am only basing my judgment on what I have seen, facing him. I do not know what he may have had, say in 1905, when he stood out so prominently in the World Series of that year. But I do not see, whatever he had, how he could have been a much better pitcher than he is to-day. Possessor of unlimited nerve and composure, brainy, and a rare guesser, Mathewson is one of the most remarkable figures in baseball.

    Compared with some of the others I have mentioned Eddie Summers of Detroit had a brief career. But it was brilliant while it lasted, and certainly he will long be held in respect by the Athletics of '08, '09, and '10. Like Walsh, Summers seemed to have the edge of our club and he was sure enough a "jinx" for me. I cannot recall ever having made more than one hit a game off Summers. Similar to Ford he had something all his own in the like of pitching, namely, the "knuckle ball." He threw it holding the ball by the thumb and little finger, with the knuckles of the other fingers pressing against the cover. Delivered in this manner the ball followed a most peculiar course. on its way to the batter it never rotated a bit. Also, this grip did not impair the speed. Summer's "knuckle ball" was extremely hard to hit. It had a way of taking queer and unexpected shoots that had the catcher hopping about to stop it. It was difficult to handle, however, and I understand that Jennings gave summers orders not to use it if possible when a man was on third base, as it seemed to invite passed balls.

    But besides his "pet," Summers had a mighty good fast ball "with a jump on it" and a sharp breaking curve. He was a pitcher who liked to work fast, and the faster he worked the more effective he became. Conversely, slowness meant the loss of effectiveness. We discovered his secret one day, and then he ceased to be a riddle to us. We would never have found this weakness if it hadn't been for a remark he let drop to a young catcher. Schmidt, who generally caught him, had been hurt, and the youngster didn't know Summer's ways. In the early innings the substitute catcher took his time, and holding the ball walked up to the pitcher's box, as catchers often do, and said something to Summers. Oldring, who was at bat, saw that Summers instantly became very peevish, and overheard him say to his catcher, "Give me that ball quick, and throw it back to me every time without any waiting."

    Oldring was quick to see what this meant. Summers was a nervous, high-strung pitcher, and no one had ever guessed it! At once Oldring did everything he could to delay his time at bat, and deliberately he began to rub Summers the wrong way. He stopped the game, and made out he had something in his eye. Then, after Summers had thrown one ball, Rube got out of the Box to rub his hands with dirt. Summer's annoyance grew, and presently he gave Oldring a base on balls. As soon as Rube came into the bench he told us what he had done and why, and from that day our club always hit summers more effectively. Every time we faced him we used the same tactics as Oldring, and invariably it bothered Summers a lot. His retirement from the game, however, was a heavy blow to the pitching strength of the Detroit club

    I shall always hold Joe Wood of the Boston Red Sox in high esteem because it was against him that I got my first home run in the American League, the only run of a game we won, 1-0. That "homer," by the way, was the hardest ball I have ever hit.

    "Smokey Joe" is what he is commonly called, and there is good basis for the nickname. You only wonder how such a small fellow can use such awful speed. Compared to Johnson, Walsh, or Mathewson, he really looks small, although I guess he must weigh one hundred and sixty pounds. He is much like Johnson in his style of pitching and, like Walter, came into the league with only a fast ball, but has learned a most effective curve.

    Wood is not only a good pitcher but, like Walsh, he breaks up many games with his batting. But Wood has a fault; when he isn't pitching he is more strenuous than is often good for him; he is a source of worry to his manager because of his untiring activity. I have often heard the players of his own club yell at him, "Take it easy, Joe."

    It is an unwritten law in the House of Mack that a pitcher shall not run, or overexert himself, and thus interfere with his work in the box. Invariably, when one of our pitchers goes to bat Connie Mack will say, "Don't run now." Naturally, when Wood ran wild on the bases one day in Philadelphia last year, it made us all wonder. Unfortunately for him and the Boston club, it resulted disastrously.

    Having singled, Wood was on first base, when Hooper followed with a drive to right, on which Joe tried to make third. The play was close and Joe attempted to slide. In some way he hurt the thumb of his pitching hand, and from that day until the close of the season he was of little use to his club. the X-ray showed a broken bone.

    Next to Johnson, Wood throws the speediest ball I have ever batted against. At one time all base runners were happy whenever Wood pitched, as he let a man get a big lead off first. But those days are over; to-day Wood holds you as close to the base as the best of them, and he is one of the hardest pitchers to get a "lead on" in the business.

    Many fans may not understand why the man I shall now consider is being mentioned in the same breath, so to speak, as Wood and Johnson. I have in mind "Big Jack" Powell of St. Louis.

    "Put a bat in me hand and get me a run."

    Members of the St. Louis club have told me Powell always used to say this just before he was ready to start a game. He meant he was sure to win if his club could get one run, as he was sure to shut out the opponents; then, if there was a man on base, give him a turn at bat, and he would knock him in.

    For such a huge man--he weighs easily two hundred and fifty pounds--Powell made pitching the easiest kind of work imaginable. Because his club was always down in the race, he never received the recognition, for instance, that Joe Wood did in 1912. But I know that Powell gave many a club just as hard a battle as Wood ever did. Indeed I would not be surprised if the records showed that he has beaten the Athletics quite as often as either Johnson or Wood.

    "He hasn't a thing."--I've heard more than one player say this after facing Powell, despite the fact that he had not hit one safe. Really, to bat against Powell, it makes you wonder how he does it. The balls he throws certainly do look as big as balloons. His fast one looks as huge as his curve. Moreover he uses both with equal regularity--no "mixing 'em up." He seems as easy to hit as a high school pitcher, but you don't hit him. Powell is the kind of a pitcher who always makes you say to yourself:

    "I'll hit this next one out of the lot," and then you pop it into the air and there is a fielder camped below.

    One day at Shibe Park, when Powell was leaving the St. Louis bench on his way to the club house he passed very close to our dug-out. As he did to Connie Mack spoke to him:

    "Hello, Jack, pretty soft for you."

    "Why, say, Connie, it's a shame to take the money. If it wasn't for your club, I wouldn't be in the league. They just keep me on the pay roll to beat you fellows!"

    And so it seemed: certainly Powell carried out his part of the bargain. He has outlived his usefulness with the St. Louis club, but in his day he was a mighty good pitcher. To use a baseball expression, he had "something on his fast one," a decided hop, not perceptible from the stands.

    I must mention another man whom you see no more--the late Addie Joss, pitching star of Cleveland. Joss was a master of the art of pitching, as he made it his careful study, likewise the batters who faced him. He knew the weak point of every one of them, and pitched accordingly. The beauty of it was that Joss could do as he wanted, and this is where lots of pitchers fail. They know what they ought to do, but cannot do it: that is, they size up the situation correctly, but are shy on control.

    Joss's strongest point was his change of pace. Most pitchers who employ this trick give it away by their style of delivery, some motion lacking from their ordinary style. That is, when they plan to send up a "floater," and want the batter to think it will be a "fast one," they use their fast ball motion, but to it add an exaggerated shoulder hunching so untrue as to give it all away. But Addie threw his slow ball with the same motion as his fast one, and it was impossible to tell the "floater' until it was right on top of you.

    His slow ball was more difficult to hit than any of its kind I have ever batted against.

    Tall and slim, he used a style of delivery that was very effective for his pitching. When he took his wind-up he would swing his body clear around, so that as he was about to pitch he faced away from the batter. This would bother the batter because he could not follow the ball before it left Joss's hand and it was nearly on top of you before you saw it. This style was particularly effective against right-hand hitters as it had a tendency to drive them away from the plate.

    Joss always bothered me, as I used to break my back trying to hit his slow ones. I remember that for one whole year he would never work against our club, because he felt he could not beat us. But in 1909 he beat us the first time he faced us, and we were never successful against him again. His best achievement on the mound came in Cleveland, against the White Sox, when pitted against Walsh he pitched a nine inning game in which not a man reached first base. He shares this honor alone with Cy Young,--that of having pitched a perfect game.

    Lefty Russell of the Chicago Americans is often spoken of as a second Rube Waddell, and not only does he bear to Rube a striking resemblance, but he pitches in a very similar manner. Unlike most southpaws, Russell throw his fast ball over-handed, and for a left-hander his control is exceptional. But the thing that makes him of immense value to the Sox is his seeming love for work. It is odd that his club should have developed two pitchers, Walsh and Russell, both of them able to work nearly every other day and appear just as effective.

    Of all the pitchers I have ever hit against I have less success against Lefty Russell than any other. To be exact, I got exactly three hits off him all of last year, and he must have been in at least a dozen games against our club. why this is I do not understand, because in spite of the fact that he is a southpaw and I am a left-handed batter I would prefer to hit against him any time than some of the pitchers I have already mentioned. "Lefty" is the opposite kind of pitcher from Gregg in the sense that his fat ball is his most effective asset. In point of service in the Major, Russell is by far the youngest of any of the pitchers mentioned in this article. In the face of almost insurmountable obstacles, he broke in and earned a place for himself in one year on one of the strongest pitching staffs in the American League.

    It would appear that I have been more impressed with pitchers of the Chicago White Sox than those of any other club, for the last man I shall consider is also on Comiskey's pay roll. Eddie Cicotte has two marked distinctions. He is the smallest man [5'9,175] pitching in the American League and upholds the old adage of "good things comes in small packages." He has, in his pitching repertoire, a bigger assortment than any other twirler I have named.

    Just try to put yourself in my place when I face him, and say, "I wonder what he will throw me now, a fast, a curve, a spitter, or a slow one?" That is something to figure out, for Cicotte can throw any one of those balls as effectively as the other. Dan Murphy, a former captain of our club , once told me that he considered Cicotte the hardest pitcher to bat against he had ever faced, and a man of Murphy's long experience ought to have a baseball opinion of some weight. "Knuckles" is Cicotte's nickname, and he comes b it because the slow ball he throws patterned after the one Summers made famous. His spitter, however, is his most effective ball, and last year was really the best of the six he has spent in the American League.

    Before closing I would like to make mention of Jim Scott, if for no other reason than to say I believe his is the hardest man to get a lead on, in order to steal a base, who is pitching in our league to-day. By this I do not mean he employs any so-called half-balk-move to hold a runner close to a bag, but he has the quickest, most unpretentious style of delivery, so that nine times out of ten a base runner is not started before the ball is in the catcher's hand. Furthermore, in the point of effectiveness he is right up with the leaders, being tied with his team-mate Russell for third place in the ranking of the American League pitchers for the season of 1913, and like his team-mates, Cicotte, Walsh, and Russell, the Athletics and yours truly have learned to respect him, too.

    In discussing these pitchers I have faced, I have been forced to omit Waddell, Cy Young, and Chesbro, because at the time of my entrance in the American League they were on the decline. Mordecai Brown of the Cubs is another in their class. I may as well state frankly that not one pitcher of the Chicago Cubs impressed me in comparison with those already mentioned when I faced them in the World Series of 1910. Of the Giant pitchers whom we faced last fall, it would not be fair for me to comment upon Tesreau or Demaree, as the true worth of a pitcher can hardly be determined by the work he does in just one game,--and that is all I have ever seen either of the two men in.

    With Mathewson and Marquard, however, it is different, as I have batted against both of them several times, and I selected Matty unhesitatingly, for reasons previously stated. Rube must be a very capable pitcher to win the number of games he does annually for New York, and a record of "nineteen straight' speaks for itself, but my readers, when you stop to recollect that Rube has never been able to go the regulation nine innings against the Athletics, let alone beat us, you cannot expect me to hold him in as high esteem as those I have mentioned.

    Seaton and Alexander of the Philadelphia Nationals I have batted against in the spring series between the two Philadelphia clubs, but I never considered their performance seriously then, as they would be apt to be holding something in reserve so early in the year. In fact the series is more of a conditioner than one to decide the city champion. Bender, Plank and Coombs, naturally, I cannot include, as I have never face them in competition. But you know, as well as I, that they would be up with all those I have chosen.

    I wish to make it clear that the order in which I have presented these different pitchers is not my idea of the order of their ability. Beyond stating that Johnson is the superior of any pitcher I have ever batted against, I have shown no preference.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------Vean Gregg----------------------------Russell Ford-----------Eddie Cicotte--------------Ed Walsh
    ------(Below) Jim Scott---Lefty Russell
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-07-2010 at 06:26 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzaldrin
    These are fabulous reading, man, thanks a lot.

    I've been trying to find- with no success- an article from Baseball Magazine from January 1912 entitled "Who is the Greatest Player in the History of Baseball?" by F.C.Lane. Apparently, the five guys up for the honor are Cobb, Lajoie, Tip O'Neill, Billy Hamilton, and Harry Stovey.

    I don't suppose anyone has that, do they?
    Check out http://www.aafla.org/SportsLibrary/BBM/1912/bbm83m.pdf

    They have most of, if not all of the Baseball Magazines from 1908 thru 1918 digitized.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ubiquitous 10-24-2005, 09:53 AM

    Great site,
    Read an article from 1913 in which the author was complaining about how baseball was only looking for big thumpers in the game nowadays. How hitting the long ball was becoming more prevalant then getting a small guy to run out a hit.

    The Home run hitter was coming regardless of Babe.

    Also there was an interesting column about Fogel and how he wanted to destroy Baseball with his accusations against the Giants.

    There is also an article about the gambling problem in baseball. It was written in 1912. Though the author believes it would be impossible to fix a baseball game.

    To continue on there is an article from 1915 in which they state that the fans think their is too much pitching and that they want more hitting. So again the pitcher/dynamic was being talked about before Babe came about.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-06-2005 at 04:39 PM.
    Dave Kent

  13. #13
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    The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is online, free, 1841-1902.

    http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ubiquitous 11-01-2005, 07:58 AM

    Great site.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Buzzaldrin 11-01-2005, 08:36 AM

    Here we are, kids- Brooklyn Eagle, October 20th, 1862, page 2, second column, about halfway down. It won't let me copy from the article for some reason so I'll write it by hand:

    Even a good thing may be carried too far. Base-ball, that was at first commendable as furnishing an agreeable outdoor exercise for our young men, has been run into the ground. One of the most proficient players of Brooklyn, and one of the most estimable young men of our city, last week ruptured himself while engaged in playing a match game, died in a day or two afterwards, and was buried yesterday. In the melancholy death of James Creighton there is a warning to others. Exercise is a good thing, but like other good things, one may take too much of it.

    Now, it makes a little more sense why Excelsiors owner Dr. Jones tried to pin it on the cricket match- this doesn't make baseball look too hot.

    Thanks again for the link.
    --------------------------------------
    Glenn 11-01-2005, 10:42 AM

    http://www.ulsterpublishing.com/inde...ticleID=343040
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-05-2007 at 12:28 AM.

  14. #14
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    In 1909, Cap was asked to give his 1909 team, and as it turns out he'd been giving his yearly teams for many years. So to say he stopped following the game is just uninformed. I will give his two interviews, for your education.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All-American Professional Baseball Team

    Selecting the Stars of the Diamond for 1909, by A. C. Anson, One-Time Captain of Chicago

    I have been picking All-American teams, lo, these many years, but this is the first time I have been called upon to give my selection to the public; that is, with the single exception of nearly forty years ago. It may be of passing interest to recall that among the coterie of stars whom I then regarded as the best exponents of our now greatest national pastime were Al Spalding, with Jim White, his battery mate of the old Bostons; Cal MacVey, Ross Barnes, George Wright, and Jim O'Rourke - names I now recall as appearing in the roster of that first galaxy of star performers.

    My team of all-stars must, above all else, be a hitting team. My contention has always been that it is the hitting team that wins out, and this is borne out by the team averages of this season's pennant winners.

    Always looking with favor upon the fellow who can hit the ball, I am sometimes given to overlooking the speed marvel, whose work in the field entitles him to equal consideration with his brother who drives out a safe hit every third time at bat.

    In my selection of a 1909 team it has been my endeavor to choose men whose individual records, taken together with my personal knowledge for their abilities in the various departments of the play, entitle them to their respective positions upon the "All-America."

    The 13 Star Team:

    Catcher - Gibson - Pittsburgh
    Pitcher - Mathewson - Giants
    ---------Brown - Chicago
    ---------Mullin - Detroit
    ---------Walsh - Chicago
    ---------Plank - Philadelphia
    1B Chance - Chicago
    2B Collins - Philadelphia
    SS Wagner - Pittsburgh
    3B Lord - Boston
    RF Cobb - Detroit
    CF Hofman - Chicago
    LF Crawford - Detroit

    In the selection of a catcher one man stands out alone the peer of all backstops in the major leagues during the closing season--Gibson of the "Pirates" is my choice. I do not, however, feel that his work has been superior to or even the equal of that of Kling during the preceding season. The scarcity of really first class catchers is surprising. I am sure that the bones of those masters of the art of catching, Mike Kelly and Buck Ewing, should rest uneasy in their graves were they to witness the work of some of the wearers of the "big mitt" in the game to-day.

    I like very much the work of Archer, who is very accurate in his throwing to bases, and but little inferior to his predecessor, Kling.

    As a pitching staff there are a number of "slab artists" in both leagues whose work has been consistent, but the winnings of "Matty," the "Miner," and "Big Ed" give them the preference in the National--the first has been as effective as formerly since rounding to after his injury. Brown's run of 10 straight games won is worthy of especial mention, and did much to make the "Cubs" the contender in the pennant race. Plank, Connie Mack's mainstay on the mound, is on season's form easily the "southpaw" star of the big leagues. Ed Walsh, whom I have held for several years past to be the leader of present-day pitchers, proved ineffective during the greater part of the season, but has rounded to his old-time form, and I feel, is entitled to a place in my line up.

    -----------------Chance for Captain---------------------------------------

    FRANK L. CHANCE--the "Peerless Leader"--would, I believe, be the choice of the greater percentage of "fans" and players for the "initial sack" position; and by reason of his proven ability as a handler of men, his generalship, and cool judgment, is easily my pick for captain.

    Collins, a star of the first magnitude in all branches of the game--a batter to my liking, with an average of more than .350--is entitled to first consideration upon his record for the second base position. Lajoie looms up almost as formidable as ever, and with the managerial cares removed can be looked upon to exceed his best previous effort another season. Johnny Evers, one of the brainiest players in the game, quick to think and execute a play, if batting above the .300 mark would be the logical choice.

    Wagner--the great "Honus," king pin of them all--the one man in the game to-day who, more than any other, reminds me of the "old-time." Seven times leader of his league. A record indeed! I am for the big German, and who would not be?

    The batting, base-running, and fielding of Bush gives him the second call.

    Harry Lord, captain of the Boston "speed-boys," is my choice for the far-corner sack: he fields his position faultlessly, is a hard hitter, heady, and fast on bases. Devlin punches close for second choice.

    For right field, Tyrus Cobb--"Georgia Peach"--the bright satellite of the outfield, ranking batsman is the American League quite likely the fastest man in either league, as indicated by his wonderful base-stealing record. "Ty," on account of his daring on bases and the fact that his spikes have often connected with some unfortunate baseman, has been accused of playing "dirty ball." The writer can not place credence in the stories told, but would be the first to denounce any one employing such tactics upon the diamond

    ---------------------Many Good Men Omitted--------------------------

    ARTIE HOFMAN'S work in the outfield this season entitles him to the center garden position. With an arm that gets the ball to the bag just ahead of the base-runner, his batting prowess clinches him the job. I like Magee next best.

    Crawford, one of the premier "stickers" in his league, fast in the field and on base, draws the remaining outfield position.

    It would be beyond the limtis of possibility to select an all-star National-American League team to meet with the approval of all the "fans" and players. The team outlined above will hit well above the coveted .300 mark, and the men selected seem to me to possess the necessary qualifications for playing the game as it should be played. The names of many good men must necessarily be omitted. Many players outside of the above list are stronger in certain points of the game than those I have selected; but, to my mind, the chosen team presents the most formidable array of talent possible to gather together to-day. (Collier's, Saturday, October 16, 1909)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Another interesting article, giving Cap's opinions follows.

    --------------Old-Time Ball Players Superior, Anson Holds-----------------

    Rusie, Ewing and Lange best Men Game Has Known, He says.


    Cap. Anson, one of the daddies of baseball, believes the old-time ballplayers were superior to the modern crop. "Good baseball was played 20 years before the game was taken in hand by the National League in 1876," said Anson, recently. "But, of cousrse, in those days there were not so many ball players to be had.

    "Yet with the present wealth of material in the big leagues there are comparatively few really good players. In my opinion, Wagner and Lajoie, though they are growing old, possess more natural skill than the younger stars of to-day, with the possible exception of Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker."

    When asked if he had ever seen any pitchers better than Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Alexander and other modern stars, Anson said, "Yes." He believes that Amos Rusie, who pitched for the Giants form 1890 until 1899, was the greatest of them all.

    "Rusie had as much speed as Johnson, better control and the fastest curve ball I ever saw," said Anson. "He was physically the superior of Johnson, Mathewson and Alexander and was built like Jeff Tesreau, of the Giants. There was no limit to his endurance".

    "Tim Keefe, who was with the Giants back in 1888, was also a master. He was among the first pitchers to perfect what is known as 'change of pace.'

    "The best catcher I ever saw was Buck Ewing, who caught for the Giants when they won the world's championship in 1888 and 1889. I have never to this day seen his equal, but little Walters, of the New York Yankees, reminds me of Ewing's throwing on bases".

    "Ewing was a quick thinker and a natural born leader. Bill Lange, who played for me when I had charge of the Chicago National League club, was in a class by himself as an outfielder. He was a better outfielder than Cobb or Speaker and a phenomenal thrower, and one year he stole 106 bases."

    "How about Billy Sunday?" Cap was asked.

    "Billy is a better evangelist than a ball player," was the reply. "He was the fastest runner that ever drew on a spiked shoe when we played on the Chicago team, but he didn't always exercise the best judgment in stealing bases. He was an excellent outfielder and a fair hitter and his influence among the Chicago players was good." (The Washington Post, June 3, 1917, pp. S18, " Old-Time Ball Players Superior, Anson Holds)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Cap chose his All-Time team for the Sporting News, on Jan. 17, 1918, pp. 8.

    His lineup consisted of:

    1B - Cap Anson
    2B - Fred Pfeffer
    SS - Ross Barnes
    3B - (Ned) Ed Williamson
    OF - Bill Lange
    OF - George Gore
    OF - Jimmy Ryan
    OF - Hugh Duffy
    C - Buck Ewing/King Kelly
    P - Amos Rusie
    P - John Clarkson
    P - Jim McCormick
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So there you have some opinions from the very famous Cap Anson. Some pearls (Ewing/Lange) mixed in with his obvious "old fogey" rhetoric.

    Baseball historian/statistician Ernie Lanigan was quoted in Sporting News twice as stating that old Cap Anson had selected Ty Cobb as the best ever before he died in 1922. But in all my research, I have never turned up the quote. Which would have shown good growth in Cap. So we have from 1918-22, for Cap to evolve to that perception, if Lanigan is to be believed.

    Bill Burgess

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 538280
    You, Bill, like to show us results of various surveys of baseball men that showed Cobb being the #1 player of all time. Almost all of those surveys were done prior to 1950, because after that Ruth seemed to carry the polls.
    Not so my friend.

    Only 4 were prior to 1950.
    11 were during the 1950's.
    2 were from the 1960's.
    7 were from the 1990's.
    1 is ours, on Fever, 2005.

    And as proof, here they are again.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Historical Polls/Surveys:

    As a service to the good guys of Fever, the best-informed fans I've had the good luck to run into, I'm going to dip deep into the storied Bill Burgess musty, dusty File Cabinet of Baseball Lore. I'd like to share some of my personal collection of past surveys/polls. So here is another Historical File. Hope you enjoy it. I have included it into my All-Time All-Star Teams File. Available to all who request it. Just provide a private email address & it will be emailed to that address.


    1931 Poll, conducted by the Philadelphia Public Ledger, C. William Duncan. July, 1933;

    Cobb 55 points, Wagner 38 points, Ruth 17 points, Lajoie 13, Collins 12, Keeler 7, Simmons 6, Speaker 4, Joe Jackson 3, Sisler 3, Klein 3, Hornsby 2,
    Parent 2, Ferguson, Chase & Terry = 1 point.

    (Voters: Connie Mack, John McGraw, Clark Griffith, Wilbert Robinson, Dan Howley, Bucky Harris, Joe McCarthy, Bill McKechnie, Kid Gleason, Walter Johnson, Jim Burke, Gabby Street)

    Tabulation went thusly: 1st place vote = 5 points, 2nd place = 4 votes, 3rd place = 3 points, 2nd place = 2 points, 1st place = 1 point.


    1936 --- Original Hall of Fame vote, Feb. 2, 1936, votes counted at the Commissioner's office in Chicago, IL.

    226 Total Voters;
    Cobb 222, Wagner 215, Ruth 215, Mathewson 205, Johnson 189, Lajoie 146, Speaker 133, Young 111, Hornsby 105, Cochrane 80, Sisler 77, E. Collins 60, J. Collins 58, Alexander 55, Gehrig 51, Bresnahan 47, Keeler 40, Waddell 33, Foxx 21, Walsh 20, Delahanty 17, Traynor 16, Frisch 14, Grove 12, Chase 11, Ross Youngs 10, Terry 9, Kling 8, Lou Criger 7, Evers 6, M. Brown 6, Chance 5, Schalk 4, McGraw 4, Simmons 4, Bender 2, Roush 2, Joe Jackson 2, and one each for Crawford, Baker, Bradley, Elberfeld, Connie Mack, Marquad, and Nap Rucker.

    Sporting News staff, Jan. 20, 1938, 17 voters
    1B Gehrig 8, Sisler 7, Chase 2
    2B Lajoie 8, Collins 4, Hornsby 3, Gehringer2
    SS Wagner 17
    3B Collins 9, Traynor 8
    LF Cobb 17
    CF Speaker 14, Jackson 1, Delehanty 1, Clarke 1
    RF Ruth 17
    C Cochrane 12, Bresnahan 6, Ewing 4, Kling 4, Harnett 3, Dickey 2, Schalk 2, M. Kelly 1
    P Johnson 13, Mathewson 12, Grove 8, Young 4, Alexander 4, Hubbel 4, Waddell 3, Plank 2, Coombs 1

    1942 - Sporting News, April 2, 1942, 102 former players, managers.

    Cobb 60, Wagner 17, Ruth 11, Hornsby 2, 10 players received 1 vote each: Delahanty, Gehrig, Speaker, DiMaggio, Ott, Sisler, E. Collins, Johnson, Mathewson, Jerry Denny.


    1950 Christy Walsh Survey of 500 Sports Writers
    Connie Mack, 7 sports writers Announced July 8, 1952


    1B Sisler
    2B Collins
    SS Wagner
    3B Traynor
    LF Cobb
    CF Speaker
    RF Ruth
    C Cochrane / Dickey
    U IF Frisch, U OF DiMaggio
    P Johnson, Mathewson, Young, Alexander
    Hubbell, Grove


    1950 Sports Writers Poll: Who Was the Greatest Baseball Player Ever?

    Ruth 253, Cobb 116, Gehrig 8, Walter Johnson 7, DiMaggio 5, Wagner 2, Mathewson 2.


    1952, Feb., Baseball Writers Ass. Of America, 164 spwr.
    Big Time Baseball (Magazine), 164 Spwr. & 76 celebritie
    s


    1B Gehrig 124, Sisler 56, Terry, Chase, Foxx, Greenberg
    2B Hornsby 107, Gehringer, Collins, Lajoie, Frisch, Gordon
    SS Wagner 192, Marion, Cronin, Maranville, Rizzuto, Appling, Boudreau 27
    3B Traynor 118, Collins 50, Baker, Rolfe, Dykes, Dugan
    LF Cobb 224, Jackson
    CF DiMaggio 107, Speaker 105
    RF Ruth 234, Williams
    C Dickey 109, Cochrane 92, Bresnahan 20, Schalk, Harnett, Kling, Ruel, Schang, Campanella
    P Johnson 117, Mathewson 72, Alexander 16, Grove 11, Dean, Hubbell, Pennock, Waddell, Feller


    Sport Magazine, May 1951
    National League

    1B Terry
    2B Hornsby
    SS Wagner
    3B Traynor
    LF Musial
    CF -
    RF Ott
    C Hartnett
    P Mathewson

    Sport Magazine, May 1951
    American League

    1B Sisler
    2B Lajoie
    SS Boudreau
    3B Collins
    LF Cobb
    CF DiMaggio
    RF Ruth
    C Cochrane
    P Johnson



    Complete Baseball (Magazine), Fall, 1951, AL, voted on by panel of 7 spwr.

    1B Sisler, Gehrig, Foxx
    2B Collins, Lajoie, Gehringer
    SS Boudreau, Appling, Cronin
    3B Collins, Baker, Kell
    LF Cobb, DiMaggio, Keeler,
    CF Speaker, Simmons, J. Jackson
    RF Ruth, Simmons, Williams
    C Cochrane, Dickey, Schalk
    RHP Johnson
    LHP Grove


    Complete Baseball (Magazine), Summer, 1951, NL, voted on by panel of 7 spwr.

    1B Terry, Chance, Bottomley
    2B Hornsby, Frisch, Evers
    SS Wagner, Marion, Bancroft
    3B Traynor, Lindstrom, Hack
    LF Musial, Ott, Wilson
    CF Waner, Youngs, Hafey
    RF Roush, Clarke, Medwick
    C Harnett, Bresnahan, Kling
    RHP Alexander, Mathewson, Dean
    LHP Hubbell, Rixey, Marquard


    Sporting News, Jan. 2, 1957

    1B Sisler
    2B Hornsby
    SS Wagner
    3B Collins
    LF Cobb
    CF Speaker
    RF Ruth
    C Cochrane
    P Mathewson, Young, Johnson, Alexander



    Sport Magazine, Oct., 1958, over 120 total votes
    National League


    1B Terry 89
    2B Hornsby
    SS Wagner
    3B Traynor
    LF Musial
    CF Waner 54, Mays 46
    RF Ott
    C Harnett
    P Mathewson, Hubbell 95



    Sport Magazine, Sept., 1958, over 120 total votes
    American League


    1B Gehrig, Sisler
    2B Collins
    SS Cronin
    3B Collins, Baker
    LF Cobb 104
    CF DiMaggio 48, Speaker 47
    RF Ruth 107
    C Dickey 59, Cochrane 50
    P Johnson, Grove 105
    M. McGraw 105, Stengel 53, Mack 35, McCarthy 33, Huggins


    Baseball Writers Ass. Of America, Jul. 6, 1958, 238 total votes

    1B Gehrig 124, Sisler 78
    2B Hornsby 125, Collins 60, Gehringer, Lajoie, Frisch
    SS Wagner 216, Cronin 7
    3B Traynor 199, Collins 23
    LF Cobb 211, Williams 40
    CF Speaker 111, DiMaggio 52
    RF Ruth 228, Musial
    C Dickey 105, Cochrane 93, Harnett, Berra
    P Grove 213, Johnson 196, Hubbell 173, Mathewson 135, Mathewson 135, Young 56, Alexander 36, Feller 29


    Sept. 7, 1963: Academy of Sports Editors, a private survey organization which solicits votes from 100 sports editors of papers in the 100,000 plus class.

    Greatest Ever Player: AL: Cobb 91%, Ruth 90%, DiMaggio, 63%; W. Johnson 48%, T. Williams 45%, Gehrig 43%, Speaker, 43%, Sisler 20%, E. Collins 18%, Feller 17%.

    Greatest Ever Player: NL: Wagner 71%, Musial 70%, Mathewson 57%, Alexander 53%, Spahn 42%, Mays 38%, Terry 23%, Ott 20%, Frisch 15%.


    1969 Sporting News Centennial, All-Time Team

    1B Gehrig, Sisler, Musial
    2B Hornsby, Gehringer, Collins,
    SS Wagner, Cronin, Banks
    3B Traynor, B. Robinson, J. Robinson
    OF Ruth, Cobb, DiMaggio, T. Williams, Speaker, Mays
    C Cochrane, Dickey, Campanella
    RHP Johnson, Mathewson, Young
    LHP Grove, Koufax, Hubbell

    Oct., 1992 Sports Illustrated, Steve Wulf's personal team for Sports Illustrated

    1B Gehrig
    2B Robinson
    SS Ripken
    3B Schmidt
    LF Cobb
    CF Mays
    RF Ruth
    C Cochrane
    RHP Mathewson
    LHP Spahn
    RP Eckersley
    M; Stengel

    1994, June, Inside Sport Magazine

    Ruth, Cobb, Mays, Aaron, Williams, W. Johnson, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Foxx, Mathewson, Alexander, Musial, Mantle, Seaver, Feller, Young, Carlton, Rose, Ryan, Koufax


    Baseball Digest's All-Time Top 10 by Position - 1994

    1B - Gehrig, Foxx, Sisler, Greenberg, McCovey, Terry, Mize, Perez, Cepeda, Murray
    2B - Gehringer, Sandbeg, Frisch, Hornsby, Morgan, Collins, J. Robinson, Lajoie,Herman, Mazeroski
    SS - Smith, Aparicio, Wagner, Appling, Ripken, Boudreau, Banks, Cronin, Reese, Rizzuto
    3B - Schmidt, B. Robinson, Brett, Mathews, Traynor, Nettles, Santo, Hack, Boggs, Kell
    LF - Williams, Musial, J. Jackson, Henderson, Bonds, Simmons, Medwick, Yastrzemski, Brock, Goslin
    CF - Cobb, Mays, DiMaggio, Mantle, Speaker, Snider, Combs, Roush, Puckett, Blair
    RF - Ruth, Aaron, Clemente, F. Robinson, Winfield, Dawson, Kaline, R.Jackson, Ott, Gwynn
    C - Bench, Campanella, Berra,J . Gibson, Dickey, Carter, Fisk, Harnett, Schalk
    RHP - Johnson, Seaver, Gibson, Alexander, Mathewson, Feller, Palmer, Marichal, Young, Paige
    LHP - Koufax, Carlton, Grove, Spahn, Hubbell, Plank, Ford, Waddell, Gomez ,Kaat
    RP - Gossage, Fingers, Marshall, Sutter, Eckersley, Wilhelm, Radatz, Perranoski, Tekulve, Lee Smith

    BBWAA - July, 1997 - All-Time All-Star Team (numbers show 1st place votes)

    1B - Gehrig 31, Foxx3, Sisler 2, McCovey, Greenberg, Terry, Musial, Murray, McGuire, Thomas
    2B - Hornsbby 17, Morgan 6, J. Robinson 6, Gehringer 4, Lajoie 3, Collins 1, Carew, Sandberg
    SS - Wagner 23, Ripken 6, O. Smith 5, Banks 1, Boudreau, Appling
    3B - Schmidt 21, B. Robinson 6, Mathews 4, Brett 1, Traynor, Rose, Baker, Rosen, Boggs
    LF - Williams 32, Musial 4, Rose, Kiner, Henderson, Bonds
    CF - Mays 25, Cobb 7, DiMaggio 3, Mantle 1, Speaker
    RF - Ruth 31, Aaron 5, F. Robinson 4, Kaline, Clemente, Gwynn
    C - Bench 24, Berra 4, Campanella 4, Cochrane 1, Dickey 1, Hartnett, 1 Fisk
    RHP - Johnson 9, Young 12, Mathewson 5, Feller 4, Gibson 2, Ryan 2, Seaver 1, Maddux 1, Alexander, Marichal
    LHP - Koufax 11, Spahn 11, Grove 8, Carlton 4, Hubbell, 6, Ford 1, Plank 1
    RP - Eckersley 16, Fingers 9, L. Smith 4, Wilhelm 3, Gossage 3, Sutter 1, Quisenberry
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    October, 1998
    Sporting News, 100 Greatest Baseball Players

    Only listed Top 55 of their 100.

    1. Ruth
    2. Mays
    3. Cobb
    4. W. Johnson
    5. Aaron
    6. Gehrig
    7. Mathewson
    8. T. Williams
    9. Hornsby
    10. Musial
    11. DiMaggio
    12. Alexander
    13. Wagner
    14. Young
    15. Foxx
    16. Bench
    17. Mantle
    18. Josh Gibson
    19. Satchel Paige
    20. Clemente
    21. Spahn
    22. F. Robinson
    23. Grove
    24. E. Collins
    25. Rose
    26. Koufax
    27. Speaker
    28. Schmidt
    29. Lajoie
    30. Carlton
    31. Gibson
    32. Seaver
    33. Sisler
    34. Bonds
    35. Joe Jackson
    36. Feller
    37. Greenberg
    38. Banks
    39. Maddux
    40. Berra
    41. Ryan
    42. Ott
    43. Simmons
    44. J. Robinson
    45. Hubbell
    46. Gehringer
    47. Buck Leonard
    48. Reggie Jackson
    49. Gwynn
    50. Campanella
    51. Henderson
    52. Whitey Ford
    53. Clemens
    54. Heilmann
    55. Brett
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    25 Member Team
    ML BB's 1999 All-Century Team


    1B - Gehrig ( 1,207,992), McGuire,
    2B - J. Robinson, Hornsby,
    SS - Ripken (669, 033), Banks, Wagner,
    3B - Schmidt, B. Robinson,
    LF - Rose (629, 742), Williams, Musial
    CF - Cobb, Mays, DiMaggio, Mantle, Griffey,
    RF - Ruth (1, 1,158, 044), Aaron
    C - Bench, Berra,
    RHP - Ryan, Yong, Clemens, Gibson, W. Johnson, Mathewson
    LEP - Koufax, Grove, Spahn,

    In this fan survey, a special panel had to add Wagner, Mathewson,
    Grove, Spahn, Musial,

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 1999, SABR ran a poll, and here are their results.
    Code:
    --Position Players-----------------Pitchers
    1. Ruth -----2,743-----------------W. Johnson----591
    2. Cobb------1,135-----------------Grove---------139
    3. Mays--------964-----------------Mathewson-----118
    4. Williams----711-----------------Young---------112
    5. Wagner------611-----------------Joss-----------53
    6. Gehrig------375-----------------Koufax---------52
    7. Aaron-------270-----------------N. Ryan--------37
    8. DiMaggio----213-----------------Maddux---------29
    9. Mantle------115-----------------Spahn----------26
    10. Musial-----102-----------------Alexander------20
    11. Hornsby-----82
    12. J. Robinson-58
    13. Clemente----44
    13. J. Jackson--44
    15. Rose--------42
    16. Bonds-------37
    17. Lajoie------36
    18. Foxx--------23
    19. McGuire-----22
    20. Bench-------20
    20. Griffey-----20
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Have tabulated our 2005 Fever votes. So far, here's what I've got for Fever.
    Code:
    Ruth ------------ 84 supporters (57.53%)
    Cobb ------------ 44 supporters (30.13%)
    Mays ------------ 10 supporters (06.84%)
    Charleston-------- 3 supporters (02.05%)
    Williams-----------2 supporters (01.36%)
    Bonds--------------2 supporters (01.36%)
    Gehrig-------------1 supporters (006%)
    ---------------------------------------
    ----------------146 total supporters
    So at present, Babe is picking up almost 3 out of 5 Fever members support, as the best, while Ty is only picking up 1 every 4 members.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-26-2005 at 05:52 PM.

  16. #16
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    Miller Huggins's All-Time Team

    Cobb, Speaker,
    Ruth Best Outfield
    -------------------------------------------
    Yankee Pilot Selects
    Greatest Players in
    History of Game
    ---------------------------------
    Names Chase at First
    Base; Johnson and
    Waddell Pitchers
    ---------------------------------
    by William J. Dunn
    United Press Staff Correspondent
    New York, Feb. 4, 1929 (U.P.). --Miller Huggins, diminutive but
    mighty manager of the champion New York Yankees, tried his hand at selecting an all-time ball club.

    His skill in that line appears not less than his uncanny ability to judge his own men and get the greatest effort out of them year after year.

    Starting with Hal Chase at first base, Huggins builds a mythical team that would be hard to equal either in defensive or offensive power. Chase, Huggins believes, is the greatest first baseman that ever drew on a glove. Equally high are his ratings of Eddie Collins, whom he places at second, and Jimmy Collins, his choice at third.

    At shortstop he names Hans Wagner, Pittsburgh old infield star, terming him the "greatest infielder that ever lived," and possibly the greatest ballplayer.

    Little Time Lost in Naming
    The Greatest Outfield.

    It took him nearly two seconds to name his outfield -- Ty Cobb. Tris Speaker and Babe Ruth. "Who else could hope to compete with a set of outfielders like that?" he asked. "Cobb, of course, has first call as the greatest all round man in the trio."

    Roger Bresnahan gets first call among the catchers, in Huggins opinion, with Johnny Kling a close second. Kling for catching ability was in a class by himself. Huggins believes but the fact that Bresnahan was a powerful hitter in addition to being exceptional as a catcher, makes Roger a little more valuable in the eyes of Huggins.

    Rube Waddell, eccentric southpaw, and Walter Johnson are the greatest left and right handed pitchers, respectfully, he claims. He also rates his own Herb Pennock right behind Waddell as a south-sider and completes his pitching staff with two other right handers. Christy Mathewson and Grover Cleveland Alexander.

    Good Infielder Rated More Vital
    Than Good Outfielder.

    His team would line up as follows:

    First base--Hal Chase, New York Americans
    Second base--Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Americans
    Third base--Jimmy Collins, Boston Americans
    Shortstop--Hans Wagner, Pittsburgh Nationals
    Right Field--Babe Ruth, New York Americans
    Center Field--Tris Speaker, Boston Americans
    Left Field--Ty Cobb, Detroit Americans
    Catcher--Roger Bresnahan, New York Nationals
    Catcher--Johnny Kling, Chicago Nationals
    Pitchers--Rube Waddell, Philadelphia Americans
    Walter Johnson, Washington Americans
    Christy Mathewson, New York Nationals
    Grover C. Alexander, Philadelphia Nationals

    The greatest player of all time? 'Wagner or Cobb', take your choice. Still I'm inclined to consider a good infielder more important to a team than a good outfielder." said Huggins. (Washington Post, February 5, 1929, pp. 20)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-11-2005 at 09:43 AM.

  17. #17
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    McGraw's Views on Pitching/Catchers:


    A mere 2 wks. before his death on Feb. 25, 1934, John J. McGraw was interviewed by Sporting News. He gave his views on his top pitcher/catcher batteries. Following here are his selections as his top batteries.

    1. Christy Mathewson / Roger Bresnahan - Giants - 1902-1908

    2. Lefty Grove / Mickey Cochrane - Athletics - 1925-1933

    3. Walter Johnson / Gabby Street - Senators - 1908-1911

    4. Mordecai Brown / Johnny Kling - Cubs - 1904-1911

    5. Sadie McMahon / Wilbert Robinson - Orioles - 1889-1896

    6. Rube Waddell / Ossie Schreckengost - Athletics - 1902-1907

    7. Addie Joss / Harry Bemis - Indians - 1902-1910

    8. Joe McGinnity / Roger Bresnahan - Giants - 1902-1908

    9. Rube Marquard / Chief Meyers - Giants - 1909-1915

    10. Carl Hubbell / Gus Mancuso - Giants - 1933-1938 (McGraw saw Gus 1 yr.)

    11. Tim Keefe / Buck Ewing - Giants - 1880-82, 1885-1891

    12. Amos Rusie / Buck Ewing - Giants 1891-92

    13. John Clarkson / Michael "King" Kelly - Boston Nationals - 1888-1892

    14. Kid Nichols / Charlie Bennet - Boston Nationals - 1890-1893

    15. Nap Rucker / Bill Bergen - Dodgers - 1907-1911

    16. Ted Breitenstein / Heinie Peitz - Reds - 1897-1900

    17. Cy Young / Lou Criger - Red Sox - 1901-1908

    18. Ed Walsh / Bill Sullivan - White Sox - 1904-1914

    19. Chief Bender / Doc Powers - Athletics - 1901-1909

    20. Eddie Plank / Jack Lap - Athletics - 1908-1914

    21. Cy Young / Chief Zimmer - Cleveland -1890-1898


    McGraws Top Pitchers:

    1. Christy Mathewson

    2. Lefty Grove

    3. Walter Johnson

    4. Rube Waddell

    5. Rube Marquard

    6. Carl Hubbell

    7. Joe McGinnity

    8. Sadie McMahon

    9. Nap Rucker

    10. Mordecai Brown

    11. Addie Joss

    12. Ed Walsh


    McGraw's Top Catchers:

    1. Roger Bresnahan

    2. Mickey Cochrane

    3. Johnny Kling

    4. Buck Ewing

    5. Bill Dickey

    6. Wilbert Robinson

    7. Michael "King" Kelly

    8. Charlie Bennett

    (Sporting News, February 8, 1934, pp. 4, column 3)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    My only surprise here is that he ranked Mordecai Brown only 10th as an individual pitcher and 4th as a battery. And he rated Buck Ewing 4th here, but had him #1 in 1922.

    In 1919, John McGraw had this to say about Buck. "Roger Bresnahan was the greatest catcher I ever saw, always excepting Buck Ewing." (Baseball Magazine, May, 1919, pp. 14)

    "Roger Bresnahan was a close second to Ewing in all that goes to make a great catcher." (John J. McGraw, My Thirty Years in Baseball, by John J. McGraw, as told to Bozeman Bulger, 1923, pp. 214)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Bill Burgess

  18. #18
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    I thought that I'd bring you some cool material from long ago. A juicy tidbit concerning defense, from one of my favorite sports writers, who passed in 1930.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    John B. Sheridan, St. Louis spwr. (1888-1929)
    Sporting News column, "Back of Home Plate", 1917-29
    (Sporting News, February 11, 1926)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "(Joe) Vila adds, that in his opinion (Hugh) Jennings was the greatest of shortstops. Again I must disagree. Jennings was a great shortstop, bar one very serious shortcoming, a weak arm. That weakness forced Hugh to play a shallow field, where Wallace and Wagner could play a deep field, 40 feet deeper than Jennings could. True, Jennings made a wonderful job of short, his limitation of arm power considered. But Wallace, Wagner and Herman Long could play so much deeper than Jennings that they naturally could get grounders that Jennings could not get, and make, also go farther back for fly balls than Jennings could go.

    Why, about 1893, Jennings' arm was so weak that he was forced to play almost on the grass behind the pitcher. At that, Hugh could do everything but throw, go either way, back for flies, etc. I never saw any infielder who could make putouts on long, wild throws from the catcher as Jennings could. He'd make a putout on a low throw that other infielders would "high low" to the center fielder.

    Wallace was, I have always believed, the greatest of shortstops in a fielding sense. He could do all the things that Wagner could do and one that Wagner could not do, get a ball behind the third baseman, and by quick righting of the body and sheer power of arm, make the assist at first. Wagner could do all these things, save right his heavy body in time to make the throw.
    -----------------------------------
    (Joe) Vila also questions the equality of Roger Bresnahan as a catcher to Buck Ewing, Mike Kelly or Charley Bennett. I have had doubts between Bresnahan and Ewing, but none about Bresnahan or Ewing's superiority to Kelly or Bennett. To my mind, Kelly was a great personality rather than a great ball player. He was, when fit, a good hitter, a clever base runner or or entertaining player, but he never appealed to me as a great technician behind the bat. Charley Bennett was slow, and a good mark to pitch to, a good thrower. Ewing could receive, plan, throw, hit and run bases. I have always agreed Buck was one of the three greatest catchers, Bresnahan and Kling being the other two. I believe that Ewing and Kling had technically, better hands, were better receivers and takers of throws than Bresnahan, but Lordy, no man, except perhaps Cobb, exerted so great an individual force in a ball game, either behind the bat, at the bat or on the bases as Bresnahan.
    ----------------------------------
    Kling has not been given credit for his greatness as a catcher. Between Ewing, Bresnahan and Kling there was little to choose, but Bresnahan was by far the greater all around ball player, and that should get him the call. By the way, little Ray Schalk, weak arm and all, cannot be kept out of any discussion of great catchers, nor can Lou Criger. Of course, the relative merits of players is purely a matter of personal opinion, but when Vila puts down McGraw, the greatest single influence in baseball, as a great third baseman, I believe that his opinion is so far out of line as to be ruled out. As for a great combination at short and third, Vila forgets Wagner and Leach. Of course, as far as energy, dash, brilliancy, will-to-win, etc., goes, no team ever equaled the Orioles, of which McGraw was the spark plug. In this respect it was the greatest team of all time. Given three good pitchers, the Orioles, with Robinson and Clark catching. Jack Koyle, Reitz, Jennings and McGraw in the infield: Kelley, Keeler, and Brodie in the outfield, were by all means the "winningest" team I have ever seen. Any one of them, save Reitz, would cheerfully break a leg to win a game of baseball. But , as a rule, the Orioles lacked pitching.
    ----------------------------
    Got a letter from a man last week who picked several all-time teams and never mentioned Chase for first base. Maybe Chase's name has been erased from the guides, but Hades, I have seen scores of great first baseman and --- Chase. I can believe that there will be another Cobb, several greater than Cobb was. Sisler, had he hustled, had it in him to be greater than Cobb, but I'll have to see the equal or superior of Chase play some 1,000 games of ball before I'll concede that he is equal or superior to that son of Limbo. Yes, lots of great first basemen. Then Chase. As Miss Barrymore said in "A Country Mouse," "There isn't any more. There isn't any more."
    ----------------------------------
    As for the greatest third baseman--there was only one--Jimmy Collins. He was the only man I ever saw that could back up on a ball, yet play it surely. Collins was not so much more effective than Tommy Leach, Arthur Devlin, Bill Bradley, Jerry Denny, etc., but he did the things they did much more gracefully and easily that I must concede him superiority. Then none of them could back up and make the play as Collins could. I have seen Joe Dugan play a wonderful third at times. And Heinie Groh. Bob Wallace played third for a time, 1898-99, and I believe was the closest thing to Collins I have seen." (Sporting News, February 11, 1926)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Herman Long: His case.

    But Wallace, Wagner and Herman Long could play so much deeper than Jennings that they naturally could get grounders that Jennings could not get, and make, also go farther back for fly balls than Jennings could go. (Sporting News, February 11, 1926, John B. Sheridan, St. Louis spwr. (1888-1929) Sporting News column, "Back of Home Plate", 1917-29)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "With a powerful arm, a quick release, and outstanding range, speed, and agility, Long played shortstop, according to the Boston Globe, "like a man on a flying trapeze." . . . His career chances-per-game (6.4) tops all shortstops.

    . . . twice knocking in over 100 and scoring over 100 seven times. His 149 runs scored led the NL in 1893 and his 12 HRs led in 1900. Noisy and uncouth on the field, he urged teammates to greater efforts, ragged opponents, and stirred up fans. He always played all out, once breaking Pittsburgh catcher Connie Mack's leg with a ferocious slide when there was no play at the plate.
    (The Ballplayers, ed. by Mike Shatzkin, 1990, pp. 633.)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 1889 shortstop Herman Long made 117 errors. Today he would never have the chance to make so many without being booted back to the minors, but the game was different in 1889, when Long's numerous miscues didn't even lead the league. In more than 16 major league seasons he accumulated an astonishing 1,070 errors at SS alone, plus another six when he filled in at other positions. Add his minor league bobbles and he probably made more errors than any other man in BB history.

    Yet Long was regarded as one of the best shortstops of his day, and many authorities place him at the top of the list. Although he made scads of errors, he also covered more ground than any of his counterparts. Many of his misses came on balls that other shortstops could only watch go by from afar. Long was spectacularly acrobatic as he pursued batted balls, cutting off some hits with moves more likely to be seen at the circus. He ranks second all-time in total chances per game. The outstanding plays that occasionally resulted from his attempts made the extra errors worthwhile. (Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia, ed. of Total Baseball, David Pietrusza, Matthew Silverman, Michael Gershman, 2000, pp.674)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ". . . Long played shortstop more than any other position and was famed for the amount of ground he could cover and for his accurate fielding. (excerpted from his obituary, Chicago Daily Tribune, September 17, 1909, pp.14)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Denver, September 16, --Herman Long, said to be the greatest shortstop of the country, died here today of consumption (Tuberculosis)(TB). He made his reputation with the Boston Nationals.) (excerpted from his obituary, Washington Post, September 17, 1909, pp. 9)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hugh Jennings was a great shortstop but how many know that Herman Long was an even better one, and that Long, until the arrival of Wagner, was recognized as the greatest shortstop of all time? (H.G. Salsinger, Detroit New, 1936: as quoted in "The History of Baseball: Its great Players, Teams and Managers, ed. By Allison Danzig & Joe Reichler, 1959, pp. 276)

    In that same book, same page, we find this. Of Long, Jack Doyle said to John Kieran, "You can't tell an old Bostonian there was ever a better shortstop." Walter Barnes wrote in the Boston Globe in 1936, "Herman Long was never excelled in the brilliancy of his fielding at short-stop." Joe Vila in 1930 reported Kid Nichols as saying of Long, "He was the greatest shortstop I ever saw. He covered more ground than Hans Wagner or Hughie Jennings. He fielded grounders no other shortstop could have reached and he threw out the fleetest base runners. He was a fine hitter and lead-off man, and once he stole more than 100 bases."

    Bill Burgess
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-13-2006 at 09:29 AM.

  19. #19
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    John B. Sheridan on Relative Value of a Player:

    A topic that is very controversial today is the relative value of a player. A-rod gets $25m/yr. Many, like I, consider that an extremely gross over-valuation of his value. $25m/162 games equals out to $154,320/game, $38,580/at-bat. And that is preposterous value for a mere baseball player!

    The following article, gives a very insightful analysis of a player's worth in any sport.

    John Brinsley Sheridan, St. Louis sports writer, 1888-1929
    Sporting News, December 8, 1927, pp. 4, column 6


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "A very good friend, and competent critic, writes from Houston,Tex., that so long as charge is made for admission to see baseball games, players are entitled to salaries commensurate with the paid attendance, that it is the players, who draw the money paid for admission to baseball games. I cannot wholly agree with this position. While it is true that Ruth, as a member of a championship team, does attract huge crowds, Ruth on the Boston Red Sox or St. Louis Browns would lose a great part of his drawing power.

    Ruth is the only player I have known, except Waddell, to possess extraordinary personal drawing powers. Ruth plays every day. Waddell pitched once in four days. Spectators never were informed exactly as to what day he would pitch. Often when the day of Rube's appearance was announced, he failed to show up. Cobb, I figured, did draw 7,000 more people to the average game than the Detroit team minus Cobb would have drawn. Outside of Ruth, Waddell and Cobb, I have not known any individual player to draw large crowds.

    -------------------------------------------------

    Mike Kelly, Anson, Mathewson, Walter Johnson, were all more or less drawing cards. All of these men, except Johnson were members of teams always high in the championship races. They drew well with a championship team.

    Put Ruth, Cobb, Kelly, Anson, Mathewson, Waddell, on a tail-end team on a barnstorming team in a bush park, no high-powered publicity, to what degree would their drawing powers be diminished? Let any of these men drop out of the limelight of the big leagues, and what would they draw? It is, in my opinion, entirely logical to attribute to the player, the players, or the team all drawing power displayed by the teams. Organized Baseball, regular scheduled games, good teams, in winning form, to play against, form the basis of the baseball structure. It is all very well to say "Americans love baseball." Not so. Americans do love organized league baseball. They don't care much for unorganized lot baseball, not even if every player on the lots was a Ruth.

    ------------------------------

    Organization is the fundamental of the drawing power of baseball. Take away organization and you take away the drawing power of baseball. Ruth will pass on, as Kelly and Anson passed on, yet Organized Baseball will continue to attract its millions. Take away organization and a million unorganized Ruths will not draw the big money they will draw as members of Organized Baseball.

    Then comes as part of organization, the good baseball city, the good team, the good park, a good press--the grand old ballyhoo.

    The people who invest money, who organize winning teams, who construct good parks, who have good relations with the public and with the press, the result of which is a favorable press, the great organized ballyhoo, contribute much to the drawing power of the individual player or of the teams.

    When I remember the days of Fielder Jones' White Sox, the amazing personal attractiveness and, popularity of Comiskey, the manner in which that personally made and held friends, the Woodland bands, organized rooting, I believe that Comiskey's labor contributed much to the drawing powers of the White Sox. But for Ed Walsh, the White Sox did not possess a single outstanding individual drawing card. As a winning team, they constituted a strong, collective drawing card. As individuals, as a team they played winning but unattractive baseball.

    ----------------------------

    The newspaper ballyhoo is of enormous importance. True, to draw, to create interest, to make ballyhooo possible, you must have (1) a winning team; (2) play an attractive style of baseball; (3) possess players who make good copy for the newspapers; (4) be fortunate enough to have with you baseball writers who are capable of putting on a good ballyhoo. A pleasant, commodious, clean, comfortable accessible park, has decided values in drawing power.

    What value would Ruth have in the small Cubs' park at Chicago, compared to the enormous value he possesses in the huge Yankee Stadium? One-half, I believe, because Wrigley Field can accommodate only one-half as many people as the Yankee Stadium.

    What is the value of the mere name New York as a drawing card? Considerable. That is a New York team will draw more people than a St. Louis, Detroit, Washington or Cincinnati team of equal standing and playing attractiveness. The words New York Cast have a distinct drawing value.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ruth certainly does draw large additional sums at the gate as a component part of a potential world's championship team, of a New York team, as the best "ballyhooed" man in the world. What percentage of Ruth's unquestionable drawing power are attributable to (1) Ruth himself; (2) a world's championship team; (3) New York Cast; (4) the ballyhoo; (5) good teams to play against; (6) good parks to play in?

    The fact that an attractive player, who does possess a drawing value of his own is a member of a New York team confers enormous drawing values upon him. The very name New York--the metropolis--has a distinct value. New York is the center of an enormous stable and floating population; of an amusement seeking population; such as no other city in the United States has. New York is the center of news distribution, of features, special stories, cartoons and all the rest of the ballyhoo.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The attractive player on a New York team gets the benefit of all this huge volume of publicity, of the enormous concentrated population, of the metropolitan district of the huge buying crowds, convention-attending crowds, of the crowds attracted by the general ballyhoo, which has attained infinitely greater volume in New York than anywhere else in the world. Surely, no one would claim that the ballplayer, individually, is entitled to cash in on these things

    If drawing capacity counted, Lou Gehrig would not get $5,000. a year, although Gehrig followed Ruth closely in home runs, hit in more runs than Ruth did, etc. I have seen 15,000 women out, free on ladies day, to see Ruth. At the time, Gehrig was leading Ruth in home runs. No one seemed to know that Gehrig was in the game that day. It was Ruth, or the ballyhoo about Ruth, the Abysmal Brute ballyhoo, the stories told about his Rabeinisan life, of his exploits d'amour, not Gehrig, who drew the crowds.

    Summing up, I'd say that the drawing power of Ruth is constituted thus:

    Personality and prowess (Ruth himself)..... 25%
    Prestige of a winning club in New York...... 30%
    Good stands, pleasant surrounding............10%
    Ballyhoo.......................................... ....35%
    ----------------------------------------100% total"


    Bill Burgess
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-12-2006 at 04:40 PM.

  20. #20
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    In 1931, George Sisler chose his all-time all-star team for Baseball Magazine.

    -------------------The Greatest Players I Ever Saw-------------------------------

    An All-Star Team of Baseball's Best Performers as They Appeared to the Keen Eye and Shrewd Judgment of a Veteran Who Was Himself, A Super-Star
    ------------------Comprising an Interview with GEORGE SISLER-------------
    ------------------Baseball Magazine, April, 1931, pp. 483, 484


    George Sisler in reminiscent mood, recently picked an all-star team of the greatest players he had ever seen. His views are interesting because Sisler was always a close, keen student of the game. And they carry weight because he was, himself, a member of that little group of super-stars who stood at the pinnacle of their profession.

    Modesty forbade Sisler to set forth any claims for himself as the star first baseman. But when we consider his amazing batting feats, his brilliant base-running, his kinship with the highest genius of the diamond is evident enough.

    Sisler said, "Hal Chase had passed his prime before I ever put on a major league uniform. He also spent his decline days in the National League. I saw Chase only in a game or two and was not particularly impressed with his work. No doubt he deserved his great reputation, but I should not feel competent to pass an opinion on any player unless I saw him perform before my own eyes.

    "Bill Terry, of the Giants, on the remarkable showing he made last year, stands out in my memory as the pick of all first basemen I have known. Terry's batting speaks for itself. He hit .401 and that failed to tell the story. Terry is a slashing line-drive hitter and the Polo Grounds doesn't favor his style a bit. Out-fielders lay for Terry and spoil many a safe hit for him.

    In the field Terry is fast and mechanically a great performer. There are a few minor defects about his work, but he seems to realize them and worked hard last season to overcome them. Undoubtedly he's the greatest first baseman in the game. (Author's note: By 1954, he had replaced Terry with Gehrig, on his all time team.)

    "At second base Lajoie was also passing when I broke in. I recall his beautifully graceful fielding and his forceful hitting. He had slowed up somewhat, however, and didn't seem to cover much ground. Unfortunately, I did not see him in his prime.

    "A number of fine second basemen have appeared. In recent years. Frank Frisch is one, although he has a tendency to fumble the ball, which mars his work, in my opinion. Hugh Critz is a brilliant fielder, though possibly somewhat overrated. He is particularly good on ground covering.

    "Hornsby has one or two weaknesses. He doesn't shine in going back after pop flies. But he has the best throw to first base that I ever saw. And he's also a good man on double plays. Hornsby was never a base-stealer, but he's really a great base-runner. His speed has never been recognized by the public, but he was phenomenally fast, in his prime. As a hitter, Hornsby stands out. He is doubtless the greatest hitter the National League has produced since the days of Hans Wagner, if not beyond.

    "I would rate Hornsby somewhat above Eddie Collins, with due respect to Collins' all round ability. Collins was a better base-stealer, but I wouldn't say that he was a better base-runner than Hornsby. Collins was also a clever fielder, though his work impressed me as somewhat erratic. And he was, of course, a good hitter. But Hornsby's long range hitting far excelled anything that Collins ever showed, and I would prefer him on all round form at second base."

    My selection of shortstop may appear odd to some people, for I think Glenn Wright is the best shortstop I ever saw. He always did impress me favorably. The only other shortstop I'd rank in his class is Travis Jackson and I think Wright was the better of the two. In his prime he had the greatest throwing arm I ever saw. He covered all kinds of ground and he was a much better hitter than people think. He was a hard hitter and he showed to advantage in the pinch. In fact, he was just the kind of player you want, a fellow who does his best work when you need it.

    "There were a number of famous shortstops in the American League, Deacon Scott perhaps the most so. Scott had a sure throw to first base, but he was a weak hitter and didn't cover the ground that some shortstops do. Wright is my pick for the position.

    "At third base I have never seen a player who equaled Pie Traynor, of Pittsburgh. And I do not believe that his superior ever lived. Pie has everything, a rangy build, a great throwing arm, a sure pair of hands, a baseball sense and much more than average ability at bat. In fact, he is a long, dangerous hitter. Pie wasn't so good last season because of defective eyesight and other troubles. Lindstrom had a better year. And Lindstrom is a great third baseman, also, though I wouldn't rank him quite in Traynor's class.

    "In the outfield Babe Ruth belongs on any man's team. Babe is doubtless the most dangerous slugger that ever lived. And that would insure him a position in the outfield, where batting punch is so important. But that doesn't express Babe's talents. He's really a great outfielder, one of the greatest. He plays batters correctly, covers a lot more ground than you'd think he'd be able to do with his bulk, and has one of the deadliest throwing arms ever known. Besides, Babe has an accurate baseball judgment and never throws to the wrong base.

    "Tris Speaker belongs on an all-star outfield. Speaker was a wonderful hitter, a good base-runner and a marvelous fielder. There seems a general impression that he was the greatest fielder who ever lived. Perhaps he was. He was certainly one of the best. And his all round ability makes him a second choice.

    "For third place you simply must make room for Ty Cobb. Ty was the most brilliant ballplayer baseball has produced, the most daring, the most spectacular. Ty was poison on the base-paths. He completely disrupted infield defense. At bat he always mixed mechanical ability with brains. He had the most versatile batting attack on record. I have publicly said many times that Ty was my own batting model, and he was. I tried to learn place hitting by watching him. No one that I ever heard of taught Ty how to bat. But dozens of players owe a good deal of their batting success to Ty's teaching.

    "In the outfield Ty was not supposed to be a star, but he always impressed me favorably.

    He was fast and could cover acres of ground. He certainly knew how to judge opposing batters as well as anyone ever did.

    "But Ty's extraordinary batting and base-running threw his fielding into the shade. This didn't mean he wasn't a great outfielder. It meant that he was an even greater batter and base-runner.

    "On the hurling mound Walter Johnson, in his prime, is my choice. Unfortunately, I saw Grover Alexander only a few times. I can see how he might well have been preferred, even to Johnson. He had greater all round talents, though he lacked Johnson's blinding speed. In sheer mechanical ability, I doubt if Johnson ever had an equal.

    "You need more than one pitcher, however, and I'd make a place for Dazzy Vance. Vance has received a good deal of publicity from time to time. But at that I doubt if his ability has been as widely recognized as it deserves. Vance, at his best, had nearly as much sheer stuff as Walter Johnson. And he had a far better curve than Johnson ever knew. Vance's overhand curve, thrown with the full sweep of his powerful arm, is a terrifying object. I do not doubt for a moment that it breaks as much as three feet. It comes at you like a bullet, with a terrific down sweep. I do not believe Vance's overhand curve has ever been equaled.

    "Behind the plate I have vivid recollections of Ray Schalk, a great catcher. In fighting spirit, in generalship, in ability to handle pitchers, he was a marvelous performer. At bat, however, Schalk was not impressive.

    "Beyond a doubt, Gordon Cochrane, of the Athletics, is the greatest catcher I ever saw. Cochrane has fully as much fight as Schalk and just as much confidence in handling pitchers. Schalk was nimble and active. But I'd say Cochrane was even faster. And Cochrane is what Schalk never was, a great hitter.

    "They talk a great deal about Lefty Grove, Al Simmons and others, but Cochrane is the spark plug of the World's Champions." (Baseball Magazine, April, 1931, pp. 483-484, The Greatest Players I Ever Saw, Comprising an Interview with George Sisler)
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-13-2005 at 10:52 AM.

  21. #21
    Bill, I like the article by Sheridan on fielding.

    There is nothing really new in this article from a 1904 "Americana"(encyclopedia) But it may be of interest..

    Baseball, a popular sport in the u.s. of such general interest as to be known as the National game. It had its origin in the old English game of rounders but developed on American soil into a very different sport. In Philly an early form was played under the name of town ball and a similar game was known in upper Canada as early as 1838. It was in the neighborhood of New York, however that basball received its greatest development,regularly organzied clubs contesting in the Elysian Fields at what is now the site of the city of Hoboken N>J> as early as 1845. It was not until 1857 however that the first baseball convention was held for the purpose of framing uniform rules out of the various methods of each district and club and in the following May the first National Baseball Association was organized. The first real series of games played beytween organized clubs was that between teams picked from the various clubs of New York and Brooklyn on the old Fashion Racecourse at Flushing L.I in 1858, the first authorized code of rules being formulated and published for their direction. From the present view piont these rules were crude. For instance, the regulation ball weight 6and a quarter ounces and measurexd ten and a half inches in circumference. It was a lively ball being made with 2 and a half ounces of rubber covered with yarn and leather. The bat was unlimited as to length but was decreed not to exceed two and a quarter inches in diameter. In the delivery of the ball there was a greater difference than in any other respect as compared with the later development of the game: for the ball could only be pitched: all throws and jerks being prohibited. The pitcher was at liberty to take any number of steps before delivery and his limit was anywhere behind a line twelve feet across and 45 feet from the home base. Then,too, he could pitch his ball almost with no limitation so long as he pitched as near as possible to the home base. As then played, none but amateurs participatied. indeed no one could represent his club unlesss he had been a member for 30 days and money,place or emolument was a bar. Games were orginially played on free grounds, but on the establishment of the Union Ball Ground and the Capitoline Club of Brooklyn in 1863, the admission money went to the proprietor, the players later have a share and thus was laid the foundation of professional play. So matters drifted for six years with a gradual tendency to greater restrictions in rules, greater skill in play and more and more professionalism until 1869, when for the first time a salaried team the Red Stockings of Cincinnati began a tour of games and naturally carried everytbing before them. Through 1869 and up to June of 1870 they played without losing a single game. The delivery of the pitcher had been gradually developing. As early as 1860 the disguised underhand throw had come into vogue and by 1866 Arthur Cummings of the Esxcelsior Junior nine introduced a curved delivery.With the advent of the swifter playing professional and the reduced size and weight of the ball,came into necessity the various safeguards of padded gloves,cathers mitts,breast pads and masks.
    By 1871, the game had become so extensive and the professioanl element so popular that a National Association of Professional Baseball Players was formed and in 1875 the various club owners took control of the professional players and organized The National League of Professional Ball Clubs which continued in undispouted possession of the professional field until 1890 when a rival association The American League was founded. Tharer are several other leagues of minor importance. Baseball naturally found favor in American universities and colleges but its technique in the early days was crude, even among the best teams. Team play as now interpretred was almost unknown. As late as 1867, when two college nines made respectively 13 and 8 it was considered a phenomenon. As late as the mid sixties socores of 50 runs were not uncommon.

    It then goes on and explains how the rules work in 1904 and adds that it has become quite popular in Australia.

    Nothing real earth shattering but the encyclopedia version sort of pulls things together. It took a whole page which is a clue as to how popular the game was becoming.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gee, it would be nice if I used paragraphs wouldn't it?
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-06-2005 at 04:53 PM.

  22. #22
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    Hi Bill:

    I'm new to Baseball Fever. As an avid "baseball historian" - or, at least that's how I think of myself - I just want to thank you for posting theses great articles! I absolutely love to read about the old days. These articles were a treasure trove of information. I hope you're considering posting some more. For me, "the older the better," although my favorite period right now is the dead ball era.

    Thanks again,
    Gary

  23. #23
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    1
    ------------------------------ The Twenty-Five Greatest Players

    ------------------------Here's a Careful, Critical Analysis of an Interesting Subject
    -----------------------------------by One of Baseball's Veteran Scribes

    --------------------------------------by William Blythe Hanna
    --------------------------------------Baseball Magazine, June, 1924, pp. 300-301

    Naming the greatest or best, whichever adjective is the more fitting, twenty-five baseball players is a more difficult task than naming the greatest fifty. There are enough to go around in naming fifty, whereas in naming twenty-five the question constantly arises, who can I leave out? The list is a harder one to prune than to enlarge. But twenty-five is a much better number, a much better limit, if the selection is to have that choice quality which makes such a list distinctive. A roster of this sort loses its distinction, its its selectness, in proportion to its length. One could, of course, name what he considered the greatest ten baseball players, but in such a case he would have to leave out many who belong in a select circle of this character.

    (garbled) forty years observation of professional baseball, of which more than thirty have been spent in writing the game. The list he selects covers almost forty years and takes in several eras of professional baseball.

    There were as good baseball players forty years ago as now--Curtis Welch of the old ST. Louis Browns by way of convincing instance --and as good baseball players now as then--Frisch, Cobb, Sisler, Hornsby, Ruth and Speaker--by way of illustrious example. These men were or are all so eminent, so skilled and versatile, as to be preeminent; and I don't think of any masters in any other line or sport who have been more so.

    I often wonder if the thousands who attend professional baseball are fully appreciative of the fine balance of quick, keen mental and bodily adeptness that the great baseball players represent; and in that connection this seems a good time to say that the flippant and heedless use of "bone head" with regard to ball players often is utterly unfair and positively is overdone. The contemptuous frequency with which it is used bespeaks baseball ignorance on the part of the user.

    Alphabetically the greatest twenty-five, in the writer's opinion, are:

    Anson, E. Collins, J. Collins, F. Clarke, Cobb, Comiskey, E. Delahanty, Ewing, Chas. Ferguson, Frisch, Hornsby, Walter Johnson, Keeler, Lange Lajoie, McGraw, Mathewson, Ruth, Radbourne, Sisler, Speaker, Wagner, C. Welch, Cy Young.

    The term "great" in this article is used in a rather broad and comprehensive sense. To illustrate, Adrian C. Anson was greater as a man than as a ball player pure and simple. His was a rugged striking personality, his moral influence was extensive and lives after him, and was a strong, vivid figure in the game's growth and of the good of the game. In a playing way Anse was best as a batter.

    There have been many better fielding first basemen. Charles Comiskey was one of these. Commy, the guiding genius of one of the most efficient and picturesque baseball units of all time, the original St. Louis Browns, was not the hitter Anson was, but he was a pioneer and creator in modern first base play. He was the first to develop its fielding possibilities to play the bag deep--and, like Anson, he was a leader. He and Anse were great leaders because they handled and lead bands not only of players of unusual ability as players but of conflicting natures that only a strong man could hold them together and get the best out of them as a team.

    The most brilliant first baseman the game ever had is not in my list, but certain occurrences in his big league career which preclude the possibility of listing him among the great are too well known to be mentioned here.

    One of the most distasteful things the writer experienced in framing his list was to leave John Evers off of it, but if there were such a thing as naming a first understudy to Eddie Collins, and Napoleon Lajoie and Frank Frisch at second base his choice would be Evers. As a smart ball player and student of the game, and in the possession of that requisite for greatness, love of playing, Evers is as great as any of them.

    Collins, Lajoie and Frisch are all better batter and more steadily brilliant as fielders. All three, to my way thinking, play the base better and make more out of it than did Dunlap or Pfeffer. I never saw Ross Barnes play, so don't know how they compare with them.

    Second basemen are right frequent on the forgoing list, and among them is Rogers Hornsby. Hornsby is a better fielding second baseman than many people think--he makes no fuss and no fancy motions. He is a wonderful batter and a very fast man running bases. He is too valuable and too big a menace to any opposing pitcher to be left out of the charmed circle.

    We have outfielders Fred Clarke, Bill Lange, Billy Keeler, Tris Speaker, Babe Ruth, Curt Welch, Ed Delahanty and Ty Cobb, a rare array indeed. Clarke, Lange, Keeler, Welch and Delahanty are of a past age. Clarke is the only left fielder in the lot, though Joe Kelly pressed him close, and great outfielders have been so numerous and so capable that Harry Stovey, Jim Ryan, Ed Roush, Pep Young, Elmer Flick, Max Carey, Jimmy Fogarty, Jim McAleer, Zack Wheat, Chick Stahl, Hugh Duffy, and Dickey Johnston could be pressed into service without detracting any from the class of the company.

    The outfielders of the original list could do all tings well. Charles Comiskey once told the writer that Welch could do anything fully as well as Speaker can do it. He could go back further for a fl ball than any outfielder I ever saw except McAleer, could throw like Bob Meusel or Jimmy Ryan, was a brilliant hitter and base runner, only Speaker outdid him at coming in, and he was first class on ground balls.

    Keeler's claim to greatness included his skill at bunting and at place hitting. Moreover, he cold throw and bat and run and seize flies, and was one of the fastest men to first base in the history of the game. McGraw thinks he got away from the plate faster than anybody. Like most of the old Orioles, he was trained to do things when they counted most--he was, in brief, a money player.

    At the Polo Grounds once I saw Delahanty, then directing the playing of the Phillies, order a dangerous batter passed (it may have been George Van Haltren or Mike Tiernan) and a run forced in. There was only one out in the ninth, the bases, of course, were filled: and the Phillies were ahead by a tally or two. The next man hit into a double play, and that is what Delahanty had in mind when he ordered the batter passed.

    It wasn't orthodox as the game usually is played. These days you would hear more about how suicidal it would be to put the winning run on such and such a base, but in this particular instance a hit by the weaker batter wouldn't have been much more damaging than one by the passed batter. In any event, Delahanty was more than a slugger. He knew the game, he was bold and independent, and he was one of its very greatest batters.

    Fred Clarke was an aggressive fighter, a brilliant fielder, a successful and capable manager and always a first class batter, real fast to first base. His gait was peculiar. He swing his arms in front of him when running. Like Cobb, he asserted to the full his right of way on the base paths.

    Bill Lange covered as much ground as Speaker and was a sure catch and fine thrower. As a base runner only Cobb excelled him. He was an adept at getting a start on the pitcher. He wouldn't steal as many bases now. But the game, with the lively ball, is played differently, but even now he'd shine as a base runner. Six footer though he was, he was one of the cleverest slides in the game.

    Ruth, Speaker and Cobb, first magnitude stars, are players with whose accomplishments the baseball world is familiar. I remember when opinion was divided as to whether Wagner or Lajoie was the greatest ball player of all time. Then Cobb happened along, and he held that position in popular opinion. Then Ruth.

    Ruth is great because he is the most sensational batter of all time, the hardest hitter. the Babe is spectacular in everything, an operative of more than ordinary ability outside of his bating, a hustler and fighter and astute player, full of magnetism, the most sensational player of all time and the biggest card. He draw $52,000 a year, half of which according to his contract, can be withheld if he doesn't behave himself: and he is worth all of the $52,000.

    Mike Kelly, unique sui generis, was an outfielder and catcher. Not only was he fist class in the physical requirements of he game but he was tricky, keen, full of pranks and personality, a tremendous favorite and with a bigger following than any player before or since except Ruth.

    Kelly was versatile but not as much so as Charlie Ferguson, who did his ball playing in Philadelphia. Ferguson belongs in the "twenty-five" because he was the game's best all around player. There have been men who could look after as many positions, but none who could play them all so well. Ferguson was a good (garbled) regular of any ball club of the present; he was a good second baseman, not just a fill-er-in, but good: he could play the outfield well enough to make the absence of the regular no handicap, and he was a first class batter. There hasn't been an all around man since his day to equal him.

    Eddie Collins is the best second baseman: Jimmy Collins, I think, was still greater as a third baseman. There has been but one Jimmy Collins--graceful, fast, easy, deft: a first class hitter, sure and quick fielder to the right or left, a thrower whose work stood out even in a position where fine throwers have been numerous, as witness Harry Steinfelft, Heinie Zimmerman, Harry Lord, Billy Nash, Jim Davis, Milt Whitehead, Pie Traynor, Bill Coughlin, Jimmy Dykes, Rube Lutzke, Larry Gardner and Joe Dugan.

    Collins, McGraw and Dugan excelled at coming in fast and playing a bunt with one hand. Collins had other qualities of greatness. He was an earnest, determined and uphill fighter who knew how to put morale into his men, a clean, hard fighter. McGraw, the game's most successful manager, has had a non-playing career which, perhaps, obscures the exceptional ability has has as a player.

    McGraw wasn't as stylish a fielder as some third basemen, but nevertheless he had good form. He was a winning element on the field, as well as on the bench. No nimbler or more far-seeing brain ever went on the field. He was a smart base runner, and with him batting was a science. As a batter he was in the .300 class, and for his inches he hit a ball as hard as any player that ever lived. He had the knack of meeting a pitched ball and of following through. He knew the value of the follow through before "follow through" became a shibboleth.

    McGraw was an originator and knew all the fine points there were to know. He was as expert at tagging a runner and at playing a ball with one hand and saving time by getting it away with an underhand throw. Sisler and Frisch are natural born great players. They are all class. Their work speaks for itself.

    Hans Wagner, with his long arms and big hands which could scoop up a ground ball other men couldn't reach without bending twice as far, was another of those players unique in their way. There's been no duplicate. Massive, fast, agile as an ape and of heroic mould, there's been no other like him. In his day he was on the pinnacle of greatness, and he was there a long time. The length of his service helped to prove his place.

    No other player could have made a play he made against the Giants once in Pittsburgh, no other not built like him. With a man on first, he came up with a grounder and started to throw to second for a forceout. Then he saw he couldn't get the man at second, so with no apparent (garbled).

    Buck Ewing, more than any other catcher, combined the four cardinal qualities of physical greatness as a backstop. He was A1 as a batter, fielder, base runner and in head work. If you'll think over the other catchers you will find few, if any, who had all of these virtues. Roger Breshanan came nearest, or Wally Schang, or Wilbert Robinson. They were faster afoot than most catchers. A number of receivers could hit and catch and throw as well as Ewing, possibly.

    Bennett was great as a backstop. So were Johnny Kling, Lou Criger, Martin Bergen, Jimmy Archer, Billy Sullivan and Bill Killefer, and Doc Bushong. So are Schalk, O'Neill, Severeid, Bassler and O'Farrell, the last named one of the best of the day for all around excellence. None has made the intaglio-like impress of Ewing.

    We have four pitchers on our list: Mathewson, Radbourne, Johnson and Young. All proved their sterling quality by long service. That isn't all. Not alone in pitching skill were they great. They were a credit to the game as men. Their long reigns and their long strings of victories, proof enough of their ability to pitch, and too prominently identified with the national game's history for any of them to be denied a place among the greatest twenty-five.

    Thus we find engraved on the scroll the names of three first basemen, Anson, Comiskey, Sisler; four second basemen, Lajoie, Frisch, Collins and Hornsby; one shortstop, Wagner; two third basemen, Collins and McGraw; eight outfielders, Clarke, Cobb, Delahanty, Keeler, Lange, Ruth, Speaker and Welch; four pitchers, Mathewson, Johnson, Radbourne and Young; two catchers, Ewing and Kelly; one all around man, chiefly a pitcher, Ferguson. eight of the twenty-five are still active players in the game.
    (Baseball Magazine, June, 1924, pp. 300, 301)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Author's Note on William Blythe Hanna):

    As a sports writer, he was much admired for his beautiful vocabulary, and beautiful writing style. Wrote sports for 46 yrs., 1884-1930.

    William Blythe Hanna
    Born: June, 1866, Plattsmouth, Cass County, Nebraska
    Died: November 20, 1930, Newfoundland, NJ, age, 64

    Graduated: Lafayette College, Easton, PA (1878);

    Kansas City Star (MO), sports writer, 1884-1888;
    Arrived NYC (1888), NY Herald, NY Press (1893), NY Sun (1900-1916), NY Herald (1916-1924), Herald-Tribune (1924 - May,1930, death);

    Acknowledged expert on baseball, football & billiards.

    Father: Thomas King Hanna (born Kentucky about 1829), Dry goods store;
    Mother: Judith Joyce Venable, born Indiana about 1836;
    Bill was born in Nebraska, but family had relocated to Kansas City, MO by 1870. Was 6th child.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-24-2005 at 04:18 PM.

  24. #24
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    Thanks Bill for another great article!

    "The most brilliant first baseman the game ever had is not in my list, but certain occurrences in his big league career which preclude the possibility of listing him among the great are too well known to be mentioned here."

    Who do you think he was referring to here? Hal Chase?

    By the way, I really enjoyed that interview with Chick Gandil talking about the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. What a great article! I thought the whole article had a ring of truth to it, as he freely admitted his guilt, and said he deserved what he got, etc. So when he says that by the time the games were played, they had all basically "chickened out" of actually throwing the games, and were really playing to win, I tend to believe him. What do you think?
    Best,
    Gary
    Thanks, Gary. There is no doubt he was referring to Hal Chase. I have no idea how much truth there was in Chick Gandil's account. He had Arnold Rothstein actively in the hotel! I just have no clue. But I showed it because it was so intriguingly provocative.

    I have a few more which will be posted today and tomorrow. Stay tuned.

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-07-2005 at 06:23 AM.

  25. #25
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    1
    --------------------What the Baseball Records Mean to the Player
    The Public Rates a Ball Player Upon His Batting Average and Upon Brilliant Fielding Player, Both are Inaccurate and Deceptive, The Players Realize This and are Inclined to Protest, but Few of Them Can Suggest Improvements

    -------------------------From an Interview with William Kamm----------------------
    -------------------------(Baseball Magazine, February, 1928, pp. 387, 388)


    "The breaks decide" is a common saying among ball players, and that is true very often of a game or even a series. No doubt pennants have been won in a close race by the breaks, the element of luck that no one can forsee or prevent. Certainly the breaks are of the utmost importance in winning or losing ball games. But when you come to discuss a player's reputation, his general standing with the writers and the public, I would say that the dope decides. After all, it is the dope which separates good players from those who are just fair, and in particular, the dope decides who shall be known as baseball's stars.

    Why is Ty Cobb called the greatest player who ever lived? There are a number of answers. His grand batting average is better than that of any other player. He hit over .300 for twenty-two years, a record. He made over four thousand hits. These and similar items of statistics come readily to any fan who is discussing the game's best. But such figures are plain dope. Was Cobb a better hitter than Joe Jackson? He himself has admitted that Rogers Hornsby was the greatest hitter he ever saw. Was Cobb a better player, say than Tris Speaker? What is the foundation of Cobb's great reputation? It's the dope.

    I'm not offering any criticism of dope. I understand too well the value of dope to the ball player. It's really his stock in trade, the gauge of his ability. The public has eyes for the .300 hitter when it will virtually ignore the .290 hitter. Certain artificial standards have grown up in baseball. They are all drawn from the accepted dope. They have a value, but after all, rating players on the dope is a good deal like measuring brains by the circumference of a man's skull. Dope is an indication, but it's not necessarily proof.

    The particular averages that baseball players prize the most are batting averages. When the weekly figures come out during the season, you'll find most of the players in the hotel lobby scanning the column to see what they're hitting. And literally millions of other people are scanning those columns. I doubt if there is any one thing printed in the papers during the summer time that attracts such widespread attention as the batting averages of Big League ball players.

    But just what do the batting averages tell the reader? Something, to be sure, but how much? Batting averages are not only the most popular of baseball statistics, but I believe they're the most accurate. And still they're only half accurate, at best. To a considerable extent they are the sport of circumstance. They give a crude idea of a player's ability with the stick at the precise moment when they are issued. But they are, for all that, colored by other considerations than batting eye or timeliness of swing.

    Take the one factor of ball parks, for instance. In some ball parks a right field hitter would get most of the breaks. Such parks might not help a left field hitter a particle. They might even be a handicap to a straightaway hitter. But the batting average don't say anything about that. Not that the situation isn't pretty well understood by the baseball public. They know that the shape and size of the ball park has a considerable influence on the batting of certain ball players. They also know that other players far from being helped, are handicapped by the same conditions. But who will undertake to say how many batting points a particular park will add to one player's average or subtract from another player's average?

    The condition of the infields in various parks is also a factor to be reckoned with. Some infields are as hard as a brick. The ball is much more apt to break through the inner defense at such parks than at certain other parks. A hard line hitter is a good deal more apt to come through with a single on certain fields than he is on other fields, simply because the nature of the infield is suited to his particular style of batting. Such an infield might be a positive detriment to the fleet runner who beats out infield hits. Such an infield would not help the fellow whose average drive is a long belt to the outfield. But what expert goes through the records with a fine toothed comb and decides how many points he should allow on some batter's average for a particularly favorable infield?

    Even the climate has some influence on batting. At Salt Lake City slugging records, due to the altitude, the light air and a variety of other factors, became something of a joke. At Chicago where I have played for several years, the strong lake wind which blows usually from one direction, is a thing to be treated with respect by a lot of hitters. Veteran players have told me that their averages suffered thirty points or more because of this peculiar condition at Chicago.

    A batter's position in the line-up colors his average considerably. Everyone knows that the lead-off man suffers somewhat from his position. He can't always hit, because he is expected to wait the pitcher out. The second man in the line-up is also handicapped. He is supposed to sacrifice. Hazen Cuyler complained, I understand, because he was called upon to bat in the two-hole. There is no doubt that batting in that position would cut down the average player's mark a number of points. But just what credit do the league statistics give the fellow who led off the batting list or hit in the two-hole?

    Batting averages are open to even graver criticism than any I have hinted at. For one thing, they fail to take into consideration the length of a hit. I am aware that a player gets a certain credit for total bases. Of late years there has also been a disposition to figure out a slugging average which would rate players according to the force, as well as the frequency of their hits. But the time honored old system of dividing number of hits by times at bat is still the prevailing one.

    It is this system which determines the .300 hitter. But what, after all, does that tell you about a batter's ability? If he made twenty homers and forty-five two-baggers, how would you contrast him with a fellow who, say, made two homers and eighteen two-baggers? It would not take the opposing pitcher long to size up those two batters, even though they both hit for exactly the same average. Nor would it cause the rival managers much study to decide which of the two was the better hitter. But records are silent on that point.

    Babe Ruth, this year, hit around .350. [.356]That is a good average. But there were a number of other fellows who hit around .350. [5 hit above Ruth in AL that yr. 1. Heilmann, .398, Simmons, .392, Gehrig, .373, Fothergill, .359, Cobb, .357] There were several who hit far above that figure. Were they better hitters than Babe Ruth? You would get a laugh anywhere if you claimed any such absurdity. But the batting averages do that very thing and get away with it.

    And here again any attempt to rate slugging averages, though a step in the right direction, would bring you face to face with fresh difficulties. Certain ball parks unquestionably favor the sluggers. Where would justice draw the line between a pop fly that just floated over the fence, beyond the reach of the waiting outfielder, and a solid smash that would be good for four sacks on an open field?

    Personally I have always felt that a base on balls should be recognized in batting averages. It is now, but in a purely negative way. A player gets a certain amount of credit for the number of passes given him during a season. But these passes do not help to fatten his batting average any. They should, in simple justice, for a batter is passed usually either because the pitcher fears him, is which case he has won his transportation to first, by his acknowledged batting ability, or else he is crafty enough and has a keen enough batting eye to wait the pitcher out, in which case he has certainly earned his base.

    Firmly as I am convinced, however, that passes should figure in a batting average, I would be at a loss to explain how. They are not hits. Are they half as valuable as hits? Just what value would you assign to a base on balls? Who know? I'm sure I don't.

    There is another conspicuous weakness in batting averages. The batter who advances the runner get no particular credit, unless he drives that runner home. Even there that credit does not affect his own batting average any. A certain negative credit is given him for a sacrifice, but a sacrifice does not help a batter's average. It merely doesn't work against that average.

    A batter may be retired himself, but at the same time advance one or two runners, perhaps drive home a winning run. You'd never know this from looking at his average. Take a good hit and run player. Even when such a player fails to come through, he will generally advance the runner or runners, though he is thrown out himself. He batting was really important, in some cases decisively so, but he gets no credit. Is this fair to him?

    Give me the names of two players I never saw before. Tell me that one fellow hit .310 and the other .290. Ask me which is the better hitter and I would say, "I don't know." Aren't the records there? Surely .310 is better than .290. Is it? Who knows? The .290 hitter might be, for all practical purposes, far the better hitter of the two. Everybody who ever saw a ball game knows that. And yet the dope decides. The .310 hitter would outrank the .290 man with nine-nine out of one hundred.

    Whatever you can say against batting averages, and you can say plenty, goes double when you discuss fielding averages. Fielding averages are so notoriously unfair that few people pay any attention to them at all. Ball players, among themselves, never even discuss fielding averages. Why should they? They unusually mean nothing, because if you follow them literally, you are pretty sure to go astray in your estimates.

    The system of rating fielding averages, as everyone knows, is to divide the chances accepted by the total chances offered. The errors that a player makes are the black marks against his record which bring down his average. Take third Base, for example. That is my position and I know more about third base than any other position on the field. Pick out of a hat the names of two Minor Leaguers that I never heard of. Tell me both are third baseman, that one of them fielded .960 and the other .930. Ask me to pass judgment upon their respective class As a fielders. Could I do it? Could anyone else do it? It is perfectly possible in any league for a second baseman, say, to field 1.000 and be fired for incompetence. If he stands in his tracks, handles only easy chances and keeps his mind on his record, he may go on from day to day, as long as the manager tolerates his presence in the line-up, without ever making an error.

    There are not a few outfielders every year who have a fielding average of 1.000. That is, they have accomplished their work without an error. Are they the best outfielders in the game? You can give odds of one hundred to one that they are not. The best outfielders in the game never have a perfect fielding average. Very often you will find their names rather well down toward the bottom of the list.

    The system of reckoning fielding averages is so unjust that a number of other systems have been suggested. The number of chances accepted is perhaps a better gauge of a player's ability than the present fielding average. But even that is open to grave criticism. The underlying theory seems plausible enough. A hustling player who covers a lot of ground will handle more chances, other things being equal, than a fellow who doesn't. But how can you be certain that other things are equal?

    The type of pitching makes a profound difference to a fielder's chances. When Thurston wore a White Sox uniform and toed the slab for us, I might get seven or eight chances in a single game. Thurston depended very largely upon the screw ball and the batters naturally pounded that towards third. When Al Thomas is on the slab with his fast ball, I'm lucky to get one or two chances in a game. Batters connecting with the fast ball generally drive it to the outfield or through the box. They seldom pull it to third base.

    Over a period of years it might very well follow that a fielder's ability could be determined roughly by the number of chances he handled. But there would be grave inequalities along the line and the final summing up would be far from exact.

    I have even heard it suggested that a fielder should be rated on the number of difficult or brilliant plays he makes. I think the crowd is inclined to rate him that way. They see a fellow pull a phenomenal play one day and perhaps toward the end of the week they see him pull another. They are convinced that he is a great fielder. They talk about him and the impression gains ground that he is an uncommon fielder. But such plays, however they may thrill the spectators, are very misleading. More often than not a difficult play was really the result of bad judgment. The fielder either neglected to play the batter properly or he misjudged the ball.

    The underlying principle is much the same as in championship billiard matches. A great billiard player will run off a long string of easy shots with monotonous regularity. Once in a while he'll make a difficult shot. But even a mediocre player can do that, once in a while. What the great player did was to assure himself a lot of easy shots, because he played the game as it should be played.

    A great fielder will generally do the same. He may not have a particularly difficult chance to handle throughout a whole series. Some other player of far less ability, covering the same position, may have three or four difficult plays. And yet his work may be ragged and inefficient in contrast with the player who knew his job, who played his batters properly and who by his superior generalship, avoided the necessity of risking difficult plays.

    Personally, I would say, without hesitation, that an indifferent fielder would make more brilliant plays in a season, that looked good to the stands, than a capable fielder.

    Besides, there are certain tricks in the trade which wise fielders understand. Baseball has become an acknowledged show business. The player must advance himself and he often does by playing to the galleries. When he knows he has a play well in hand, he may start a little late, take a spurt at the finish and make an easy play really look hard. A certain amount of speed and flashy effort will make one player look like a million dollars in contrast with another fielder as good, who does his work in a more methodical, less spectacular way.

    Sometime ago was discussing averages with a man of long experience. He gave his advice with a good deal of conviction. "Let the manager decide," was his vote. "The manager knows his own players better than anyone else. He knows which are the valuable players, what fellows are underrated and those who are inclined to be overrated. His judgment should rule."

    There's no fault with his logic, so far as it goes. But I'm afraid in practice such a system would not go very far. In the first place the manager is handicapped at the outset. He can't really tell all he knows. It wouldn't be fair to his men, if he did so. Besides, managers are human. They can make mistakes. Some of the greatest players who ever lived have been passed up by wise managers. No doubt managers aim to be fair, but they can't wholly get away from preferences and bias any more than other people. Managers occasionally get down on a player. Besides, managers see the faults in their own men a little too clearly and are inclined to magnify the good points of players on other clubs that they do not know so well. It's the old case of distant pastures looking the greenest. Many a manager has traded a player because he has certain faults for a player on another club who had far more serious faults that he knew nothing about.

    What can be done for fielding averages? I have no definite suggestions to offer. But I imagine that an improved system, if there ever is any such system, will be a combination of several things. It isn't just to rate a fellow on the errors he makes. It isn't just to rate him wholly upon the number of chances he accepts. But if you tell me that an unknown third baseman in a league that I never saw had fewer errors than any of his fellow third basemen, and at the same time handled more chances, I'd say, without knowing any more about him, that he was a good fielder.
    (Baseball Magazine, February, 1928, pp. 387, 388)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note on Willie Kamm.

    Born: February 2, 1900, San Francisco, CA
    Died: December 21, 1988, Belmont, CA

    5'10 1/2", 170 lbs. B/R, /T/R

    AL 3B:
    White Sox, 1923 to May, 1931
    Indians, 1931 1935.

    Willie Kamm's Baseball Reference

    Hit .308 in 1928. Known as sharp glove. career BA .281. 1,692 games, 1,643 hits, 347 doubles, 85 triples, 29 HRs, 802 Runs, 826 RBIs, 126 SB, single until 1955, died of Parkinson's disease.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GaryL expresses his appreciation.

    Thanks Bill

    I thought it was a great article and really enjoyed it! Sounds like he was a pretty intelligent guy. I remember reading a chapter about him in the wonderful book The Glory of Their Times. I tend to agree with his overall thrust - that batting average and fielding percentage are overrated as an indicator of a player's ability. I'm sure he would have been pleased, as I am, with the OBP as a better gauge of a player's offensive contribution, where walks are positively rewarded.

    I wouldn't make too much about that line about 1.000 fielding percentages. I think he was just referrring to the fact that there are always a few guys who don't make many errors during the season but it's common knoweldge that they really aren't very good fielders. I think he just exaggerated a bit for effect. These guys don't have much range and don't get to many balls. For years here in Chicago that was the rap on Ryne Sandberg - high fielding percentage, but not a lot of range, especially in his later years, so he wasn't as good as the stats might indicate. That was one of the things Joe Morgan used to criticize him about, plus the fact that he hardly ever dove for balls.

    Thanks again - and keep the great articles comming!
    Best,
    Gary
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-25-2007 at 08:24 PM.

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