More Deane Gems from '03


Jack Morris

        More than one SABR-L poster has recently described Jack Morris as the dominant pitcher of the 1980s.  Unless you are looking strictly at win
totals, there is no basis for that description.

        Others have already made the statistical arguments.  Pete Ridges noted that Morris's ERA and team runs scored project to a 230-210 record,
instead of the 254-186 he wound up with.  Some will offer this as evidence of Jack's "clutch pitching," but I think that Pete Palmer's work (see "Do
Clutch Pitchers Exist" in the Spring 1985 NATIONAL PASTIME) has proven that such a result is due to random chance.

        Incidentally, as I've said before, Morris's career record is the sum of Ron Guidry's (170-91) and Jim Deshaies's (84-95).  And, if Jack were to
make it to Cooperstown, he would become the only Hall of Fame pitcher who NEVER had an ERA under three.

        The real measure of dominance, I think, would be found in Cy Young Award voting.  But Morris never finished higher than a distant third in the
balloting. He earned a lifetime total of 0.74 Cy Young Award shares, which places him behind the likes of LaMarr Hoyt.

        Some have remarked on the dearth of good starting pitchers who debuted in the late 1970s and early '80s.  I think a factor in that
phenomena was the escalating salaries of that period.  Prior to that time, the very best pitchers might earn a million dollars in their entire careers;
by 1980 Nolan Ryan was making a million a year.  Pitchers in their mid-30s, who normally might have hung up their toe-plates, had new incentive to stay in condition -- why not go the extra yard and make a decade's worth of salary in a year?  So the Ryans and Niekros and Suttons and Kaats and Johns pitched well into their 40s, keeping prospects on the farm.


Fay Vincent

        Bill Kirwin asked how to write to former commissioner Vincent.  As far as I know, Francis "Fay" Vincent still sits on the Hall of Fame's Board
of Directors, and can be written to in care of the Hall at P.O. Box 590,Cooperstown, NY 13326.


BJ Ryan's pitchless win

      As reported here last week, on May 1, 2003, Baltimore pitcher B. J. Ryan got credit for a win without throwing a pitch.  He entered the game
with two out in the seventh inning, Baltimore losing 2-1, and Detroit rookie Omar Infante taking a big lead off first base.  Ryan promptly threw over to
first, and Infante was caught trying to advance to second, ending the inning.  The O's scored three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 4-2
lead, then Buddy Groom took over Baltimore's pitching chores.  The Orioles held on to win, and Ryan was properly credited with the pitching victory -
even though he hadn't pitched.

        This helped exhume the oft-told story that Nick Altrock was credited with a win without throwing a pitch, under almost identical circumstances,
supposedly with the White Sox in 1906.  This feat has been described in many sources, including "Ripley's Believe it or Not," but never have I seen it
documented.  Prodded by Scott Flatow, I decided to take a crack at it.

        It's a hard task.  Record-keeping was very sloppy in the early part of the 20th century, when Altrock did most of his pitching.  No official
records survive for Nick's pre-1905 seasons, so we have to rely on the quasi-official "ICI" records.  The AL's official sheets for 1905-72 were
composed in long-hand, difficult to read, especially a century later.  From 1905-07, the American League didn't bother recording pitching lines on their
official sheets, just dates and wins or losses.  There are errors and discrepancies galore.

        These are just stumbling blocks for an obsessed researcher, however. Following are my findings for each of the nine seasons Altrock is credited
with at least one victory:

        1898, Louisville (NL) - won 3 games, on July 21, August 15, and September 4, pitching at least eight innings each time.  He had no
appearances of less than one inning.

        1903, Chicago (AL) - won 5 games (TOTAL BASEBALL says 4), on July 16, August 4 and 20, September 22 and 28.  The first of these appearances was 1-2/3 innings, the rest were nine each.  He had no appearances of less than one inning.

        1904, Chicago (AL) - won 20 games (TOTAL BASEBALL says 19), on April 16 and 20, May 1, 23, 26, and 29, June 2, 15, 24, and 27, July 1, 9, 26, and 30, August 6, 10, 25, September 5 and 21, and October 9.  The June 2 win was 5-2/3 innings, the rest were nine each.  He had no appearances with less than three innings.

        1905, Chicago (AL) - won 24 games (TOTAL BASEBALL says 23), on April 16 and 28, May 14, 19 and 26, June 7, 10 and 25, July 4, 6, 21 and 24, August 14, 22, 25 and 27, September 8, 14, 17, 20, 25 and 27, and October 7. He pitched 1 inning on June 10 and 1-1/3 on September 20; all the rest of the wins were complete games.  The official sheets say he also pitched and won (with four fielding chances) on September 10, but he didn't; perhaps that accounts for the revision of his win total.

        1906, Chicago (AL) - won 20 games, on April 20, 22, 26 and 29, May 24, June 16, 18, 20, 23 and 28, July 4 and 11, August 16, September 9, 12, 14, 16, 24 and 25, and October 1.  He pitched 5 innings on April 22, 4 on June 18, 7 on June 23, 7 or 8 on August 16, and 6 on September 25; the rest were complete games.

        1907, Chicago (AL) - won 8 games (TOTAL BASEBALL says 7), on April 18 and 24, May 2, 18, and 21, and September 4, 20 and 28.  All were complete or near-complete games; he had only one game with an assist as his only fielding chance, but had two at bats in that game.

        1908, Chicago (AL) - won 3 games (TOTAL BASEBALL says 5), on July 7, 16 and 25; there is also a handwritten note that says "6/7 win."  Each of these four was nine innings or more; he had no games with fewer than four opposing batsmen.

        1909, Washington (AL) - won 1 game, on July 7 (9 innings), and had no games with fewer than three opposing batsmen.

        1918, Washington (AL) - won 1 game, on June 6 (7-1/3 innings), and had no games with fewer than three opposing batsmen.

        Based on this research, we can't be 100% certain that Altrock's batterless win didn't happen, but I'm 99% certain that it didn't.  Maybe it
occurred in an exhibition game, or a minor league contest, or in the mind of a creative writer, but there's no evidence it happened in a major league
game.


Joe DiMaggio's wait

       Jim Sanders wrote, "I was wondering if we could start a discussion as to why - Joe DiMaggio - was delayed by an additional year before being
admitted to the Hall Of Fame?"

        From 1946-53, there was only a one-year-wait requirement between retirement and Hall of Fame eligibility.  Thus DiMaggio, who last played in
October 1951, became eligible in January 1953.  He received 117 of 264 votes (44%).

        In '54, the five-year-wait rule was put in, but with a "grandfather" exemption to anyone who had already received 100 or more votes; DiMaggio was the only one who qualified, so he stayed on the ballot.  That year, he moved up to 69% (175/252), before making it with 89% (223/251) in '55.

        Even if you believe Joe D was one of the all-time greats, his getting only 44% in his first try is not that surprising.  Between 1937-61,
nobody made it on his first try, and only Mel Ott (61% in 1949) did better than DiMaggio.


More Doubles Than Singles

        Mark Rappaport asked if anyone had finished a season with more doubles than singles while playing regularly.  Lee Sinins checked everyone
with, I think, 500 plate appearances, and found nobody who came very close to achieving that.  However, if you use a minimum of 20 doubles, there are two who came close:

        In 1883, Ned Williamson had 55 singles and 49 doubles (plus five triples and two homers) while playing in all 98 of the Cubs' games.

        In 1928, Tris Speaker had 24 singles and 22 doubles (plus two triples and three homers), though he played only 64 games.  For 60 years,
Speaker was credited with 23 singles and 23 doubles in '28, but I discovered an addition error in his official sheet and most sources now have Speaker
with 22 doubles that year


Pitching Feats

        John Pastier, discussing Roger craig, wrote "In 1959, his ERA was 2.06.  Sam Jones, the official leader, had an ERA of 2.82.  Craig's 152 2/3
IP was an inning and a third short of qualifiying for the title.  If he had been able to pitch for four more outs, he could have given up 13 more earned
runs and still be the official league leader."

        A similar thing happened in the AL in 1986.  Boston's Roger Clemens led with 2.48, but Toronto rookie Mark Eichhorn had 1.72 in 157 innings,
five short of qualifying.  Eichhorn could have given up 14 earned runs in the five innings and still beaten Clemens.  As I recall, Toronto management
offered to give him a start or otherwise increase his workload in the final days of the season so he could qualify, but Eichhorn said he didn't want to
win the title that way.

        Maxwel Kates wrote, "During the 7th inning of the game between the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos at Jarry Park on June 13, 1973, Mike Marshall was brought in to face Jerry Morales.  At the time, the bases were jammed with Dwain Anderson, Gene Locklear, and Enzo Hernandez.  One pitch later, Morales hit a ground ball to Ron Hunt, who tossed it to Tim Foli at short, to Mike Jorgensen at 1st, to John Boccabella behind the plate. Triple play.  My question is whether Iron Mike remained in the game beyond the seventh inning.  If not, were there any other instances where a pitcher executed a triple play on his only pitch of the game?"

        On July 27, 1930, Cincinnati's Ken Ash faced only one batter but got credit for a full inning pitched and a victory.  Ash relieved in the sixth
inning with two Cubs on base and nobody out, and promptly induced Charlie Grimm to ground into a triple play. All outs on tags.  Ash was lifted the next inning for a PH, and the Reds scored 4 times, giving him the 6-5 win, his last ML win, on one pitch.


1957-71 Rookies

        Back in early March, I had a post about 1957-71 players who had strong first full seasons, who were not eligible for the Rookie of the Year
Award by the rules in place then (a player could not have had more than 90 previous at bats or 45 previous innings pitched), but who would have been
eligible by the rules in place since '71 (no more than 130 previous AB or 50 IP).

        The players I mentioned were Frank Malzone (1957), Vada Pinson (1959), Reggie Jackson (1968), Bobby Murcer (1969), and Ralph Garr (1971). Each of these would have been a serious ROY candidate, if not the obvious winner, had the 130-at bat rule been in place from the start (though I don't know whether any of these men would have been excluded by the "45 days on a roster before September 1" rule).  I have since found two other players who fall into that category.

        In the AL in 1965, after 123 previous at bats, Willie Horton hit 29 homers (third in the league), drove in 104 runs (second), and batted .273,
finishing eighth in MVP voting.  The award went to Baltimore's Curt Blefary (22-70-.260).

        In the AL in 1969, after 109 previous AB, Bill Melton had 23 HR, 87 RBI, and a .255 average for the White Sox.  The Award went to the Royals' Lou Piniella (11-68-.282).


Qualifying for a Pension

        Regarding instances of players added to a roster in order to qualify for a pension, several people have mentioned Satchel Paige.  On August 11,
1968, the Braves signed Paige -- lacking 158 days on a major league payroll to qualify for a pension -- to a contract.  He did a lot of warming up but
never appeared in a game, and became a coach on September 30.

        That same year, after managing St. Cloud to the 1968 Northern League pennant, Carroll Hardy returned to the Twins in September to get the 14 days he lacked for a big league pension.  He did not play for Minnesota that year, and retired from baseball after the season.


Robinson, Boyer & Santo

        Samuel Wilson wrote, "I just wanted to get some opinions on an issue that has bothered me for some time.  I have always maintained that the
advent of television has helped many players make it to the hall-of-fame. One example is Brooks Robinson.  I am certain that the television coverage
of his performance in the 1970 World Series played a role in his nomination to the hall.  Today Ron Santo is lobbying hard to become inducted.  He
compares his statistics and accomplishments to Robinson as a measure that he too belongs in Cooperstown.  If that is the case, should Ken Boyer also be considered?  After all, Boyer and Santo both show themselves to be better offensive players than Robinson.   More important, both, but particularly
Santo, were very good defensive players.  Boyer was also the National League MVP on the Cardinals World Series team in 1964.  Did Robinson beneift from being on better teams and having national television coverage of his career whereas Boyer did not?  Does anyone else believe that television played a significant role in Robinson getting the notoriety necessary to get the votes for the hall-of fame?"

        The 1970 World Series was merely the crowning achievement on Brooks Robinson's Hall of Fame career, much like Roberto Clemente's performance in the '71 Series.  Take a look at Robby's MVP voting through the years and you'll see what high esteem the sportswriters (who also vote on the Hall of Fame) had for him:

        Robinson finished 3rd in 1960, 9th in '62, 1st in '64, 3rd in '65, 2nd in '66, 7th in '70 (all this before the memorable World Series), and 4th
in '71 --- seven times in the top ten, four times in the top three.  He was also mentioned in ''61, '68, '69, '72, and '74.  He amassed 3.68 MVP Award
shares, 17th-most in history.

        Boyer's top ten finishes were 10th in 1959, T-6th in '60, 7th in '61, and 1st in '64.  He earned 1.62 award shares.

        Santo's were T-8th in 1963, 8th in '64, 4th in '67, and 5th in '69, en route to 1.22 award shares.

        I'm not saying Boyer or Santo weren't worthy players.  But it is ridiculous to suggest that the only thing separating Robinson from them in
the Hall of Fame voters' minds was the 1970 World Series.


Golden Ratio

        Cyril Morong wrote, "Further proof that baseball is the perfect sport. The Greeks discovered the "Golden Ratio." It is approximately 1.618.
That is, the ideal size of a rectangle would be the longer side being 1.618 times the length of the shorter. There are even examples from nature. In my
RBI research, the expected RBI value of a Home Run, on average, is 1.616 (that is based on the frequency of the various base situations I took from
some research on one of Tom Ruane's websites-the data was from the 1982, 1983 and 1987 seasons). Also, for the 61 players who had 6000 or more plate appearances from 1987-1961 that I analyzed, the average number of RBI opportunities per at bat (including the batter) was 1.62. So both numbers are almost identical to the golden ratio:)"
      
   
Charlie Faust

        Doug Lyons asked about major league players who spent time in mental institutions.  Charlie Faust, the Giants' good-luck charm who appeared in a couple of games in 1911, was admitted to the Oregon State Insane Asylum (Salem) from June 3-July 20, 1914, then to the Western Washington Hospital for the Insane (Steilacoom) from December 1, 1914 until his death on June 18, 1915. 

        Some background on Faust - Charles Victor Faust approached John McGraw before the 1911 season, saying that a fortune teller had told him that if he pitched for the NY Giants, they would win the pennant.  McGraw caught him barehanded in his tryout, but impressed by Faust's fervent belief in what the fortune teller told him, allowed Faust to sit on the bench and occasionally warm-up in the bullpen.  The Giants started winning and Faust became the team good luck charm for three straight pennant-winning teams.  They fell to 2nd in 1914.

Source: VICTORY FAUST, THE RUBE WHO SAVED McGRAW's GIANTS, by SABR member Gabriel Schechter (Charles April Publications, 2000).


Jason Bay

        Joe Haardt wrote, "Rookie Jason Bay had eight RBI for Pirates in game 1 of twin bill on Sept 19. Anybody know if this is a record for
rookies?"  I did a little desk-top research on this question, and it appears as if the record is held by a couple of Red Sox' rookies, 20 years apart.
Norm Zauchin drove in 10 runs on May 27, 1955, and Fred Lynn did the same on June 18, 1975.


Catchers with Highest BAs

        During the first game of the NLCS, Fox showed a graphic listing the five catchers (catcher primary position) with the highest career batting
averages: Cochrane (.320), Piazza (.319), Dickey (.313), Lombardi (.306), and Ivan Rodriguez (.304).

        What about Buck Ewing? Sure, his BA was always listed at .303, but the "Important Change to the Official Record of Major League Baseball,"
announced by Major League Baseball's Official Historian in the final edition of TOTAL BASEBALL, turned all year-1887 walks back into hits.  This
increased Ewing's career average to .307.  It's also true that Ewing played only 636 of his 1315 career games behind the plate.  But he had no more than 253 at any other position, so it would be stretching the definition of "primary" to not list him as a catcher.

        Even if Fox could talk their way out of including Ewing, there's no excuse for missing the immortal Spud Davis and his .308 career average over
1458 games, 1282 as a catcher.


Jaster, 1966

        Just to expand on the posts about Larry Jaster in 1966:  Jaster, as a rookie, faced the defending world champion Dodgers five times in 1966, and
shut them out each time.  So against LA, he had 5 GS, 5 CG, 5 ShO, 45 IP, a 5-0 record, and an 0.00 ERA, an amazing accomplishment considering the fact that Jaster's highest win total for a season was 11.  Against the rest of the league, he had 16 GS, 1 CG, 0 ShO, 106.2 IP, a 6-5 record, and a 4.64 ERA.

        The five shutouts gave him a share of the NL lead that year.  As I recall (I know, I know), he had also pitched a scoreless inning in relief
against the Dodgers during his September call-up in 1965, and went another six-plus innings vs. LA in '67 before they finally scored on him. 


Numerical Tributes

        Paul Lukas wrote, "During ESPN Radio's broadcast of Game 4 of the ALCS, Jon Miller said Tim Wakefield wears uniform #49 as a tribute to fellow knuckleballers Charlie Hough and Tom Candiotti, and that he (Wakefield) later learned that Hoyt Wilhelm had worn #49 as well.  Is anyone aware of other big leaguers whose uni numbers are intended as tributes?"

        Willie McCovey wore #44 in tribute to fellow-Mobile, AL star Hank Aaron.  When Reggie Jackson joined the Yankees in '77, and found his #9 in
use by Graig Nettles, Jackson switched to #44 in tribute to Aaron, who had retired the year before.  Eric Davis was another who took #44 because of
Aaron and/or Jackson.

        Barry Bonds wore #24 for Pittsburgh in honor of his godfather, Willie Mays.  When Bonds joined the Giants, he was told that the number was
already retired in Mays's honor; though Mays insisted it could be unretired for Bonds, Barry instead took #25, which had been his father's number with
the Giants.  I believe Rickey Henderson's #24 was also a tribute to Mays.

        I think Sammy Sosa wears #21 in tribute to pioneer Latin-American star Roberto Clemente, Kerry Wood dons #34 in honor of childhood hero Nolan Ryan, and Jason Giambi wears #25 in tribute to former teammate and mentor Mark McGwire.

        Sid Fernandez wore #50 in tribute to his birthplace of Hawaii, the 50th state.  I believe there were other Hawaiian-born players who did the
same.


Switch-Pitchers

        On the subject of switch-pitchers, Elmer Steele could throw with either hand, but with insufficient finesse from the port side.  Steele was a
right-handed pitcher for the Red Sox, Pirates, and Dodgers between 1907-11, posting a 2.41 ERA over 428 innings before an apparent career-ending arm injury.  Not to be deterred, Steele returned to the minors -- as a left-handed first baseman!  In 1913, Steele batted .339 in the New York-New
Jersey League.

        Moxie Manuel, who pitched for the Senators in 1905 and White Sox in 1908, was for a long time listed in the encyclopedias as a switch-pitcher,
but I found no evidence he ever threw anything but right-handed in the majors.  Perhaps a check of the 1908 Chicago papers would be helpful; Manuel
's appearances that year came on June 9, 10, 14, 17, 21, 23, 26, and 27; July 4, 8, 13, and 23; August 8 and 18; and September 3, 7, and 14.  His
three games for Washington in 1905 were on September 25, September 29, and October 7.


Yale's "New" Statistic

        Phil Birnbaum wrote, "In Business Week this week (November 17, page 16), there is a story about Yale researchers inventing a new statistic.
It's computed by calculating the probability of the team winning before an at-bat, and after the at-bat, and crediting the batter with the difference.
So if the chance of winning is 45%, but the batter hits a single and the chance is now 48%, the batter gets .03 wins added to his total.  It's like
Gary Skoog's "value added" stat, but for wins instead of runs.  My question: this new stat seems really familar -- I'd swear I'd seen it before.  Has
anyone seen it?"

        Sounds exactly like "Player Win Average," devised by Harlan and Eldon Mills at least 34 years before Yale's researchers "invented" it.  The
Mills brothers published their idea and 1969 results in a booklet called PLAYER WIN AVERAGES (South Brunswick, NJ: A. S. Barnes, 1970).  John Thorn mentioned it in THE HIDDEN GAME of BASEBALL (pages 47-48 in the paperback edition).

        I recall reading an article about the Mills system in a 1971 issue of THINK magazine, IBM's house organ.  It said, among other things, that Willie
McCovey had led the majors in PWA in both 1969 (.677) and 1970 (.648); that Johnny Bench, the 1970 NL MVP, was topped in PWA by several other players, including some (they didn't say who) on his own team; and that Jim Hickman posted an excellent PWA in 1969, despite his .237 batting average.


Missing War Years

        Bill Nowlin asked for projections on Ted Williams's statistics, had he not missed all of the 1943-45 seasons and most of the 1952-53 campaigns
in military service.

        A couple of decades ago, I did some rudimentary projections on notable players with missing war years.  I would simply take the average of
the two actual seasons closest to the missing ones.  So, if a player missed 1943-45, for 1943, I'd use the average of '41 & '42; for '44, the average of
'42 & '46; and for '45, the average of '46 and '47.  In Williams's case, for 1952-53, I used the average of '51 and '54 for both seasons, backing out his
actual at bats from '52-53 and pro-rating everything else downward, then adding in his actual stats.

        Ted's missing years
AB   R   H  2B 3 HR RBI SB BB  AVG
489 138 186 34 4 36 129 3 145 .380
518 142 181 36 7 37 130 2 151 .349
521 134 178 38 8 35 119 0 159 .342
459 101 152 25 4 30 109 1 139 .331
458  98 158 26 2 36 120 0 131 .345

        Comparing these numbers to the actual AL leaders in those years, Williams would have led in runs in 1943-45, in doubles in '45, in homers in
1943-45, in RBI in 1943-45 and '52, and in walks and batting all five years. That's three new Triple Crowns and five more batting titles.  However, Hank Greenberg projected to beat out Ted in homers in 1942 and '43, and RBI in '43.

        Williams's revised career stats show 10050 AB, 3468 H, 679 2B, 95 3B, 681 HR, 30 SB, a .345 AVG, and new records for runs (2392), RBI (2409), and walks (2713).  However, had he not missed those war years, I believe he would have retired after the 1954 season.

        Some other couldas: Luke Appling (3103) and Enos Slaughter (2902) might have flirted with 3000 hits; Greenberg (491) and Stan Musial (489)
might have approached 500 homers, and Musial might also have come close (792-776) to Tris Speaker's doubles record; and Willie Mays might have wound up with exactly 714 homers.