The last several installments under this title have related some remarkable successes as our collection continues to grow. I am happy to say that this tradition continues, thanks to a number of Retro Volunteers. Here are the details of the last three months.
I have finished copying all the accounts in the 1932 New York World-Telegram, as well as those from 1933. Perhaps more exciting, since it was so unexpected, was the discovery of regular accounts in the 1921 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. This city had very erratic coverage in different papers over the years and it was a delight to discover that through August of 1921 the Bulletin coverage was comparable to New York, Chicago, and St. Louis. That is, all games except Sundays and holidays are covered at least partially. For September the situation was not so rosy, since the two sources I have both had different (earlier) editions of the paper on the microfilm with almost no play by play accounts. I have requested the film from other libraries and hope we will find what we need, although I am not too confident. It remains to be seen how other seasons were covered by the Bulletin. Final note on 1921: one of the games I found in the Bulletin was a contest between the Athletics and the Indians, and was one of two Cleveland games we still needed for that year. Ron Fisher, who previously finished the 1921 Pirates, immediately entered the game and is now chafing to get the last one for the Tribe, which was against Washington on June 13.
Mike Grahek finished copying the 1912 New York Evening Telegram in its "partial entirety", his charming way to remind us that many game accounts from the early part of the century were incomplete. Mike has also received and copied accounts from the Chicago Daily News and Chicago American for that season as well. Combined with the copies Brad Sullivan made before for Pittsburgh, we are getting a sizable portion of 1912 in our hands.
Bob Kistler has made two great contributions since the last report as he continues to help with accounts from Boston, which is still a tough city for us. The first is a large number of games from 1937 and the second is a recent shipment of 35 Red Sox games from 1954, a season which Jim Herdman has been inputting. Thanks to Bob and Luke Kraemer (see below) there are now only 16 AL games from 1954 for which we have no information. Sad to say, but there are 342 NL games from that year that are still in the wilderness, a difference between the leagues which has been unfortunately consistent for us throughout the post-World War II era.
Speaking of Luke Kraemer, he has continued his careful pursuit of memorabilia dealers and has obtained many scorebooks and programs that way. His most dramatic success recently has been to get many of the scorebooks of the late Bruce Foster, a long-time SABR member. These are excellent accounts and cover the Philadelphia teams from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, which is a great find for us. We added 276 new games this way and a second version for 147 more. Many of the new ones were for the 1954 Athletics, which fit nicely with the Boston games that Bob Kistler sent.
SABR member Evelyn Begley generously donated her personal scorebooks from the 1970s, which are meticulous in their detail and clarity. Better yet, she recorded each pitch! Many thanks to Evelyn for this donation.
Many of you are aware that the University of Notre Dame has a large collection of sports memorabilia and publications. Sean Lahman suggested that we contact them to see if they had any scored programs which we might be able to copy. I did so and curator George Rugg cooperated wonderfully. He sent at no cost photocopies of several games for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, many of which we did not have before. Thanks to George for this generous help.
Jay Wigley has continued searching the Internet for game accounts and he has come up with some from two sources. The first is a man who has a number of Cincinnati scorecards from several years; he sent copies of games from the 1950s and 1960s to Jay who sent them along to us. Many of these were new for us. The second source is rather remarkable. A fan on the West Coast, John Novicki, scanned two programs he had and sent the files with the images to Jay via e-mail. Jay sent them on and we gained another game we were missing between the Astros and Padres in 1969.
SABR member Alain Usereau contacted Dave Smith with the phone number of Larry Fredericks, a long-time writer for UPI in Montreal. In turn Larry gave Dave the number of Dan Rosenberg, who wrote for the now-defunct Montreal Star. Larry and Dan sent their scorebooks to Delaware where Dave copied them, thereby adding over 100 Expos games to our collection. There are still 28 Montreal games that we need, but these "new" scoresheets are most welcome. Many thanks to Alain for initiating things and to Larry and Dan for their generous loan.
Ron Rakowski has had much success contacting sportswriters and he recently received the 1957 scorebook of Bob Allen, who covered the Milwaukee Braves. Since we are missing so many games for Milwaukee, it is most gratifying to get a full season, especially for a World Champion. Ron has already entered many of these games as well.
And finally, a note from Brad Sullivan, who writes:
"A somewhat belated note to you about my latest and, most likely, final haul from the pages of the Post and Gazette Times. Last Saturday, I trekked down to take care of the PBP's for the 1914-15 Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League. The first year consists of primarily home games, while the second has an extensive portion of the season. All told, I would guess over 200 games are part of this batch, including a pair of no-hitters! In trying to figure out the reasons for the variance between the years, my guess is that the papers didn't take the team seriously in 1914, but began to acknowledge it the following year, albeit in the Pirates' shadow.
With tongue firmly in cheek, I began to think that Retrosheet should be part of any Psychology degree program. The student can examine old newspapers in search of PBP's, and attempt to figure out the reasoning behind why some papers eagerly printed PBP's while others ignored them. Of course, to get an A, they would have to copy said P-B-P's in order to expand the educational horizon. Either that, or they could just examine everyone involved with Retrosheet to find out where we all went wrong!!
My status will be changing in the next couple of weeks; I'm currently waiting to hear on a couple of job prospects. When I land somewhere (hopefully employed), I'll give you the new address. The Retrosheet Gods obviously want me somewhere near some old P-B-P's since I've ravaged the Cleveland and Pittsburgh countrysides. Perhaps I should change my name to F.N. Stein - a beast who shouts, 'SCORESHEETS,' to frightened villagers."
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1. Bad News and Good News, a Cautionary Tale
2. Electronic Newsletters
One of the great things about Retrosheet is the way baseball gives us connections to the rest of the world, sometimes in unexpected ways. My example this time is the reliance on the computer and the potential disasters that are lurking out there. By now you have probably guessed the bad news: my second hard drive crashed about two weeks ago, taking with it all the Retrosheet data files. The good news is that all the files were backed up. Each week I receive files from 10-15 volunteers with a total of 150 or so games. At the end of each week, I pack up the new files and send copies to Retrosheet Secretary David Vincent. We are currently in the process of restoring the files so I can resume business as usual. The cautionary tale is to remind everyone to take the possibility of data losses seriously. I remember a line from a computer magazine over 10 years ago which said something like: "There are only two kinds of airplane pilots, those who have made a wheels-up landing and those who will. Similarly, there are two kinds of computer users, those who have lost data and those who will". One consequence of all of this is a delay in the completion of this issue of The Retro Sheet by about two weeks. For that, I apologize.
On a more cheerful note I would like to follow up on a suggestion I got from Greg Spira recently. Greg noted that almost all Retrosheetians are computer-literate to a degree and have Internet access. Since we post all of the newsletters on our web page, some people might be happy to read it there and save the organization some money on the costs of production and mailing. To accomplish this most efficiently, all we would need to do is send an e-mail announcement when each new edition is posted so people would be alerted to look for it. So, if anyone is interested in switching from the printed version to the electronic alert mode, let me know your e-mail address (mine is firstname.lastname@example.org). However, be assured that the hard copy will continue to be produced and anyone who wishes to continue getting it can certainly do so.
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As usual, there have been a few developments on this front since the last report and a brief summary is offered here. A detailed accounting of where we are will be in the year end issue of TRS.
Clem Comly has finished the 1970 NL minus the 58 games we don't have, all of which are in Montreal, Atlanta, or Houston. Clem has also entered a number of Expos games from 1971 that we recently obtained and is now charging through the 1975 season, which Greg Beston is also processing. Scott Fischthal has finished a sizable chunk of the 1975 Mets as well.
Dave Lamoureaux completed the 1968 AL and has begun work on the 1969 AL season, which is also receiving attention from Stu Shea, Dave Matthews and Bob Kapla.
Dave Smith entered the last few games for the 1977 NL and John Jarvis is about to begin the proofing by using The Sporting News. Pete Palmer is taking care of the proofing for the 1977 and 1978 AL. Russel Tisseman did the last games for the 1976 AL, so that we have now completed the inputting of all AL games back through 1975.
Wayne Townsend has done all the games we have from the New York Evening Telegram for 1923 and has commenced work on the Indians. Although some are partial accounts, Wayne's work has given us 408 of the 1234 games played that season.
Ron Fisher continues his tireless work on the 1921 season, recently working on the games from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin that Dave Smith found. Ron's count for 1921 is:
1229 games total 713 complete 154 partial 362 missing
Mike Grahek continues his work on 1957, recently finishing the Tigers for that year. He is also working on the Boston accounts we have for that season and has begun working through the Yankees as well. Mark Dobrow completed the 1972 Mets and is working on the final month of their 1974 campaign. Coupled with Scott Fischthal's Mets work (see above), it won't be too much longer until we have finished all the games for that franchise.
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On June 27, the Retrosheet annual meeting took place at the San Francisco Airport Marriott. In attendance were board members, Dave Smith, Sherri Nichols, David Vincent and Luke Kraemer. There were also approximately 30 friends of Retrosheet at the meeting.
Important actions taken by the board that morning included election of a new board member, Clem Comly. Clem replaced one of the original board members, Ron Rakowski, whose term had expired, and will serve a three year term.
Rakowski served as a member of the Retrosheet board for five years. This period included many wonderful achievements, including acquisition of thousands of game accounts, completion of many complete seasons and establishment of the Retrosheet web site. Ron played a key role in the progress of the organization during his time on the board. He has been especially effective in tracking down retired sportswriters and announcers or their families. As a result our holding from the 1950s and 1960s are much better than they would be otherwise.
The continuing members of the board request that all friends of Retrosheet thank Ron Rakowski for his continuing service to the organization, as a board member as well as for all his wonderful RetroActivities.
Another action taken during the meeting was the approval of the concept of delivering box scores and play-by-play accounts over the Internet from our web site. This project is currently under development but the plan is to allow anyone to pick up a game account for a favorite game from the Retrosheet archive of released games.
Another discussion that morning concerned the organization's tax-exempt status. The application was filed with the IRS using an out-dated form; it has been refiled using the correct form. More on this later.
There was a dialogue concerning the procedure of electing board members. This talk included both the nominating process and the election itself but no action was taken that day.
Included among all the business talk, there was some discussion of baseball matters. For example, Retrosheet has a few seasons of data that are not completed but very close. For these seasons, we may not get accounts of a few games. In the past, we have only released complete seasons as a unit but at this point we have to decide how many missing games are significant. Then we may release "almost complete" seasons to the public.
During that discussion, there was a mention of the possibility of another file format for those missing games. Since missing games currently prevent release of a season, we might want to create a different type of data file for those games without play-by-play accounts available. One discussion during the meeting concerned the possibility of a new file format that is not play-by-play but a "box score" file. This file would include totals for all players in the game rather than all plays. Both of these topics merit further discussion and study.
All Retrosheet meetings are open to the public. We hope to see you at the next scheduled meeting, which will be held in Phoenix, AZ during next June's SABR convention.
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Retrosheet volunteers Clem Comly, Ted Turocy, Scott Fischthal, Rick Elliott, Wayne Townsend, Doug Burks, Ted Turocy, Dave Smith, James G. Robinson and David Horwich contributed to this report.
6-16-1902 PIT @ BSN - After a loss on 6-14, Boston had a record of 34 - 10. In the next game on June 16th, the Pirates were leading Boston 4-0 in the fourth inning. It was raining very hard, and Boston requested that the game be called. The umpire refused so Boston's pitcher attempted to stall by holding the ball longer than the 20 seconds allowed by rule. Before the inning concluded, the Boston fans were rushing onto the field and attacking the grandstand. Boston was forced to forfeit the fame.
4-15-1910 SLA @ CHA - In his first start of the season, Ed Walsh batted left-handed in his first at-bat, leading off the bottom of the 2nd. He popped out to first. In the fourth, he turned around at hit right handed, and singled. No reference book mentions him batting left-handed.
4-20-1910 CHN @ SLN - The Cubs were leading the Cards 4-2 after seven innings. The Cubs scored in the top half of the eighth to make it 5-2 then pitcher Jack Pfeister and his relief Orval Overall went wild. Walks accounted for two runs for the Cards, who then had the bases loaded with one out. At that moment, the game was called to allow St. Louis to catch their train to Pittsburgh so the score reverted to 4-2.
4-29-1910 CHN @ SLN - The Cubs were leading the Cards 4-2 after seven innings. The Cubs scored in the top half of the eighth to make it 5-2; then pitcher Jack Pfiester and his relief Orval Overall went wild with walks, accounting for two Cardinal runs. At that point, the Cards had the bases loaded with one out. However, the game was called to allow St. Louis to catch their train to Pittsburgh, so the score reverted to the previous inning's 4-2.
8-24-1911 CHN @ BRO - Tex Erwin won the game in the bottom of the ninth with an over-the-fence hit for which he only received credit for a triple. This is due to the scoring rules of the time. A batter who hit a game-ending homer only received credit for as many bases on the hit as were required to score the winning run. In this case, the winning run scored from 1b. There was some controversy in 1969 when a special committee was formed to review statistics in preparation for the first edition of the Macmillan encyclopedia. The committee decided to change these hits to homers retroactively until it was discovered that one of the batters affected was Babe Ruth. Somehow changing that "magical" 714 was more than they could do.
9-12-1911 NY1 @ BSN (G1) - With Merkle on third, Herzog gets thrown out by Donlin.while Merkle scores: 83.3-H
9-12-1911 NY1 @ BSN (G2) - With one out in the bottom of the second and Miller on first, Gowdy flew out to Snodgrass in center, and Miller was doubled off first, Snodgrass to Doyle to Mathewson to Merkle -- that is, 8(B)413(1)/DP.
9-23-1911 CHA @ NYA - The top of the first ended with a strange double play. With Harry Lord on 2b and Matty McIntyre on 1b, Ping Bodie grounded to Cozy Dolan at 3b. The Highlanders threw the ball around a little before recording the two outs: 54(1)545(2)/GDP.
9-30-1911 SLA @ NYA (G1) - In the bottom of the ninth, with runners on 1b and 3b and two out, Guy Zinn hit a triple which would have tied the game. However, Stubby Magner, the runner at 1b, was declared out for failing to touch the plate. The next batter grounded out to preserve the Browns victory.
10-12-1911 BRO @ NY1 (G2): In the ninth inning in the last game of the season, the Giants put Charlie Faust in to pitch -- his second and final ML appearance (his first was a few days prior). He pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, and led off the bottom of the inning in his only ML plate appearance. He was hit by a pitch, and then stole 2b and 3b while Brooklyn pitcher Eddie Dent "looked the other way". The headline in the New York Telegram for the game humorously gushed "Faust shines on bases".
9-6-1922 CLE @ CHA - Ray Schalk was injured by a foul tip and replaced by Yam Yaryan in the top of the tenth inning. In the bottom half of the frame, Yaryan led off with a game winning homer. Five days later Yaryan was still playing in place of Schalk. In the top of the second, Yaryan was injured by a foul tip and was replaced by Roy Graham.
9-12-1922 CLE @ CHA - In the top of the first, the Tribe had the bases loaded with no one out. Larry Gardner grounded to Eddie Collins who tossed to Ernie Johnson, forcing Pat McNulty at 2b. Johnson threw to Earl Sheely completing the double play at 1b. Charlie Jamieson scored from 3b on the play. Bill Wambsganss tried to score from 2b and was thrown out Sheely to Yam Yaryan to complete a very unusual triple play. Note that this is also a GDP. 46(1)3/GDP/TP.3-H;2XH(32)
9-13-1922 WS1 @ CLE - In the bottom of the third, Luke Sewell was on 1b. Dan Boone hit a popup that George Mogridge dropped. Mogridge threw the ball to 1b to get Boone and then Sewell was trapped between the bases for an unusual double play: 13/DP/F.1X2(364)
9-16-1922 NYA @ SLA - Eddie Foster led off the bottom of the ninth with a fly to rcf. As Bob Meusel caught the ball someone in the overflow crowd on the field threw a pop bottle that struck Whitey Witt on the head. Witt had to be carried from the field and the Yankee players rushed into the crowd to find the culprit without success. Fans came onto the field but were pushed back by mounted police.
9-19-1922 BOS @ CLE - In the top of the first, the Bosox had Joe Harris on 2b and Del Pratt on 1b with two out. Pinky Pittinger singled to lf scoring Harris but then Pittinger ran Pratt off 2b. Pratt was run down and tagged: S7.2-H;1X3(72545)
9-4-1923 NYA @ PHA - Sad Sam Jones pitched a no hitter for the Yanks. After the game (according to one newspaper account), "Ruth doffed his Yankee uniform in a twilight baseball game and played 1b for the Ascension Catholic Club in a game with the Little Brothers' team. Even his efforts, however, could not win the game for the Ascension team, which lost 2 to 1. Ruth was credited with a hit and a run, and handled 15 chances without an error. The AL's leading batter played as a favor to the Rev. William Casey, rector of Ascension parish, a close friend of his."
9-7-1923 BRO @ BSN - The Braves had Stuffy McInnis on 3b and Hod Ford on 2b. Bob Smith hit a 2-run single to rf and advanced to 2b on the throw home. Following the play at the plate, Zack Taylor, the Dodger catcher, started arguing with Umpire O'Day claiming Ford ran out of the base line as he was scoring and should have been called out. Taylor held onto the ball during the debate while Smith continued around the bases and scored! 4. Bob was credited with 2 stolen bases on the play according to the NY Evening Telegram's game account and also in their box score.
9-8-1923 BOS @ NYA - Red Sox right fielder Ira Flagstead gunned down three Yankee base runners, all on different plays. The first New Yorker was Babe Ruth who tried to advance after a fly out [9/DP.2X3(95)]. Later, Flagstead ran over to the foul line, speared Schang's wicked liner and doubled Ward off 1b [9(B)3(1)/L9L/LDP]. The final Yankee who thought he could outrun Flagstead's whip was Bob Meusel who attempted to advance to 3b on a single [S9.1X3(95) ]. That's a good afternoon for any outfielder.
9-11-1923 BOS @ NYA - One week after pitching a no-hitter against the Athletics, Howard Ehmke nearly did it again. He yielded a leadoff scratch roller off the glove of Howie Shanks at 3b then allowed only one walk to the New Yorkers. Ehmke also had 3 of the Sox' 6 hits.
9-29-1923 NYA @ BOS - The pitching matchup was Waite Hoyt vs. Jack Quinn and the game was completed in 1:03!! The NY Evening Telegram reports it as "one of the fastest games of the year." Incredibly there were 9 runs scored on 24 hits. Wayne Townsend's reaction was "ONE of the fastest??? Maybe time ran slower back then."
4-30-1932 BRO @ PHI - In the bottom of the fourth, the Phillies had Kiddo Davis on 3b with one out. Joe Stripp tried the hidden ball play on Davis but umpire Pfirman called Davis safe. Stripp bounced the ball showing his disgust at the call and was ejected immediately.
5-12-1932 CHA @ NYA - Two weird plays in this game. In the bottom of thefifth, the Yankees had Frank Crosetti on 1b and George Pipgras sacrificed. Crosetti tried for 3b on the play and was doubled up for a 53/SH/DP.1X3(35). Then in the top of the sixth, Frank Grube walked. Sad Sam Jones bunted and was safe when Tony Lazzeri muffed Pipgras' throw. Grube tried for 3b on the play and was out. This play is scored 1E4/SH.1X3(45).
6-25-1932 NY1 @ PHI - In the bottom of the second, Ray Benge led off the inning against his counterpart, Hi Bell. Benge hit a popup in foul territory near 1b. Benge was called out when Phillies 1b coach Jack Onslow interfered with Bill Terry while he attempted to catch the ball. Then in the next half inning, Travis Jackson doubled to rf to score Terry. However, Jackson was called out when he stepped off the bag and was tagged out by his opposite number, Phillies shortstop Dick Bartell. Jackson was hurt on the play and had to be carried off the field. He was taken to a local hospital for x-rays.
5-20-1970 PHI @ SFN - In one of the oddest coincidences of all time, the Phillies lost two catchers to broken hands in the same inning. In the bottom of the sixth, a foul tip on the 2-1 pitch struck Tim McCarver and broke a bone in his hand. Mike Ryan replaced McCarver. After Mays singled and Willie McCovey had an rbi double, Ken Henderson singled to rf. McCovey was thrown out at the plate and during the play, Willie spiked Ryan, breaking his hand. Jim Hutto then replaced Ryan.
5-14-1971 ATL @ PHI - Allen Lewis' description of events: Lersch led off the third inning with his first hit of the season and then was forced by Bowa. Larry broke for 2b as the Braves' winning pitcher, Ron Reed, committed a balk delivering the ball to Doyle at the plate. Doyle took the pitch and Didier threw to 2b, where shortstop Gil Garrido, believing a balk had been called and that time was out, made no attempt to catch the ball. Bowa jumped up and ran to 3b, scoring moments later on Doyle's sacrifice fly to center. The 1971 addition to Rule 8.05 provides that a base-runner may advance more than one base at his own risk if the pitcher commits a balk while throwing wild to the base or to home plate. In this case, the catcher - not the pitcher - made the wild throw and Bowa should have been sent back to second. The umpires misinterpreted the rule. Atlanta manager Luman Harris asked plate umpire Stan Landes about the play but accepted his explanation without protest. The umpires admitted they called the play wrong. "The bulletin coering that was sent around late in spring training, and this is the first time the play came up," said third base umpire Tony Venzon. "The throw has to be made by the pitcher. We should have sent Bowa back to second."
5-26-1971 (1) HOU @ SDN - Padres manager Preston Gomez started Al Santorini against an Astro lineup that included 7 lefties. Santorini got the first out and then lefty Dave Roberts finished the game. Santorini started game 2 and pitched about 6 innings.
4-24-1974 MIL @ CHA - The White Sox killed the Brewers softly with their singles, 7-2. All thirteen Pale Hose hits were singles, and the Brewers tossed in three errors and two walks for good measure. The oddity was compounded by the Brewers, whose eight hits were all singles. In total, the teams combined for twenty-one hits - all singles. With all of this, the most impressive stats in this game were contained in Terry Forster's pitching line: 3 IP, 1H, 0 R, 1BB, 8 K.
8-24-1974 SLN @ LAN - Dave Lopes had 5 stolen bases in the game and then was caught stealing twice! He spent the game dueling with Cardinal catcher Ted Simmons.
7-2-1975 SDN @ LAN - As reported by The Sporting News, Manager Walter Alston left the game after the ninth inning to catch a 1 a.m. flight in order to attend a funeral. Replacement Tom LaSorda was instructed "don't win it until I can get out on the freeway and can listen on the radio". Evidently Tommy knew how to follow orders as he led his "Blue Crew" to a 14 inning 6-5 victory.
8-10-1975 LAN @ NYN - Ken Sanders came in to start the eighth inning in relief of Rick Baldwin. During his warm up pitches, he was hit on the right eye by a throw and had to leave the game. Sanders never made a single pitch in his appearance.
7-20-1978 SFN @ CHN - In the top of the eighth inning after a Jack Clark single, the game was suspended (it was 6:34pm in Chicago - any guesses for the suspension reason?) Since this was the last trip into Wrigley for the Giants, the game was completed at Candlestick Park on 7-28. An unusual but not unprecedented way to complete a game.
6-19-1998 (Carolina League) - It was another night of bizarre plays with your editor making the calls. The most unusual play started with runners on 1b and 2b and one man out. The batter hit a sharp grounder between 1b and 2b. The second baseman fielded the ball and threw out the batter. The first sacker threw to 2b trying to double up the runner from 1b. However, the runner on 2b had rounded 3b and started for home so the shortstop threw to the plate instead of tagging his runner. This weird double play was scored 43/DP.2XH(362).
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While preparing to input the Indians game at Detroit on 4-13-1973, I encountered 14 discrepancies between the scoresheets provided to Retrosheet by the two teams. The following table shows the problems:
Inning Batter Detroit Cleveland 1 Kaline 3/FL 5/FL 2 Spikes 5/P 5/L 3 Brohamer 31 3/G 3 Cardenas 4/P 5/P 3 Kaline 8 9 4 Spikes K 6/P 5 Bell 8 7 5 Gamble* CS2 (26) CS2 (24) 6 Torres 6/P 7/L 7 Torres K/C K 8 Chambliss 5/P 4/P 8 Spikes 2/G K 8 Brinkman 8 31 8 Taylor 43 63 * Cardenas is the runnerPhew! That's enough discrepancies for one game with only the ninth inning free of problems. The problems range from barely significant (K vs K/C) to very significant (2/G vs K). As I wrote out this list, I noticed that 6 of these 14 differences occurred during the first at bat of a half inning, which makes me suspect that someone wasn't getting back to their seat in time. I also note that 10 of 14 discrepancies occur during Cleveland's half innings and that Charlie Spikes appears three times in the list.
[ed. note: Dave Smith sent copies of the AL daily sheets for the players in question so that David could match up the totals with possible plays. At press time that job had not been completed.]
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Over the last few years, Retrosheet has contributed to the baseball historical record in many ways. Quite a few of our volunteers have discovered new information that relates to the "record" of baseball and their information has made it into the published record books. One of our chief accomplishments in this regard was the Roger Maris 1961 RBI total that was so diligently researched by Ron Rakowski and has been accepted by the baseball record keepers.
Lyle Spatz, the chair of SABR's Records Committee, has asked that all Retrosheet volunteers pass on to him any information that might affect a player's statistical record or the record book in general. You can reach Lyle at email@example.com. Please copy your e-mail to the editor of The Retro Sheet. Thanks for your help.
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When Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' season homer record on 9-8-98 (nice date!), he became the seventh individual to hold the record. Babe Ruth held it long than anyone (42 years) and set a new record four different times. Ruth's change from 29 to 54 represents the single largest increase in the record. McGwire would have had to hit 114 homers to match that percentage of an increase.
More importantly, this is the first time the record has changed in the post-Retrosheet era.
The following chart shows the progression of the record. The date listed is for the final homer.
Batter Record Date HR George Hall 07/15/1876 5 Charles Jones 08/20/1879 9 Harry Stovey 09/18/1883 14 Ned Williamson 10/11/1884 27 Babe Ruth 09/27/1919 29 Babe Ruth 09/29/1920 54 Babe Ruth 10/02/1921 59 Babe Ruth 09/30/1927 60 Roger Maris 10/01/1961 61 Mark McGwire 09/27/1998 70
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Arthur Daley's Sports of the Times" column published in the New York Times on 7-7-1958 is titled "Matters of Policy." In it, Daley discussed the concept of interleague play as had been proposed by Hank Greenberg. He asked Del Webb, co-owner of the Yankees and "strong man of the American League", about the idea during a spring training game in Arizona.
"I'm against it," said Webb coldly. Daley then remarked how Webb could sound cold even under a scorching Arizona sun.
Webb emphatically denounced the idea even though the Yankees could draw enormous crowds in NL cities. Also, NL stars like Musial, Mays, Aaron and others would pack them in at the Stadium. Remember that in 1958 New York was a one team town since the two NL clubs had moved west. Webb's answer to Daley was "I'm opposed to tampering with baseball records. We've built them up over the years and they should be protected."
Daley's answer was that "so many radical changes have been made in the fundamentals of major league baseball over the past few years that there no longer is validity to any theory that would preserve the status quo." He mentions that Chicago was the only 2-team city at that moment.
Birdie Tebbetts, then the Cincinnati manager, was quoted as being upset that there was no NL in New York any more. "This is something I just can't conceive. Do you realize what this means? Some day there will be a whole generation of ballplayers who will have to say, 'No. I never played in New York.' I always looked forward to coming [to New York] all during my career as a player and as a manager. I feel I am losing an old and treasured friend."
Daley further said that "Expansion is at least many years away. But interleague play could be adaopted swiftly and without one radical dislocation. The scheme is certain to be a boon in baseball's brave new world of tomorrow."
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On 9-5-1923, Hank Hulvey made his major league debut for the Athletics. It would be his only ML appearance. Described as "a recruit recently uncovered by Connie Mack", the 6', 26-year-old right-hander had the misfortune of starting against the overpowering Bronx Bombers. But the game started well for him. He got Witt and Dugan easily, then struck out the Babe on 4 pitches. After 5 innings, the score was tied 1-1, and Hulvey had given up just 6 singles and no walks. He even had his first base hit in his second plate appearance, had 2 assists, and threw 2 GDPs. A good start for the rookie.
Then it happened. Hank walked the leadoff man (Witt) in the sixth inning, his first walk of the game, but got Dugan to fly out. Ruth came up and tried to sacrifice, fouling the pitch off (unfortunately for Hulvey). Two pitches later, Ruth crushed one. The ball sailed over the rf fence and landed on the roof top of a building on the other side of the street! This had to have rattled poor Hank as he gave up three more runs in that inning. Hulvey pitched well in the seventh, again striking out Ruth on 4 pitches. Hulvey was lifted in the bottom of the 7th for a pinch hitter and was the pitcher of record in the 6-3 loss. With the exception of that one inning, it appears the man pitched great against the best team in baseball that year, yet was never given another chance.
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On 10-3-1911, the Red Sox played a double header in New York. In the top of the second inning of the first game, Duffy Lewis was on 3b and Jack Lewis on 1b with one out. As Hugh Bradley struck out, the Lewises (no relation) pulled off a double steal. Jack Lewis was shaken up in a collision with New York shortstop Roy Hartzell at 2b and Duffy Lewis was given permission to run for him. Apparently, one Lewis is as good as another. (The inning ended without Duffy advancing any further and Jack returned to the game.)
List of Courtesy Runners
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Imagine picking up a newspaper and reading "This season's home run avalanche in the major leagues has created more stir than any one thing connected with the playing of the game in many years." Not surprising? Well, this is from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer of 6-19-1928.
This is the start of a column proposing changes to the rules trying to limit the number of homers being hit at that time. There were some ballparks with 250-foot porches that "sluggers" could blast a ball into for a home run. One anonymous club owner suggested that for a batter to receive four bases the fence would have to be at least 300 feet from the plate. The 250-300 foot distance would be a triple.
The writer mentioned some of the problems trying to set that rule. Among thgem the fact that the League Park wall in right field was 290 feet away but it was a 20 foot wall with a 25 foot screen on top making it harder to clear than many other short distances. The writer recommended calculating it by height plus distance. He further suggested that the height of screens should be standardized.
The writer states "anything that could be done to erase pop-fly homers would serve as a welcome change. As fond of slugging as the fans are, there are few who are not utterly disgusted with the ever increasing number of cheap home runs."
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I came across a couple of weird things while inputting the Mets/Expos series in August, 1975. First of all, there are some, er, interesting differences of opinion between Gary Duschl's (Montreal) scoresheets and those of the Mets' scorer:
Date Inn Batter Duschl Mets 8/4 4th Jorgensen 43 31 8/5 2nd Mackanin 9 2/FL 8/5 3rd Hall 5/P 6/P 8/6 1st Millan 1/L 13 8/6 3rd Millan 8/F 4/P 8/6 3rd Unser 9/F 8/F 8/6 7th Biittner 9/F 4/PSome of these aren't overly surprising (8/F vs. 9/F), but can somebody explain how a foul out to the catcher can be confused with a fly ball to right?The other interesting happening in this series was in the Mets' sixth inning on 8/6. The Mets had two out, Grote on first and were down 4-2 against Steve Renko. Here's what happened:
Mike Phillips worked a 3-2 walk in a 7 pitch AB. John Milner, batting for Hank Webb, drew a 3-2 walk in an 8 pitch AB, loading the bases. Del Unser cleared the bases with a double down the lf line and advanced to 3b on shortstop Pepe Frias' throwing error. Felix Millan followed with his own double down the LF line, scoring Unser. Lefty Fred Scherman relieved Renko to pitch to Ed Kranepool, who added the third successive double down the LF line, scoring Millan. Scherman intentionally walked Dave Kingman and hit Rusty Staub with a pitch, reloading the bases. Wayne Garrett drew a 3-2 walk, scoring Kranepool. Chuck Taylor replaced Scherman and walked Jerry Grote on a 3-2 pitch, scoring Kingman. Finally, Mike Phillips popped up to Frias, ending the inning.
Nine straight Mets batters reached base -- 4 on full-count walks, 3 on successive doubles down the lf line, 1 on an HBP and 1 on an intentional walk. If that is not incredible enough, this all happened with two outs and every batter except Kingman and Staub (0-1 on the HBP) had two strikes on him. In fact, each of those batters (except Grote [2-2] and Kingman) was behind at some point in the count (Milner started 0-2, Unser 0-2 (his double was on a 1-2 pitch), Millan 0-2, Kranepool 1-2 (his double was on a 2-2 pitch), Staub 0-1, Garrett 0-1).
What a weird inning!
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Skilton's Baseball Links chose our web site as the "Baseball Link of the Week" for May 31 - June 6. Congratulations to the RetroWeb team!
Some recently published books have mentioned Retrosheet as a source of material. Among them are Joe Dittmar's award-winning Baseball Records Registry and Lyle Spatz' New York Yankee Openers.
The University of Delaware newspaper ran an article in their 9-11 edition on Dave Smith. Titled "A Retro-record," the article discusses the 1998 home run chase, the state of baseball, and (of course) Retrosheet. The accompanying photo showed "Professor Baseball" at RetroCentral.
Bill Arnold has given Retrosheet two nice credits this year. He writes a wonderful column called "Beyond the Box Score" which appears electronically as well as in various newspapers. Bill acknowledged our help with some research related to Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game as well as help with a study on teams that had large leads in the standings.
Paul White gave us two credits in his column in Baseball Weekly this summer. The Hack Wilson RBI story for 1930 was the first and the details of Barry Bonds' becoming the first player with 400 homers and 400 stolen bases was the other.
The Trenton (New Jersey) Times and Chicago Sun-Times had brief pieces about Retrosheet after their writers discovered our web page.
Luke Kraemer was interviewed about Retrosheet in some detail for a publication called "The Games People Play", where there are lots of fans who replay full seasons. At the SABR meeting in San Francisco, Clem Comly and Mark Pankin made research presentations which featured Retrosheet prominently. Clem's talk, which was titled "Managers and Retrosheet, or I Was Dave Smith's Cyberslave", was a detailed study on lineup stability of various teams in our files and Mark, our webmaster, gave a "tour" of the web site. We also received kind words from Herm Krabbenhoft and Joe Dittmar as they received awards from SABR.
Finally, San Diego Padre announcer Bob Chandler interviewed Dave Smith in late August when the Padres visited Philadelphia. In the subsequent week Bob gave a description and endorsement of Retrosheet on the Padre pregame show and during a game as well. He made an appeal to San Diego fans who might have scorecards for some of the games we are still missing.
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I have an unusual umpire ruling in the 4-21-1974 game between the Twins and Rangers. Texas loaded the bases in the 6th inning. Jeff Burroughs hit a ball toward ss, which struck the runner coming off 2b, Toby Harrah. Harrah was called out properly but Burroughs was also called out (huh?). The runners on 1b and 3b were not allowed to advance. Jerry Neudecker, the 1b umpire, ejected Burroughs.
Ron Luciano, umpiring at 2b, ruled that Harrah had deliberately let the ball hit him and so called the double play. Texas manager Billy Martin protested the game.
Interestingly enough, a similar play occurred two days earlier. With the Indians at Fenway Park, the Red Sox had runners on runners on 1b and 3b in the second inning. Apparently the runner on 1b, Bob Didier, was called out for interference with the Indians' second sacker, Remy Hermoso, but a double play was not awarded. Larry McCoy ejected Ken Aspromonte, the Indians pilot, in the ensuing argument.
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In August 1933, Lou Gehrig was approaching the consecutive-games-played record of 1307 set by Everett Scott. At the beginning of the 1933 season, it was generally believed that Gehrig had played in 1197 consecutive games. On August 2, 1933 he had played 96 contests bringing him within 20 of Scott's mark. However, the quoted numbers had omitted the first game of Gehrig's streak.
As the milestone neared, the Iron Horse told the New York writers, "the published dope on my consecutive games record is incorrect. I have played in 1294 straight contests since June 1, 1925. The generally accepted total is short by one. Now that I am getting close I figure it is a good time to set the experts right.
"The baseball writers have overlooked the fact that I was a pinch hitter the day before I broke in as a regular on the Yankees. Walter Johnson was pitching for Washington and we were getting our fifth straight defeat. In the eighth inning Miller Huggins told me to bat for Peewee Wanninger, whose being sent to short that spring had snapped Scott's streak. I am sorry to say that I flied out to Goose Goslin.
"I never will forget the thrill I got the following afternoon, when Hug told me to start at first base in place of Pipp. Wally was hitting around .240 and with the club in a bad slump Hug shook up the lineup. No little thrilled, and just a trifle scared, I went to my position, and I have not been out of any game the Yankees have played since."
Gehrig was asked how he enjoyed his debut. He reached into his wallet and dragged out an old box score. It showed that in his first complete game as a Yankee, on June 2, 1925, Gehrig had collected a double and two singles off George Mogridge and had enabled the New York club to win and end a losing streak.
"I made my own break for myself and got into the Yankee lineup because I demanded a chance to play every day" Gehrig continued. Late in May we were in Chicago and I was getting tired of hanging around doing nothing. I went to Hug's room for a talk and, finding him out, waited until midnight for his return. When Hug walked into his suite he was amazed to find his rookie first baseman sitting around with a rather defiant look.
"'Sick?' Huggins asked. "Right,' I said. 'I am sick of decorating the bench. Please send me where I can play every day. It need not be in the American League. Why not send me to St. Paul and get this young shortstop, Koenig, about whom everybody is talking?'
"'I can't get you out of the American League,' Huggins replied. 'But I like your spirit. Your chance may come sooner than your expect.'"
"Has the fact that you have been reaching for Scott's record prevented your resting on a day when you ordinarily would have asked for a layoff?" Gehrig was asked. "No! Definitely no." Gehrig replied. "And when I pass the 1307 mark I intend to go right on playing. I regard this endurance record of mine as a real feat.
"Yes, it has developed a strain, just like the club's non-shutout record. The strange feature of this string of mine is that I had no idea I was heading for Scott's record until one of the writers informed me that I had played in 987 straight games. I plan to pass the record on our next Western trip. I hope it happens in Chicago."
This interview was published in the New York World-Telegram on August 2, 1933. The writer explained Gehrig's last remark by mentioning that Eleanor Twitchell, to whom Gehrig had recently announced his engagement, lived in Chicago.
Retrosheet has accounts of many of the games in Lou's streak, including the first two that he discussed here. His record "which will stand for all time" has been eclipsed and a new standard has been established recently but the Iron Horse will stand for all time as one of the greats of the game.
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Greatness at an Early Age by Wayne Townsend
On 10-3-1923, Babe Ruth, Aaron Ward, and Elmer Smith of the Yankees each played a few innings as part of the NY Giants club when they faced the minor league Baltimore Orioles in an exhibition game played at the Polo Grounds before the end of the season. The 23-year-old starting pitcher for the Orioles struck out five Giants (including Ruth) in the first two innings! His name in the box score was simply given as "Groves" - I wonder what Hall of Fame pitcher that might be? Lefty wouldn't get his chance in the big leagues for another 18 months, but here was an early indication of his greatness. Unfortunately for the hurler there was also an indication of his youth: 3 BBs, 1 HBP (it was Ruth in Babe's 2nd plate appearance), 2 HRs, 5 runs (2 ERs) in 3 IP. Ruth homered in his 3rd PA, but that wasn't off Grove.
Are Cubs Fans Smarter than Average? by Ted Turocy
While inputting games from 1911, I found the Chicago Telegram referring to that city's NL team as the "Ursi". It amuses me because just the other week I finally understood what "Eamus Catuli!" means on one of the apartment buildings across Sheffield Avenue from Wrigley Field.
[ed. note: "Ursi" is Latin for Cubs and "Eamus Catuli" is Latin for “Let's Go, Cubs”]
Like Sands through the Hourglass… by Wayne Townsend
During the 1923 season, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer lamented apologetically, "Because of the wildness of the pitchers and frequent changes, the contest lasted nearly 3 hours." Most Cleveland games lasted less than 2 hours in 1923.
Phil Birnbaum, the new editor of the SABR Statistical Analysis Committee newsletter, recently sent a note to Dave Smith. Here is a portion of that message:
"Just thought I'd drop you a line to thank you and your team for all the data. Although I haven't had the opportunity to play with it yet --I'm still using Project Scoresheet data for the '88 season -- the five seasons worth of data I've just finished downloading [from the Retrosheet web site] will certainly come in handy. Please thank all your volunteers for me. My own short attention span wouldn't even permit me to enter one game, much less the thousands of games that your most loyal people have input. This stuff is absolutely wonderful ... I appreciate much, and thanks again."
And thank you from all of us here at The Retro Sheet to our wonderful volunteers. Without your efforts there would be no Retrosheet.
Manager of the Year? by Wayne Townsend
At the beginning of the 1923 season, Red Sox manager Frank Chance was quoted as saying his club would positively finish in the AL cellar. Thanks for the motivation, coach, Mr. "Hall of Fame"....hmph. The Sox finished 37 games out - in last place of course.
This was the first year Chance had managed any club since his player/manager stint ended in 1914. It also would be his last.
A highlight of the SABR convention in San Francisco was the chance that many Retrosheeters had to meet Hall of Fame sportswriter Leonard Koppett. Leonard had lots of great stories to tell, but one of the best has to do with the game played by the Yankees in Detroit on June 24, 1962. New York won the game 9-7 in 22 innings, with Jim Bouton gaining the decision over Phil Regan. Home run trivia buffs remember the game because the winning margin came on a 22nd-inning home run by Jack Reed, the only long ball of his career. However, Koppett's story has to do with the bottom of the 11th, when Rocky Colavito led off with a triple. The Yankees followed the conventional and usually futile strategy of intentionally walking the next two batters (Norm Cash and Dick McAuliffe), thereby setting up a force at every base. They then pulled in the outfield to the areas where singles would usually land. The next batter, Chico Fernandez, obliged by hitting a line drive to left fielder John Blanchard who made the catch so close to the infield that there could be no advance. the tigers then tried a squeeze and Dick Brown popped the bunt into a 2-5 double play to nd the inning. So the desperation strategy does occasionally work!
Although we now take it for granted that the home team bats last, this was only formalized in the rules in 1950. Prior to that it was the home team's option. It would appear that it is always advantageous to bat last, since it gives the chance for a sudden-death win. However, there are interesting cases where the expected did not occur. For example, in the very first game played by the New York Yankees (called the highlanders then), on April 22, 1903, the New Yorkers batted last because the home town Washington Senators chose to bat first. The reason for this selection was to have more chances to bat the new ball, which quickly lost its resilience since games in those days were often played with one ball for the entire contest. Ron Fisher has entered several games from the 1901 New York Evening Telegram and has also encountered cases of the home team choosing to bat first.
This is currently a problem for our software, but one which can be fixed.
Ain't We Classy?
John Rickert co-authored a paper appearing in the May issue of the College Mathematics Journal. They ask each author for a picture and short biography, so he managed to work in a last sentence containing "and is a supporter of Retrosheet". So Retrosheet has now been mentioned (sort of) in a refereed mathematics journal with a moderately high readership (for a mathematics journal). It's on page 189.
Meal Money Is Not What It Used to Be (thankfully)
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of 7-26-1947:
The Browns not only lost the game, but they also discovered that the club had limited the players to $5 per day for meals during the three-day stay in Boston. Some players had been going over this mark. In the past here, players signed dining room checks for meals and the club paid the bills. In other cities, players are given $5 per day in cash.
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Here is our usual edition-ending feature: the report on group activity since the last issue of TRS. The smallest number of games entered in a single week during this period was 58 and the highest was 295.
Total Games in Computer (All Years before 1984) 49,338 Games Entered since last Report 2,792 Days since last Report (5/24/98 to 9/26/98) 126 Games Entered per Week (18 weeks) 155.1 Games Entered per Day (The Fisher Index) 22.2
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Page Updated: 11/6/98Copyrighted: Retrosheet, 1998