About

The Retro Sheet

Official Publication of Retrosheet, Inc.

Volume 4, No. 1 May 1997



Table of Contents

Annual Meeting
Retrosheet Has Moved!
View from the Vault
How Long Did You Say?
What Did You Say?
Projects
Game Account Acquisitions
Scoresheet Discrepancies
Publicity
Courtesy Runners
Newly Completed Team- and League-seasons
Strange and Unusual Plays
Files Available
The Scoreboard

Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of Retrosheet, open to all interested parties, will be held on June 22, 1997 at 9:00am in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Louisville , KY. The meeting, as always, will be held during the SABR convention. Anyone wishing to suggest an item for the meeting agenda should contact Dave Smith.

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Retrosheet Has Moved!

One of the reasons for the delay in getting this edition of The Retro Sheet out is that Dave Smith has moved. It is only a distance of five miles, but it puts Dave within walking distance of his office (about six minutes), whereas before he was about five miles away. Moving day was May 3 and everything was safely transported by Dave and three University of Delaware graduate students, including Retrosheet volunteer Jon Dunkle. Jon did the majority of the lifting in the moving of the Project Scoresheet archive files from the attic of the old house to the attic of the new one. Despite a steady rain Jon and the others completed the move of the Smith household in about 7 hours, taking two trips in the largest U-Haul truck, transporting 95 boxes of Retrosheet material and 7 filing cabinets. This will be the permanent address of Retrosheet, at least given the limited ability we have to control such things. The phone number for Retrosheet stays the same, 302-731-1570, and the new address is:

20 Sunset Rd.
Newark, DE 19711

Retrosheet Has Moved!

No, this isn't an accidental repeat of the previous header. This time we are referring to the electronic address of Retrosheet on the Internet. Thanks to the generosity of the people at Total Sports, the publisher of Total Baseball among other things, we now have retrosheet.org as our permanent URL. Mark Pankin, the Retro-webmaster, worked with the Total Sports people to get everything transferred and we are up and running at the new site. For a while the old Internet address will also work, but please change your bookmarks to the new one at your convenience. The complete new address is:

http://www.retrosheet.org

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View from the Vault

David W. Smith, President

In the past five years Retrosheet volunteers have done an extraordinary amount of work in entering games into the computer, as is summarized in the Scoreboard of the Retro Sheet each time. However, as we continue to increase the number of computerized games, we have paradoxically created a new problem, which has to do with the release of data files, usually by putting them on our web page. The dilemma is the need to do some measure of proofing of the files before they are made public. The situation that I desperately want to avoid is to distribute "raw" files that may have serious errors (incorrect lineups, for example) which could give rise to misleading conclusions on the part of users. Once a file has been released, it cannot be called back, and no matter how many times we publish a correction, the flawed file will very likely still exist on someone's computer. In order to minimize the chance of such a dreadful scenario, I have always insisted on completing a substantial degree of proofing and checking before I send out a file. This all sounds fine, but the reality has been that our rate of entering games has far exceeded the rate of proofing. Since I control the balance between these two activities, I must be the one to initiate changes. Therefore, as important as data entry is, I am going to consciously shift towards more rapid proofing, at least by comparison to a good quality box score, such as those of The Sporting News. Of course, we will continue to enter games, but it is important to remember (for me as much as anyone) that our primary objective is the distribution of our information, not just the computerization of it.

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How Long Did You Say?

The following article is from the St. Louis Star of August 22, 1925:

"American League umpires have been requested repeatedly to speed up the games," declared Umpire Clarence Rowland at Sportsman's Park yesterday. "We must make a report of every game that goes over two hours, naming the player or players who are delaying play, and if necessary, suspensions will be dealt out."

Oftentimes, according to Rowland, official scorers fail to clock the games correctly and games that do not last over two hours are recorded as longer. The result is that a controversy arises, when the umpires are asked why they did not report the reason for the length of those particular contests.

Now, a new ruling has been put in effect, in some cities, at least, whereby the umpire keeps the time of the game and announces it to the official scorer at the conclusion of the day's activities.

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What Did You Say?

The following is from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer of July 7, 1925:

"Chicago, July 6 - Radio broadcasting is prohibited from the parks of the American League. This was revealed today when the Chicago Daily News station WMAQ was denied permission to broadcast from the White Sox park. The club owners voted to prohibit broadcasting presumably because they figured it would affect patronage."

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Projects

One effort that we have mentioned here before is the completion of all Baltimore Orioles games (the 1954-present version, not the 1901-1902 crowd). Jim Herdman has finished the 1954 season for the Birds, while Dave Lamoureaux has completed 1955 and is nearly done with the last of 1957 (Jim Wohlenhaus did several from the start of that season). Tim Cashion is working on 1958 and Luke Kraemer has the 1956 squad in his sights. Wayne Townsend has finished off a number of games from 1969-1974, so the 1950s contests are all that remain. At this time there are two games for which we don't have accounts: a doubleheader played by the Orioles in Philadelphia on August 31, 1954.

With the acquisition of the last Mets-Padres games for 1982, that season has been completed. Thanks to great help from Pete Palmer, John Jarvis and David Vincent, both leagues have been proofed and the event files are posted on our web site. Pete is also working on the 1981 and 1980 AL, while John will soon begin on the 1981 NL and Jay Wigley has spent a lot of time on the 1980 NL. This all means that we have completed the computer entry for all games played after 1979 for both leagues. We have also finished the 1979 and 1978 AL along with all the NL games we have for those seasons (we still need accounts for 20 NL games from 1978 and 30 from 1979).

The AL work has been done by several people, most notably Greg Beston, Doug Burks and Jon Dunkle. Greg is plowing through the 1977 AL now, with a probable completion of this season to take place this summer.

Bill Disney has completed work on the Big Red Machine of 1975 and 1976, although we are missing two of their games from September, 1975 against the Braves. Bill is now processing the 1974 Reds.

Scott Fischthal has finished the 1967 and 1968 Mets and, since the 1969 season for this team was done some time ago, has turned to the 1970 team.

Christopher Chestnut completed the 1969 Pilots, a team of some notoriety.

Before tackling the Orioles, Dave Lamoureaux completed the 1965 AL, except for the three games (Boston at California) that we are missing.

Arnie Braunstein did a few hundred Orioles games from the 1960s and 1970s and has now turned his attention to computer entry of the games of the 1940 Indians which Brad Sullivan transcribed from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This set includes the opening-day no-hitter by Bob Feller.

David Vincent continues his time-trip through 1925. At press time, 678 games have been input from the total season of 1,227 games (55% of the season).

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Game Account Acquisitions

There are several developments under this heading, but one of the most satisfying is the completion of 1982 National League season. You may recall that we were missing a three games series between the Mets and Padres, played in San Diego in April of that year. Chris Leible works in the PR department of the Mets and he turned his attention to our problem, since he was determined that, in his words, the Mets weren't going to be an obstacle to our work. Chris called around to sportswriters who covered the Mets in 1982 and struck paydirt in the person of Dan Castellano, who wrote for the Newark Star Ledger at that time. Dan was willing to let us have the information, but he was reluctant to loan his scorebooks for copying. Chris then volunteered to have Dan read all the plays from his scorebook, which Chris wrote down on a fresh scoresheet and then FAXed them all to Dave Smith (the second game in the series went 15 innings). Here is a strong Retro-salute to Chris Leible of the Mets for his crucial contribution to our collection efforts.

Frank Phelps is a SABR member who attended his first Major League game in New York in 1927, watching the Yankees beat the Tigers for their 106th win of the season. We sent him a play by play account and expanded box score of the game, which he appreciated very much. He then loaned to Joe Dittmar his entire personal collection of scorecards from games he attended up through the 1940s. Joe copied them and sent them along to us.

Joe Dittmar also loaned us some audio tapes of a few games that we didn't have, but which are commercially available from a company called Danrick Enterprises. Dave Smith also purchased the tapes for two more games from the same company.

Joe also obtained the 1921 Chicago Daily News on microfilm and copied all the play by play accounts they had for the White Sox and Cubs. Although a complete set for the season, there are a lot of "new" games for us. Many thanks to Joe for always keeping Retrosheet in mind. Joe and Lyle Spatz continue to make copies of game accounts that they encounter during their research efforts, which are very helpful to us.

Luke Kraemer obtained some scorebooks for Philadelphia games in the 1940s (and some earlier) via an auction through Sports Collectors Digest. Luke has begun copying these games and sending them to Dave Smith, helping us with an era and a city that have been very difficult for us. Luke also obtained a 1946 Boston Braves scorebook via auction. Let's hope there are more of these waiting for us out there in someone's attic.

During the winter Dave contacted several sportswriters in Atlanta and Houston, trying to get scorebooks for the many games we need involving the Braves and Astros (many of them against the Expos). He was able to borrow books from Wayne Minshew in Atlanta and Joe Heiling in Houston and we obtained accounts for several games that we were missing. Unfortunately, neither of these writers had all the games we needed, but the search continues.

Our collection of Dodger games was improved, thanks to the help of Gordon Verrell, a writer for the Long Beach Press Telegram. Gordon began covering the Dodgers in 1969 and had all the games we were missing from 1975, 1978, and 1979. We are still missing five Dodger games from 1968 in order to complete our Los Angeles Dodger collection. Of course, the irony is that, thanks to Allan Roth, we have all Brooklyn Dodger games from 1947-1957.

Dick Bresciani is the Vice-President for Public Relations for the Red Sox. In February Dick sent to Luke Kraemer some scorecards of Red Sox games in the early 1950s that he kept as a boy. Slowly but surely we are expanding our holdings in the period 1945-1955 which has proved so difficult for us.

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Scoresheet Discrepancies

One of the more interesting Retrosheet discoveries is the inconsistency between different scorers at the same game. Most of the differences are not major, but it does mean that we have less than complete confidence about things such as fielding totals. Here a few examples:

Stuart Shea entered the following comment for a 1969 game: "Davis play confused; Hunter says K23; Padres say K/C and Dodgers say 7/F!!! Check this please!!!". So much for the expected value of having three different sources for a single game! Doug Burks is also very good at finding differences between scoresheets. Doug recently checked in with a play that was scored 53 by one scorer and K by the other.

Speaking of scorers not paying attention, Jon Dunkle came across a 1978 Oakland game in which the A's scorer added three plays beyond the end of the game. We had a scoresheet from the opposition for this game and the two agreed on the rest of the game; the A's just kept going. In an unrelated note, Jon managed to persuade his wife Liz to do the input on a game. Maybe this is the start of a family trend for Retrosheet!

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Publicity

Retrosheet continues to get favorable mentions in various sources. The Mets and White Sox gave us acknowledgements in their media guides for work that we did for them this winter. Bill Arnold of the San Francisco Chronicle mentions us in his column very often as we uncover little tidbits for him. January saw the publication of the Baseball Time Line, edited by Burt Solomon. Retrosheet provided a number of items for Burt we received a nice acknowledgment for the effort. There is a Brooklyn Dodgers web page which has posted most of the data about the 1955 Dodgers that Dave Smith prepared for the New York Daily News in 1995. The Dodgers also have a web page with a special Jackie Robinson section that displays a lot of Retrosheet data. The March issue of Baseball Digest had several quotes from Dave Smith about baseball records and history. In early April Dave and Lyle Spatz attended the Jackie Robinson conference at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, a gathering which was attended by Jackie's gracious widow, Rachel, and for which Roger Kahn was the keynote speaker. Dave and Lyle both presented papers and flew the Retro-flag in the process. Clem Comly made a presentation at the Philadelphia regional SABR meeting on May 10, giving the results of a study that relied on Retrosheet data. In the Mets' April 15 media notes, Chris Leible included many Jackie Robinson pages, with statistical information provided by and credited to Retrosheet.

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Courtesy Runners

For a time, a courtesy runner was allowed for a player if that player had been injured and at the moment couldn't continue. That courtesy runner then was replaced defensively by the original player. Here are the known instances of this event from our files:

04/23/1925 (Reds at Cardinals) - In the bottom of the third inning, Rogers Hornsby was hit in the head by a pitch from Dolph Luque. Hornsby dropped to the ground and eventually went to first base, even though he was groggy. However, before the next play, Hornsby was replaced from the bench by Specs Torporcer by consent of the Reds manager Jack Hendricks.

Hornsby returned to his position at second in the top of the fourth but had problems. He was replaced in the field by Torporcer at the start of the sixth inning and went to the hospital. The doctor reported a slight concussion. Hornsby returned to the lineup on 4/28 after missing two games.

08/07/1925 G1 (Indians at Athletics) - In the top of the first, Pat McNulty singled to the first baseman. Jack Quinn, in covering the bag on the play, stepped on McNulty's toes and by permission of Manager Connie Mack, Luke Sewell ran for McNulty while McNulty's wounds were dressed. McNulty returned to the game and Sewell did not appear in the official record. Cliff Lee pinch hit for McNulty in the eighth inning.

04/17/1926 (Dodgers at Phillies) - In the bottom of the third inning, Clarence Huber was hit by a pitch and replaced by Heinie Sand, who was already in the lineup playing shortstop. In the top of the fourth, Sand returned to short and Huber went back to third base. However, Huber left the game at the start of the fifth inning and was replaced by Russ Whitestone at third.

06/14/1949 (Indians at Red Sox) - In the top of the first inning, Joe Gordon hit a grand slam off Joe Dobson to make the score 5-0 with no outs. As usual for that time, Dobson hit the next batter, first baseman Lou Boudreau. Boudreau was replaced as a runner by Ken Keltner who was already in the lineup as the third baseman. (Keltner had just scored on the slam.) Dobson walked the next batter and left the game without retiring anyone. Keltner scored another run on a single to right by Bob Feller. In the bottom of the first, both Keltner and Boudreau take the field at their assigned spots.

07/02/1949 (Browns at Indians) - In the bottom of the ninth inning, Ray Boone was hit on the arm by a pitch from Karl Drews. Jim Hegan, already in the lineup catching, ran for Boone and scored. Since this inning was the end of the game, the players do not return to their defensive positions.

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Newly Completed Team- and League-Seasons

A complete list will be published in the next issue.

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Strange and Unusual Plays

From Doug Burks:
On September 18, 1980 the White Sox beat the Mariners in Seattle. The bottom line was 9 pitchers, 10 pinch-hitters, 4 pinch-runners, and 41 total players. Doug's comment: "I hope the over­heating managerial brain cells did not detract from seeing this taut 5­4 game in person. Only 4293 know for sure".

From Jim Wohlenhaus:
In the game of June 14, 1974, Boston at California, Luis Tiant pitched a complete game of 14.1 innings and lost, while Nolan Ryan went 13 innings and struck out 19. Cecil Cooper was 0 for 8.

From Stu Shea:
Stu found an odd play in the San Diego at Philadelphia game of August 23, 1969. Rick Joseph of the Phillies was retired on play scored as K53. Yes, you read that correctly. Newspaper research does not reveal any details, but the fielding credit for the day in two box scores makes it seem that K53 is correct.

From Joe Dittmar:
The first game in Ebbets Field was played on April 9, 1913. The Philadelphia Evening Telegraph noted that the park was still receiving "finishing touches", and said: "The diamond is covered with grass, but the outfield is as bare as Mother Hubbard's cupboard. This should make the handling of hard-hit grounders in the outfield very difficult".

From Rick Elliott:
On September 7, 1953 (second game), Billy Hoeft struck out the side on 9 pitches. The Chicago victims were Jim Rivera, Mike Fornieles, and Chico Carrasquel.

Tiger manager Fred Hutchinson plays himself at first base the last three innings to end the season (September 27, 1953). This was the only game in his career that he appeared at a position other than pitcher.

June 15, 1955, New York at Detroit: "The game was delayed 23 minutes due to an air­raid alert test. There's a piece of Americana for you".

From Dave Smith:
How about a strikeout with the batter being retired 767? In the game of April 25, 1970, Tiger pitcher Earl Wilson struck out to end the seventh inning in the Twin Cities. Or so it appeared to everyone except Detroit third base coach Grover Resinger. He saw that Twins catcher Paul Ratliff trapped the pitch in the dirt, did not tag Wilson and rolled the ball to the mound. Resinger told Wilson to start running as most of the Twins entered the dugout. Earl got to first easily and headed for second. Since no one interfered with him, he started for third. By this time, Brant Alyea, who was trotting in from left field, heard Resinger shouting at Wilson. Alyea hustled to the mound but had trouble picking up the ball. Wilson headed for home where Twins Leo Cardenas and Ratliff had returned. Alyea finally picked up the ball and threw to Cardenas. Wilson turned back to third but was tagged out by Alyea for a K767. Rookie catcher Ratliff was charged with an error. After the game, Detroit catcher Bill Freehan said "If Alyea had been hustling, Earl might have made it [home]. Tell him [Alyea] to start coming in and off the field a little quicker." The aftermath of the story is that Wilson pulled a hamstring muscle running the bases and had to leave the game.

From David Vincent:
May 15, 1925, Cardinals at Dodgers: (From The New York Evening World account of the top of the fifth)

"The game was delayed while Umpire Sweeney directed Rickey to keep all but the next 2 batters on the bench. It was a thrilling argument and served only to delay what was already a very slow game. After several minutes Sweeney went to consult with Unpire O'Day about the rules regarding the occasion. Apparently Sweeney won the argument as only Bottomley and Bell were allowed to stand alongside of the bench while Hornsby was hitting."

July 18, 1925, Senators at Indians: In the top of the sixth with Washington ahead 11-4, Bert Cole's first pitch sailed near Goose Goslin's head. Goslin walked towards Cole with his club raised but Umpire Connolly grabbed him by the arm and led him back to the batter's box. Goslin then knocked four pop fouls and grounded out (31). As Goslin neared the bag, he jumped on Cole and knocked him down; when Cole got up he rushed Goslin. Umpire Evans got between them and both benches emptied. As Goslin returned to the bench he was greeted with a shower of pop bottles; police went to the left field stands to quiet the crowd. Connolly ejected Goslin, who was escorted from the park by police. Nothing like a nice day at the ballpark!

August 30, 1925, Indians at Red Sox: In the bottom of the fifth, Val Picinich doubled. Pitcher Paul Zahniser followed him to the plate and hit a "come-backer" to the pitcher. Picinich was run down (1654) and Zahniser was doubled trying for second (438) with Indians' center fielder Tris Speaker sneaking in to make the put-out.

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Files Available

The following data files are available at our Web site:
1967 AL
1982 AL/NL
1983 AL/NL

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The Scoreboard

We follow the practice of publishing a short version of the scoreboard in this issue. We publish a complete version once a year. The current summary for regular-season games is as follows:


Total Games in Computer (All Years before 1984)         38,623
Games Entered since last Report                          5,820
Days since last Report (12/17/96 to 5/17/97)               151
Games Entered per Week (21 weeks and 4 days)             244.8
Games Entered per Day                                     34.9

The smallest number of games input in a single week during this period was 72 and the highest was 1311.

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Page Updated: 6/2/97

Copyrighted: Retrosheet, 1997