The Retro Sheet

Official Publication of Retrosheet, Inc.

Volume 3, No. 4 December 1996

Table of Contents

Hall of Fame Inputting
View from the Vault
New Utility Programs
Orioles Request
Game Account Acquisitions
Newly Completed Team- and League-seasons
Strange and Unusual Plays
Retrosheet Holdings
The Scoreboard

Hall of Fame Inputting

Although we have many Retrosheet volunteers deserving of the title, this piece is actually about the inputting of the careers of various members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Currently, there are three Hall of Famers whose complete careers are computerized. They have all been done by Dave Smith and should come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to him talk about his favorite team, the Dodgers. The first HOF to be completed was Sandy Koufax, followed by Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. Dave is within 20 games of finishing Duke Snider's career as well. As a group, we have approached completion on Mike Schmidt's playing days and that might be done by the next newsletter.

The RetroVault contains complete paper copies of the careers of approximately 30 players who are in the Hall of Fame or will be soon. One of the latter, George Brett has already been input and we are close to complete on Nolan Ryan. Anyone willing to work on a project of this nature should contact Dave Smith.

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View from the Vault

David W. Smith, President

The American and National Leagues played 115,666 games from 1901 through 1983. As The Scoreboard summarizes later in this newsletter, we now have 51.1% of the 20th century games in hand. I realize that it is possible to make too much of these intermediate milestones, but I always feel a special pleasure when we cross a special threshold, such as the 50% mark. We can't know for sure where we will end up, but there is no question that many thousand more accounts are available from microfilmed newspapers, so let us give thanks for Interlibrary Loan and it's off to the library I go!

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New Utility Programs

We now have a new utility program called MISSING that will read event files and report on missing information. It checks for start time, time of game, umpires, attendance, winning/losing pitchers, and a day/night indicator. We will take the results of MISSING and find the necessary information, usually in newspaper box scores. Once we have this fill-in data we turn to the second of our new programs, UPDATE. Update accepts information for the above named fields and writes them to a data file. This program should be relatively easy to use, since it looks almost exactly like the opening screens of DWENTRY. The resultant data file from UPDATE will be sent to Dave Smith, who will merge the information into the event files.

These programs will be placed into use soon so that we can start the process of completing game information in our event files. If you are interested in reading old newspapers to help with this (The New York Times will usually supply this info), please contact Dave Smith.

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Orioles Request

John Maroon and Bill Stetka in the Orioles Public Relations office asked if in the next year we could provide them a daily summary for all players in Baltimore history. We answered yes (of course!) Since the Orioles were the first team to let us copy their scoresheets, we got started on their games over five years ago. After all the various projects that have been done, the seasons that still need attention are 1954, which Jim Herdman is doing, 1955 (no one working there yet), 1956 (Luke Kraemer is attacking as part of his larger 1956 effort), 1957 (no one there either), and 1958, which Tim Cashion has begun. Ron Rakowski has completed their games from 1958-1961, Dave Lamoureaux from 1962-1965 (minus the few games at the end of September he is still doing), 1966 and 1967 are complete, and 1975-present are also finished. From 1969-1974 there are about 250 games to do, many of which are currently in the hands of Arnie Braunstein. Arnie has input a large number of games this summer and fall which had been previously translated by several different volunteers. Wayne Townsend tackled some from this group as well and has now turned his attention to some of the "stragglers" that weren't completed earlier, perhaps 20 for each of these seasons. The Orioles were told we could have this project completed by the end of the 1997 season, which still looks reasonable. If anyone out there has an interest in doing the 1955 or 1957 teams, let Dave Smith know and the games will be on their way to you.

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You will notice a different World Wide Web address for the RetroPage at the top of this paper. The previous address is still good, but we now have a different, more unique address. Check it out! [Added by "Webmaster": The new address does not show on the web editon. It is "https://home.ml.org/retrosheet". However, since you are here, you don't really need to know this! Tell your baseball fan friends abount our new address.]

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Rick Elliott has finished 1953 DET and has begun working on 1955 DET. He is also planning to do some proofing and checking on the 1953 team once Dave Smith gets him a list of the discrepancies between the data from our files and the official numbers. Rick contributes lots of entertaining comments along the way, with this one about 1953 of special note:

In the middle [of June], of course there was Boston's legendary 17­run seventh inning on June 18th, and the Big­League debut on June 25th of one of the most popular and talented Tigers ever to don the uniform. I'm referring, of course, to Robert Gerald Miller. (Some newbie by the name of Kaline also got his start in that same game.)

Clem Comly finished the 1978 NL with the exception of the 26 games we don't have in the vault. He is now working on the 1977 season.

Chris Long has finished the 1974 Phillies and is now doing their 1975 season. When Clem and Chris finish their current projects, we will be within a half season (last part of 1976) from having Mike Schmidt's career complete.

Greg Beston, Jon Dunkle, Doug Burks, and Mark Dobrow have nearly completed the 1980 AL season. Doug has the last four games to do and then we will have another league season in the can. In addition, Greg and Jon finished the 1979 AL off in November. The Four Horsemen of the AL have turned their attention now to the 1978 season.

Steve Hamilton completed work on the 1965 Cardinals and has moved on to the 1966 team. In addition, Steve is planning to do proofing on the 1965 Cardinals' totals.

Wayne Townsend finished off the 1968 Orioles season. See elsewhere in this issue for further discussion of the Orioles.

Bob Kapla, a longtime Twins fan, completed the entry of the historic 1965 team.

Ron Fisher has finished the 1945 Senators except for the two games that were missing from the team files.

Scott Fischthal has finished the 1967 Mets and has almost completed the 1968 season.

Jim Herdman has entered 280 of the 621 AL games played in 1954, finishing the Senators (minus a game we don't have). He currently has the last of the Orioles games from their inaugural year in Baltimore and intends to keep pounding through the rest of the league.

Dave Lamoureaux continues his steady progress through the 1965 AL (all teams). He has now reached September 18 and should have the last three weeks of the season done in January.

Stuart Shea is making progress through the 1969 Padres, which is quite a challenge, not only because the team was pretty bad, but their scoresheets are incomplete and not the finest game accounts in the vault.

Marc Stephenson is also entering games from the 1969 NL, working his way through from the start, paying attention to all teams at once, except for the Mets and Cubs which are finished and the Padres which Stu Shea is doing.

Tim Cashion rounds out our 1969 NL assault by tackling the Expos. This is not so easy, since their scoresheets are very difficult to read, mostly because of the quality of the photocopies.

Brad Sullivan has translated all the 1940 Indians games from the Plain Dealer, so we have another team-season awaiting input.

David Vincent continues work on the 1925 season from various newspaper accounts; as of this writing we have more than 1/3 of the season computerized with an expected goal of 90% of all games played. In addition, David has found accounts of games in April 1901 in the Chicago Daily News. The most exciting part of this is that we now have input the first American League game ever played (Cleveland at Chicago, 4/24) along with a few others from that time.

All-Star Games: This is the last group of "special" games not finished. Tim Cashion spent the time to prepare the rosters for each year's game and has entered several of the early games already. David Vincent has also done a few of these games. It looks like we will have the set complete sometime during the winter or early spring.

The 1920s: The graph later on shows the very interesting way in which our holdings are distributed. Of special note is the large bulge we have in the "Roaring 20s". Jim Weigand copied Cleveland Plain Dealer accounts from 1917 through 1928 and Dave Smith has copied accounts from several New York papers as well as Chicago and St. Louis. The result is that for the years 1920-1930, we have in our hands accounts for 5785 of the 13532 games that were played in those 11 season. We have entered 2079 in the computer as of December 17. Ron Fisher completed the New York games from 1928-1930, Dave Smith and Tim Cashion have done a lot on 1927 and continue to do so. Tom Eckel is working on the 1926 New York games. David Vincent has already entered over one third of the 1925 season and has another 200 or so game accounts on the way from Dave Smith. Rob Neyer is nearly done the New York games for April of 1924 while Wayne Townsend is processing April of 1923. Ron Fisher has finished April and May of 1921 and Clem Comly has done the same (plus some of June) for 1920. Kevin Hennessy has done many Chicago White Sox games from 1920. Going back a bit earlier we find Joe Costa starting on the 1919 Indians while Bruce Borey and Chuck Voas have completed around 120 games for the 1917 Indians.

The only year not being worked on in the 1920s is 1922. Any takers?

The point to this summary is how amazing (and wonderful!) it is that we can have such success with newspaper accounts. There are many more out there and we will certainly continue to gather them up.

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We are trying to standardize some of the most common comments placed in event files so that it is easier to search for particular types of extra information in the files.

Home runs:
1) Before 1931 (1930 in the AL), balls in play that bounded out of the field were homers. These are the plays that are currently "ground rule doubles." Note that there are examples of this event where the ball does not bounce over the fence but rather through a gap in the fence. Since we now have many people working in the 1920s, bounce homers will appear in game accounts. Please follow these guidelines: (a) since the ball leaves the playing field, it is HR/7 (substitute the correct field position); (b) add a comment after the homer with the wording "Bounce HR".

2) For inside the park home runs, we want to add a comment similar to the bounce situation. The syntax for these is HR7 (substitute the correct field position). Add a comment after the homer with the text "IPHR".

For both comments, you may add extra information as long as you start with the requested text. Examples of additional commentary would be anything that further explains the game situation ("IPHR to the scoreboard" or "Bounce HR; ball went through hole in scoreboard").

If you discover commentary about someone being ejected, please note the details in a comment. Specifically, list the names of the umpire and player/coach/manager tossed and the reason if available. Always use the form "Player ejected by Umpire for spitting in his face" in the comment.

Rain delays:
The key words here are "rain delay." If the timing is listed either as a length of time or a start and end time, note it, but the word we want to see is "delay" (it could be for other reasons as well.)

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Game Account Acquisitions

Original SABR member Joe Simenic of Cleveland has donated copies of his scoresheets from the 1946 season. Joe attended most Indians home games that summer after returning from his time in the military and saved those sheets (he must have known we would show up on his doorstep some day!) Joe's sheets cover 62 of the 77 home games that year including the last game played at League Park. While checking some facts for that game in The Sporting News, Joe and David Vincent discovered a game account for the first game of a doubleheader on 9/22/46 between the Tigers and the Indians. The feature of this game was the starting pitchers: Hal Newhouser against Bob Feller. In his typical understated style, Bill Veeck promoted that game as the "pitching matchup of the century." The account in TSN of this game has pitches listed (B1 S1 swinging S2 foul B2 B3 S3 called). The game ended as a 3-0 win for Newhouser and the two pitchers threw a combined total of 241 pitches (97 for Newhouser). With this account added to Joe's, we have 63 of 77 home games for the 1946 Indians! A big RetroThanks to Joe for his contribution. By the way, David input both the Newhouser game and the last game at League Park with Joe's help.

We continue to photocopy accounts from various newspapers. Many afternoon papers listed complete play-by-play of that day's game. Since this was such a common occurrence in the early 1920s, we will have better coverage of that era than many later years (such as the late 1940s and early 1950s).

Also see the discussion under Publicity for more on Game Account Acquisitions.

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Paul White mentioned us in his column in Baseball Weekly in late November, including the dates of some key games we needed : one between DET and MIL from 9/27/75, the only missing game from that AL season for us and the now-infamous NYN at SDN series from April, 1982. Within a week Dave Smith had received personal scorecards of two of the games from fans who attended. The MIL game came from John Salvo of Racine, WI and Tom Larwin of San Diego sent his card for the first 11 innings of the 15 inning game of April 28, 1982. Thanks to Paul, John and Tom.

The December issue of Inside Sports had an article by Noah Lieberman on record-keeping in baseball. He interviewed Pete Palmer of Total Baseball, Gary Gillette of the Baseball Workshop and Dave Smith on their activities, giving Retrosheet another nice public notice.

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Newly Completed Team- and League-Seasons

See Volume 3 number 2 for comprehensive list, with additions in last edition. The following details completions since the last newsletter.

1978 NL (minus the 26 games we don't have)
1979 AL

1945 WS1 (minus the two games we don't have)
1965 SLN, MIN
1967 NYN
1968 BAL
1974 PHI

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Strange and Unusual Plays

From Jon Dunkle:
8/4/79 (White Sox at Blue Jays) - Ralph Garr leads off the game with the following play S5.BX2(46); Jon reports that both scoresheets agree and that newspapers should be checked to figure out just what happened.

From Scott Fischthal:
5/26/68 (Mets at Braves) - The game was called by rain after six innings. According to the scoresheet, the umpires wore turtlenecks that day and NY GM John Murphy asks: "When are they going to wear beads?"

From Joe Costa:
5/2/19 (Tigers at Cleveland) - With Ralph Young at the plate and a runner on 1b, the play is 13/SH/DP.1X2(38). It seems that Tris Speaker, known for playing shallow, snuck in behind the Ira Flagstead for an unusual double play.

From Dave Smith:
9/22/80 (Angels at Brewers) - With Sal Bando on 3b, Jim Gantner on 2b, and Buck Martinez at bat, we have the everyday double play CSH(25)/DP.2X3(46).

While copying the 1923 games from the New York Evening Telegram, Dave came across an amazing exhibition game. On 10/3, the Giants and Yankees had wrapped up their pennants and they formed a combined squad to play against the Baltimore Orioles, champions of the International League. The Major League team was mostly Giants, but Babe Ruth, Aaron Ward, and Elmer Smith of the Yankees played as Giants. There were four home runs, including one by Ruth, who retired after his clout in the fifth inning. The New York team won 9-3 and the entire play by play was in the Evening Telegram (which Dave copied, of course). The final amazing point is that the regular season did not end until October 7. Given the realities of the modern game, it is hard to imagine such a game occurring today.

From Bill Disney (game translated by Clem Comly):
9/20/83 (Cardinals at Expos) - "Herzog (and SLN scorer) thought Carter was out on last play. Whitey got ejected. Scorer apparently allowed to stay."

From Doug Burks:
9/17/80 (A's at Rangers) - Rick Langford pitched 8.2 innings, ending his string of 22 consecutive complete games. The 1981 Sporting News Baseball Guide noted this was the most in over 30 years. For the 1980 season, the Oakland staff had 94 complete games (most since DET in 1946). Mike Norris, Matt Keough, Langford, and Steve McCatty each pitched 14 inning complete games, with McCatty the only loser in the bunch, 2-1 to Seattle on August 10. By now everyone must be wondering who the manager of that team was - it was Billy Martin! That team was also known for its base-running adventures, stealing home seven times, as well as pulling off 14 double steals and one triple steal.

From David Vincent:
6/12/25 (Giants at Pirates) - With runners on second and third and no outs Kiki Cuyler hits a grounder to Travis Jackson at ss. Jackson throws home to get Max Carey and Johnny Rawlings then tries to reach 3b and is nailed. Finally, Cuyler is out in a rundown between first and second - a very unusual triple play with all three runners caught in rundowns and the right fielder getting an assist. The play is:


6/30/1925 (Dodgers at Phillies) - In the top of the eleventh inning with a runner on 2b and no one out, Zach Wheat hits the ball back to the pitcher, Dutch Ulrich. Ulrich traps Milt Stock between 2b and 3b in a rundown. Eventually the play turns back to Wheat, who attempts to reach 2b but is put out. Then the play returns to Stock who is out at 3b. The play:


Detroit at Cleveland 7/1/1925: With runners on first and second and one out, Frank O'Rourke singles to cf. Tris Speaker throws behind Fred Haney when he rounds 2b but Haney gets back. However, O'Rourke runs all the way to 2b thinking Haney was headed for 3b. With two runners standing on 2b, Joe Klugman tags O'Rourke. Haney walks off the bag confused and is also tagged out. An outfield single that turns into a double play. The play:


Unknown game: Here is one that will appear once in a while: runners on first and second and no outs. The batter hits a grounder to the third baseman who steps on the bag and throws to second for another out. This is a GDP even though the batter is safe.


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Retrosheet Holdings

The following graph shows two things: (1) the paper game accounts we have in the vault (the back, darker section); and (2) the computerized game accounts we have (the front, lighter section). Both are shown as a percentage of the total games played for that season. Please note that this does not include World Series, League Championship Series, Division Series, or All-Star game accounts. Except for the latter, all of those games are computerized.

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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)        33,343
Games Entered since last Report                         4,247
Days since last Report (8/11/96 to 12/17/96)              139
Games Entered per Week (18 weeks and 3 days)            230.5
Games Entered per Day                                    30.6

The smallest number of games input in a single week during this period was 96 and the highest was 730. In our files we now have accounts for 59,194 games and we need 56,472 more from this century. That means that we have 24,117 games which have been collected, but not yet processed. Let's get to work!!!

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Page Updated: 12/26/96

Copyrighted: Retrosheet, 1996