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03-08-2005, 01:44 PM
Posted By: <b>Darren J. Duet</b><p>Who were the biggest major league disappointments of the pre-WW II era? Meaning to old timers equivalent of busts like joe charboneau, phil plantier, gregg jefferies, etc.

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03-08-2005, 02:20 PM
Posted By: <b>Rhys</b><p>Louis Sockalexis, without a doubt. Not a bust on his ability in the majors, but the fact he only lasted for a very short time. McGraw, Jennings and even Ed Barrow in the 1920's (when he was watching Ruth on a daily basis) said he was the greatest player EVER to play the game. Talk about 5 tools!! Throwing: He had Harvard professors measuring his throws and trajectory because they went so far without seeming to come down from gravity that they defied physics (true story). SPEED: The fastest player in the game when he played and that included Keeler and Hoy. FIELDING: The accolades of his fielding are numerous, he was one of the best 2-3 outfielders at least. POWER: In a college exhibition game against the Giants, Amos Rusie made public statements in the newspaper about what he was going to do to Sockalexis when he faced him, Sockalexis then hit a towering home run off of Rusie at the Polo Grounds on the first pitch he saw from him, and not an inside the parker; that was 1896. AVERAGE: He was hitting over .400 as a rookie at mid-season before he started to become an alcoholic.<br /><br />All of this, and he really only played 1/2 a season in the major leagues, was out of the game in three years, and dead in 13 more.<br /><br />To me, there is not a more intriguing, and tragic story in all of sports. He was also the first Native American to play the game, which is one of the reasons he resorted to alcohol as well.

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03-08-2005, 02:29 PM
Posted By: <b>Kevin Cummings</b><p>I'm currently reading <u>The Pitch That Killed</u> and one of the players the author talks about being a bust was Walter Mails. He was supposedly a tough guy who grew up around San Quentin prison and played against the inmates.<br /><br />He was called up from the PCL at the end of the 1920 season and helped Cleveland win the pennant by winning seven games without a loss and then helped them win the World Series with a shutout win against Brooklyn.<br /><br />Arm trouble ruined his career. <br /><br />Check out his nickname and then his record:<br /><a href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/mailsdu01.shtml" target="_new" rel="nofollow">http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/mailsdu01.shtml</a>

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03-08-2005, 02:32 PM
Posted By: <b>Darren J. Duet</b><p>Great Summary! Thanks for the input. Was he not well received by the other ballplayer's of his time?...Is that why he hit the bottle?

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03-08-2005, 02:35 PM
Posted By: <b>jay behrens</b><p>Sockalexis is probably the biggest what-if ever. Incredible tools and everyone that saw him play before he was comsumed by alcohol all agreed that he was the best they ever saw. The Cleveland Indians are supposedly called that in his honor, but there is more myth than fact surround that.<br />Three was also a very good recently published about his life, but I forget the name.<br /><br />Jay<br /><br />I've just reached Upper Lower Class. I am now officially a babe magnet for poor chicks.

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03-08-2005, 03:35 PM
Posted By: <b>dennis</b><p>the first 2 that come to mind are harlond clift and pete reiser. also, i would nominate(?) smokey joe wood,dale alexander and joe hauser.

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03-08-2005, 04:19 PM
Posted By: <b>Chris Counts</b><p>I wouldn't consider a career-altering or career-ending injury a justification for calling a player a bust, so I don't believe guys like Joe Wood (whose arm troubles are well-documented in "The Glory Of Our Times") and Pete Reiser (the only thing he ever busted was his skull and several other bones!) should qualify.<br /><br />Also, I don't believe there existed in the pre-war era the media hype that is present today. Heck, they didn't even have a draft. These days just about every other number one pick qualifies as a bust. The 1950s were filled with "bonus babies" who failed to live up to their expectations.<br /><br />In the pre-war era, one guy that comes to mind is New York Giants outfielder Johnny Rucker, if only because his appearance on the cover of a Life magazine and his wonderful nickname, "The Crabapple Comet," earned him more hype than his modest skills deserved. He was, by the way, the nephew of the excellent tobacco era pitcher, Nap Rucker.<br /><br />I'm curious about Harland Clift. Was he considered a bust? He actually put up pretty good numbers for close to a decade, especially when you consider how many walks he had ...

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03-08-2005, 04:37 PM
Posted By: <b>dennis</b><p>chris it said great expectations...these players i listed were not busts but big things were expected from them and for whatever reason(and injuries play into this)the expectations were not met.w/o the injuries reiser and wood would no doubt be HoFers....maybe

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03-08-2005, 04:39 PM
Posted By: <b>Joe P.</b><p>The man played for about 10 seasons.<br />Lifetime BA is .295, which I don't think is shabby.<br />His biggest problem and enemy, was the Ebbets field unpadded outfield walls.<br />The man was relentless, no wall was going to keep him from catching a ball.<br />If he had hit the wall any harder, he would have been part of that wall when they tore down Ebbets Field.<br />Can you imagine what that part of the wall would've gone for in an auction?<br /><br />I say this in awe, as a Yank fan that detested the Brooklyn Bums and their fans during that period.<br /><br />No way Jose, that man, came out to play.<br /><br />But then again, that's JMVHO. <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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03-08-2005, 04:53 PM
Posted By: <b>Ted</b><p>Roy Hobbs<br><br>Ted<br />Fantasy? Reality? Interchangable!

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03-08-2005, 05:19 PM
Posted By: <b>Rhys</b><p>In response to Darren's question above, Sockalexis was horribly ridiculed in his 1st year of baseball. People yelled and screamed and mocked him mercilessly every time he came to the plate and it basically drove him to the bottle worse than ever, then he tried to escape out of a second story hotel where Patsy tebeau (Cleveland Manager) had him locked up so he couldn't drink, and he busted his ankle. Since he was not playing for a while his drinking just got worse and worse. The prejudice was worse than people would think, 1896 was only 20 years after some of the most intense Indian/American fighting of our History and many people had very negative feelings toward Indians, plus he was BETTER than all the white heroes.<br /><br />If you type in "sockalexis" on Amazon or other websites you will see there are about 9-10 books written about him. I am actually from Maine where he was from. My prized possession in the collecting world (tying this back into the Baseball Collectibles Board) is an 1895 Holy Cross University Team Imperial Cabinet with Sockalexis, and also Jesse Burkett who helped manage the team (since he lived in Worcester Mass.). The photo I have is the only known example outside of the Holy Cross University Archieves and belonged to one of the players in the photo.<br /><br />There are about 20 other Sockalexis stories I could tell but I wont spill it all out on this thread. He is my favorite baseball player of all time so I never get tired of talking about him. I will post a picture of my cabinet sometime.<br /><br />Rhys

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03-08-2005, 05:22 PM
Posted By: <b>warshawlaw</b><p>From Jewsinsports.org (great resource for info on Jewish athletes):<br /><br />A great all-around athlete who played football at Alabama, Andy broke into the majors in 1926 with the New York Giants and played in 32 games that season. A career .281 hitter, he appeared in 240 games during 1928-29 for the Giants. Andy hit .294 in 1929, and his 24 doubles in 1928 helped raise his slugging average to .403. Unfortunately, his lack of speed caused manager John McGraw to send Andy to the minors after the 1929 season. McGraw considered bringing him back to the Giants in 1930, but Andy had torn a muscle in his leg and never returned to the majors. Despite this, Andy remained in the game (playing and managing in the minors) and even managed the Philadelphia Phillies for one game (a win) in 1960. Cohen also helped implement a baseball program at the University of Texas-El Paso and was the unpaid coach for the first 12 years (he coached for 16 years). Known as El Paso's "Mr. Baseball," Andy is a member of the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame and the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame.<br /><br />Cohen was pushed and touted so hard by McGraw that he is in the 1933 Goudey set despite not having being in the majors since 1929. A very cheap and easy card of his is the 1960 Topps Phillies coaches card.

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03-08-2005, 06:11 PM
Posted By: <b>Darren J Duet MD</b><p>I'd love to a view a scan of your Sockalexis memorabilia. Thanks for sharing the knowledge, and I'll be hunting for one of his bios--any recommendation?

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03-08-2005, 07:00 PM
Posted By: <b>Rhys</b><p>Here are three pictures of the Sockalexis photo. The picture is HUGE and is in the original frame and glass that it was made in 1895. The player second from the right, back row is Sockalexis. Person in street clothes on the left is Jesse Burkett. He was Worcester Mass' most famous ballplayer and used to help with the Holy Cross team when he could. This is documented in several sources and it has been absolutely confirmed that this is indeed Jesse Burkett in the photo. Player with catchers mitt is Doc Powers a star catcher in the majors for many years. Player on the far left top row is named George Kerrigan and that is who this photo belonged to. They only made these photos for the team members (10-11 total produced) and that is why this is one of only 2 known to have survived, and the only one in public hands. <br /><br />One more quick Sockalexis story is that his father was Chief of his tribe. He hated it that Sock was getting involved in the "white mans sport" and when he was recruited to play ball at Holy Cross his father took a 1700 mile canoe trip from Maine to Washington DC and personally had the President of the US declare that Louis would follow his father as Chief of his people. He hoped in vain that this declaration would keep him on the reservation. Didn't work. When Louis made his Debut at the Polo Grounds though in the aforementioned exhibition against Rusie and the Giants, many Penobscot Indians made the trip to New York dressed in Full Indian attire and did all sorts of dances and tribal chants when Sock hit the Home Run off of Rusie. <br /><br />Thanks for listening to my rantings about my favorite vintage ballplayer.<br /><br />Rhyshttp://www.network54.com/Realm/tmp/1110329937.JPG <img src="http://www.network54.com/Realm/tmp/1110329910.JPG"> <img src="http://www.network54.com/Realm/tmp/1110329894.JPG"> <img src="http://www.network54.com/Realm/tmp/1110329937.JPG">

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03-08-2005, 09:17 PM
Posted By: <b>Darren J Duet</b><p>Great stuff Rhys,<br />This is what makes this place second to none.

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03-08-2005, 10:54 PM
Posted By: <b>Joe P.</b><p>Back in 1944/45 or 1946, this young pup, an early teener at that time, was also struck by the Sockalexis story.<br />I don't remember what book it was in, but it was one about several players from that period, I may still even have that book somewhere.<br />Thinking back to my first exposure to Sockalexis, what I recall mostly was my heart felt sadness for that player.<br />I never thought of him as a bust, on the contrary, the man had excelled in many areas.<br />If there was any busting going around, it was his world.<br />Looking at that great 1895 Holy Cross photo, we must not forget that it was taken just 18 or 19 years after the Little Big Horn.<br />He was being assimilated, and his cultural world was fading away.<br />Add the outside hatred to that, and it would drive any man to drinks.<br /><br />My heart still feels for Sockalexis.<br />

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03-09-2005, 12:14 PM
Posted By: <b>tbob</b><p>David Clyde the teen phenom, the Taylor guy (Brian?)who was the first round pick in the draft by the Yankees who threw in the high 90's, and Willie Banks, supposedly the next Bob Gibson, a 1st rounder picked by the Twins, all come to mind. Speaking of the Twins, their late 70's, early 80's teams were filled with "can't miss" pitchers who all bombed. Luckily (for us Twins fans) they retooled the farm system guys in the mid 80's (Brunansky, Hrbek, Gaetti, Puckett, Viola and company)and have picked and signed consistently well since then. Despite their pecuniary owner, the Twins farm system is one of the best in the majors and getting even better now that they have discovered South America.

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03-09-2005, 01:49 PM
Posted By: <b>Joe P.</b><p>He busted his paw in a bar fight one night, and that was all she wrote with George and the Yanks. <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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03-09-2005, 02:26 PM
Posted By: <b>john/z28jd</b><p>Phillies currently have Brien Taylor reincarnated in Cole Hamels.I saw him in 2003 dominate in single-A as a 19 year old lefty,averaging almost 2 K's per inning in the 4 games i went to,threw 6 perfect innings once,a 7 inning 2 hitter with 13 k's and the other 2 games were real good too.I think one was 6 innings,11 K's if i remember correct. <br /><br />Anyway last year he had an arm injury after 4 games(in which he was 1-0 1.13 era 24 k's in 16 innings),rehabbed all off-season and then last month got into a fight outside a bar and broke his pitching hand.He wont be pitching again till about the time the season starts and will probably start at high-A once hes healthy.There was talks of him being a major leaguer by this september and a regular starter by 2006 now hes being compared to Taylor

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03-09-2005, 04:13 PM
Posted By: <b>Chris B.</b><p>my vote goes to Rick Ankiel, who forgot how to throw a ball and today announced he is going to retire as a pitcher and focus on becoming an outfielder. Such a shame; his stuff is (was?) electrifying.