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  #701  
Old 05-13-2024, 03:23 AM
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Default Papa Joe Cambria Part 3

Player #165: Joseph C. "Joe" Cambria Part 3. "Papa Joe" (born Carlo Cambria) was an American professional baseball scout and executive who was a pioneer in recruiting Latin American players. From 1929 through 1940, he owned several Minor League Baseball teams, as well as the Negro league Baltimore Black Sox. He is best known, however, for his work as a scout for Major League Baseball, especially for his work in Cuba. From the mid-1930s until his death in 1962, he recruited hundreds of Cuban players for the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins. Cambria was described as the first of many scouts who searched Latin America for inexpensive recruits for their respective ball clubs.

A more pronounced flop was Cuban pitcher Rene Monteagudo, whom Cambria had had on his Greenville, South Carolina, club. Monteagudo beat the Senators in an exhibition game and Griffith took him on, but his career in the big leagues was very brief. In 33 games with the Nats over two years, he was 3-7 with an atrocious earned run average of six runs per game. It had been said that Monteagudo's chief asset in terms of pitching in the big leagues was that he could speak English. This would have made him easier prey for Joe Cambria who, surprisingly, knew very little Spanish. On one occasion, after Clark Griffith had been unsuccessful in attempts to elicit some information from a Latin player, he asked Cambria to speak for him. Cambria went up to the player and asked the same thing Griffith had, in English, but he asked louder.

Next on the Cuban prospect list, and considerably more successful, was Alejando Alexander Aparicio Elroy Carrasquel, a name which might possibly been rendered even mor elegant had his parents left out the "Elroy." Certainly, Alex Carasquel was an elegant pitcher. His age was officially given as 27 when he joined the Nationals for the 1939 season, but some Cubans who had played with him during a tour of Florida insisted that he was more like 35. At his first training camp, all Carrasquel could say in English was, "Me peech good."

What Alex Carrasquel was for sure was a man fond of the rumba and the night life, and the owner of a nice fastball. Following his rookie season in 1939, in which he went 5-9 for another underachieving Washington ballclub, Carrasquel would find his niche with the Senators as a reliever throughout the war years. His fastball became a prized commodity on a staff which would be comprised almost entirely of knuckleballers, and his 50-39 career record, amassed on losing clubs, attests to his competence. Eventually, like Bobby Estalella, Carrasquel would be banned from baseball for jumping to the Mexican League, but would later make a brief return to the majors, with the White Sox, in 1949.
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File Type: jpg 1946-1947CarameloDeportivoCarrasquel5142Front.jpg (121.5 KB, 244 views)
File Type: jpg 1949-50AceboMonteagudoSGC5221Front.jpg (81.7 KB, 256 views)
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  #702  
Old 05-14-2024, 02:44 AM
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Default Papa Joe Cambria Part 4

Player #165: Joseph C. "Joe" Cambria Part 4. "Papa Joe" (born Carlo Cambria) was an American professional baseball scout and executive who was a pioneer in recruiting Latin American players. From 1929 through 1940, he owned several Minor League Baseball teams, as well as the Negro league Baltimore Black Sox. He is best known, however, for his work as a scout for Major League Baseball, especially for his work in Cuba. From the mid-1930s until his death in 1962, he recruited hundreds of Cuban players for the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins. Cambria was described as the first of many scouts who searched Latin America for inexpensive recruits for their respective ball clubs.

Joe Cambria's most heralded Cuban prospect, brought up for the 1941 season, would be a flop. Roberto Ortiz was a 6' 4", 200-pounder who, according to Cambria, threw harder than Walter Johnson and could hit a ball farther than Jimmie Foxx. None of that was ever placed into evidence, however, and Ortiz hit a grand total of eight homers in a career spanning just 659 at-bats, mostly on weakened wartime teams in the early forties. Later on, Joe Cambria would have better luck with his recruits. Eventually, he would have a hand in bringing to the Senators' organization such Cuban stalwarts as Connie Marrero, Sandy Consuegra, Mike Fornieles, Pedro Ramos, Camilo Pascual, Zoilo Versalles, and, last but not least, Tony Oliva.

While other clubs began scouring the Pearl of the Antilles, Cambria remained the most popular scout with the Cuban people. He headquartered at the American Club in Havana, and in fact became so well known that a cigar was named after him -- it was called the "Papa Joe." Cambria earned a reputation as a man genuinely concerned for the Cuban players he did sign, but in the first few years of his association with Clark Griffith, he had more success recruiting Americans. Among these, George Case was already a star. There would be others, like Eddie Yost and Walter Masterson, but never again would Cambria help promote players of the caliber of a pair of rookies who first appeared in the big leagues with the 1939 edition of the Washington Senators. These two Cambria proteges were Mickey Vernon and Early Wynn.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1940'sCambriaSurroundedPhotographFront.jpg (115.9 KB, 254 views)
File Type: jpg 1949-50AceboOrtiz,R.CSG7026Front.jpg (89.7 KB, 251 views)
File Type: jpg 1945-46CarameloDeportivo#82Ortiz3343Front.jpg (110.8 KB, 249 views)
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  #703  
Old 05-15-2024, 03:15 AM
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Default Ken Chase

Player #166A: Kendall F. "Ken" Chase. Pitcher for the Washington Senators in 1936-1941. 53 wins in 8 MLB seasons. His best season was 1940 for Washington as posted a 15-17 record with a 3.23 ERA in 261.2 innings pitched. He gave up Lou Gehrig's 2721st and last hit, as Gehrig removed himself from the line up the next day in 1939. He finished his career with the New York Giants in 1943.

We will use Chase's SABR biography to follow his career in Washington: Ted Williams called him “the toughest southpaw I ever batted against.” But wildness was a problem that persisted throughout Ken Chase’s career. . . .

. . . In 1936, Chase went to spring training with the Nationals and experienced his big-league debut for Washington on April 23 at Yankee Stadium. He threw 2 1/3 innings in relief of Monte Weaver, giving up three runs, walking four and striking out one. When the Southern Association season began, Chase was sent back to Chattanooga. He put up a 3-10 record for the Lookouts, with a 5.13 ERA that more or less matched his earned run average from the year before.

In 1937 he was 5-12 for Chattanooga when the manager gave up on him. But manager Bucky Harris of the Senators had seen something in him and called Chase up to Washington on July 4. There he succeeded where he had not in Class A. Starting on July 10, Chase appeared in 14 games and put up a winning 4-3 record, with a respectable 4.13 ERA (the team average was 4.58). On August 29 he outpitched Bob Feller, 6-2. Two of the wins were against the Yankees, Red Ruffing the loser both times. “I knew he could pitch,” crowed Harris a little later. “You telling me?” asked coach Nick Altrock. “That boy is fast and has a great curve.”

In 1938, he spent the full season with Washington, starting 21 games and appearing in another 11. He was 9-10 with a 5.58 ERA. Team owner Clark Griffith took him aside that fall. “When you go back to Oneonta this fall,” Griffith told him, “I want you to forget all about that milk business of your father’s. Milking 25 cows a day and hoisting 20-gallon cans of milk into a truck is ruining you as a pitcher.”

The advice may have helped. Chase’s earned run average in 1939 was 3.80, though playing for the 65-87 Senators, his won/loss record was a disappointing 10-19. On July 28, he pitched a masterpiece, taking a no-hitter into the ninth against the visiting Cleveland Indians in a Ladies Day game. He gave up a single and then another one, but won the game, 2-0. Another highlight of the season was being at Yankee Stadium for Lou Gehrig‘s farewell speech on July 4. . . . (We will come back to this when we see Chase next.)
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File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallChase7396Front.jpg (96.9 KB, 246 views)
File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallChase7396Back.jpg (100.4 KB, 242 views)
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  #704  
Old 05-16-2024, 03:52 AM
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Default Jimmie DeShong

Player #167: James B. "Jimmie" DeShong. Pitcher with the Washington Senators in 1936-1939. 47 wins and 9 saves in 7 MLB seasons. He debuted with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1932. His best season was 1936 with Washington as he posted a record of 18-10 with a 4.63 ERA in 223.3 innings pitched.

DeShong's playing career lasted for 14 seasons (1928–1941). His MLB service saw him miss, by one year, two dynasties: the 1929–1931 Athletics and the 1936–1939 Yankees. However, he enjoyed a stellar campaign as a member of the 1936 Senators, posting an 18–10 won–lost record and finishing eighth in the American League in victories. His high win total in 1936 was accompanied by a mediocre 4.63 earned run average, and he permitted 255 hits (among them, 11 home runs) and 96 bases on balls in 223.2 innings pitched, with only 59 strikeouts.

Overall, in his 175 games, which included an even 100 starts, he compiled a 47–44 record and a 5.08 career ERA, permitting 968 hits and 432 walks, with 273 strikeouts, in 872.2 career innings pitched. He threw two shutouts and 44 complete games, and was credited with nine saves, then an unofficial statistic.
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File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallDeShongCapitalLetters2094Front.jpg (94.8 KB, 245 views)
File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallDeShongCapitalLetters2094Back.jpg (115.9 KB, 239 views)
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  #705  
Old 05-17-2024, 03:14 AM
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Default Rick Ferrell

Player #160C: Richard B. "Rick" Ferrell. Catcher for the Washington Senators in 1937-1941, 1944-1945, and 1947. 1,692 hits 28 home runs in 18 MLB seasons. He had a career OBP of .378. 8-time All-Star. Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. In 1984, was inducted to the MLB Hall of Fame. He debuted with the St. Louis Browns in 1929-1933. His best season may have been 1932 for the Browns as he posted a .406 OBP with 67 runs scored and 65 RBIs in 514 plate appearances. He held the record for most MLB games caught for 40 years until unseated by Carlton Fiske in 1988. First catcher to receive from staff of four K-ball pitchers for the Senators in 1944. He joined the Detroit Tigers as a coach in 1950, became general manager and vice president in 1959, and continued with the Tigers until 1992. During his tenure as a Tigers executive, they won the 1968 and 1984 World Series and AL Eastern Division titles in 1972 and 1987.

Back to Rick's SABR biography: . . . A strong contact hitter, the catcher developed a pattern of hitting in the .300’s during the season until September, when due to exhaustion and the wool uniforms in the summer heat, his batting average would invariably drop. Yet he still hit over .300 five times during his career. . . .

The following June 10, 1937, as Rick was batting a strong .308, he and Wes were unexpectedly traded together with Mel Almada to the Washington Senators for pitcher Bobo Newsom and outfielder Ben Chapman. (Washington’s Cal Griffith would only make the deal if Rick was included.) Totaling a .302 batting average from 1933-37 with Boston, Rick had broken Red Sox catcher’s records in batting, home runs, doubles, and runs-batted-in.

With the Senators, Rick and Wes again formed a battery under manager Bucky Harris and both were selected for the 1937 AL All-Star team. In a season of double-injuries, Rick hit a mere .244 in 104 games, playing the season with a partially broken right hand while gripping the bat with his single, left hand at the plate. Playing through the pain, he never once asked to come out of the lineup. Wes went 14-19 for the season but was released in August 1938 (13-8). As his battery mate for five years, Rick had caught 141 of his starts, including nine shutouts.

In 1938, Rick topped all catchers at starting double plays with 15. Also in 1938, he first began successfully catching the Senators’ big knuckleball pitcher Emil “Dutch” Leonard, giving Leonard a new chance in the major leagues. By 1939, Leonard became a 20-game winner, success he attributed to having a catcher like Ferrell, who could handle the knuckleball pitch.

The Senators played at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, when Lou Gehrig retired from baseball with his “Luckiest Man” speech. Rick was standing three feet from the microphone and always clearly remembered that day. When Ted Williams once asked Ferrell how to pitch to Gehrig, Ferrell replied, “No one way. You’ve got to move the ball around, try to cross him up and outguess him…keep him off-stride.” . . . (We will finish this when Rick surfaces again.)
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  #706  
Old 05-18-2024, 03:10 AM
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Default Charlie Gelbert

Player #168A: Charles M. "Charlie" Gelbert. Shortstop for the Washington Senators in 1939-1940. 766 hits and 17 home runs in 9 MLB seasons. 1931 World Series champion. He debuted with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1929-1932 and 1935-1936. In 1930 with the Cardinals, he posted a .360 OBP with 92 runs scored and 72 RBIs in 574 plate appearances. He finished his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1940. He lost two full seasons recovering from a severe ankle injury suffered while hunting. Though he returned to baseball in 1935 and played six more seasons, he was limited to a utility role for the rest of his career.

We pick up Gelbert's SABR biography for an account of his time in St. Louis and then Washington: The (St. Louis) Cardinals placed him with Rochester in 1928 and Branch Rickey himself apparently wrote to Warren Giles, the head of the Rochester Red Wings, “I am sending you a shortstop. If he strikes out every time and boots every ball, I want him to play the first 30 games. He will be the Cardinal shortstop next season.” . . .

. . . Rickey was right; Gelbert was the shortstop for the Cardinals in 1929. The team was so sure of Gelbert that they sold the contract of future Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville to the Boston Braves in December 1928.

Gelbert played almost every game of the 1929 season (146 of 154), hit .262, and drove in 65 runs, but he was a little porous at shortstop, leading the league in errors at the position. The team finished fourth.

Under manager Gabby Street, the 1930 Cardinals again won the National League pennant (as they had in 1926 and 1928) with a .314 team batting mark; Gelbert hit .304 and drove in 72 runs in 139 games. He had an excellent World Series; though the Cards lost to the Philadelphia Athletics in six games, Gelbert hit .353, and won praise for some outstanding fielding plays.

During the World Series, Gelbert drove in key insurance runs in Games Three and Four, but he shone in the field as well. Tom Meany’s mid-Series column in the New York Telegram was titled “Gelbert Voted Series Hero by Both Cardinals and A’s.” Grantland Rice wrote, “The star of the Cardinal front line was young Charley Gelbert at short.” He handled 28 chances without an error. . . .

In 1931 Gelbert hit .289 in the regular season, playing in eight fewer games due to an injury that forced him to cut back some on his playing time. The Cardinals won the pennant once more and faced off against the Athletics again, this time winning the World Series in seven games. Gelbert collected six more hits and handled 42 more chances without an error.

. . . During the October 1938 major-league draft meeting, the Washington Senators selected Gelbert. He played in about half the Senators’ games (68) in 1939, and assembled 222 plate appearances, compiling a batting average of .255 (with a .361 on-base percentage).
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File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallGelbertCapitalLetters7400Front.jpg (108.3 KB, 246 views)
File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallGelbertCapitalLetters7400Back.jpg (116.0 KB, 243 views)
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  #707  
Old 05-19-2024, 03:12 AM
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Default Walter Johnson

Player #54U: Walter P. "Barney" Johnson. "The Big Train". Pitcher for the Washington Senators in 1907-1927. 417 wins and 34 saves in 21 MLB seasons. 1924 World Series champion. 1913 and 1924 AL Most Valuable Player. 3-time triple crown. 6-time AL wins leader. 5-time AL ERA leader. 12-time AL strikeout leader. He had a career ERA of 2.17 in 5,914.1 innings pitched. He pitched a no-hitter in 1920. He holds the MLB record with 110 career shutouts. MLB All-Time Team. Inducted to the MLB Hall of Fame in 1936. One of his best seasons was 1913 as he posted a record of 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA in 346 innings pitched.

The biggest tragedy of Walter’s later years, though, was Hazel’s death at age 36 on August 1, 1930, apparently the result of exhaustion from a cross-country drive during one of the hottest summers on record. After he lost the woman he idolized, a cloud of melancholy descended over the rest of Johnson’s life, darkening what should have been tranquil, happy years of retirement on his Mountain View Farm in the Maryland countryside.

During his later years, Walter kept busy on the farm, served as Montgomery County commissioner, was brought back by the Senators in 1939 as their broadcaster, and made an unsuccessful run as a Republican for a seat in the U.S. Congress. On June 12, 1939, along with such other greats as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner, Johnson was inducted into the newly-created Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. (We will finish "wrapping up" Walter's life in our next, and final, visit with him.)
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File Type: jpg 1939CenrennialStampsW,JohnsonSGC8136Front.jpg (84.1 KB, 230 views)
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  #708  
Old 05-19-2024, 05:32 AM
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Default 1924 Washington Team Cabinet Rarity

Pleased to be the new owner of this super rare piece

1924 Washington Senators Wright and Ditson Cabinet Photograph with Charles Conlon Images. Rarely seen, this 7x9.25" cabinet photograph was given away at a banquet at the Bond Hotel in Hartford, Connecticut following the Senators' championship season. Hall of Famer Walter Johnson is front and center while his Cooperstown compatriots Bucky Harris, Goose Goslin, Sam Rice and Clark Griffith are found on the edges. Ossie Bluege, Joe Judge, Muddy Ruel and Roger Peckinpaugh are also in attendance.
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  #709  
Old 05-19-2024, 07:12 AM
Hankphenom Hankphenom is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by imdaman1964 View Post
Pleased to be the new owner of this super rare piece. 1924 Washington Senators Wright and Ditson Cabinet Photograph with Charles Conlon Images. Rarely seen, this 7x9.25" cabinet photograph was given away at a banquet at the Bond Hotel in Hartford, Connecticut following the Senators' championship season. Hall of Famer Walter Johnson is front and center while his Cooperstown compatriots Bucky Harris, Goose Goslin, Sam Rice and Clark Griffith are found on the edges. Ossie Bluege, Joe Judge, Muddy Ruel and Roger Peckinpaugh are also in attendance.
Truly incredible piece, Wayne, especially tough in the original mount.
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  #710  
Old 05-20-2024, 03:49 AM
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Default Dutch Leonard

(Great piece Wayne! Thanks for posting.)

Player #169A: Emil J. "Dutch" Leonard. Knuckle-ball pitcher for the Washington Senators in 1938-1946. 191 wins and 45 saves in 20 MLB seasons. 5-time All Star. Pitched complete game to beat Yankees in 1st game of doubleheader, after which Lou Gehrig gave "luckiest man in the world" speech. In 1945, part of four-man rotation, made up by four knuckle-ball pitchers. Debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1933.

We will follow Leonard's SABR biography for a 3-part overview of his career in Washington -- Part 1: Dutch Leonard rode his knuckleball to a 20-year big league career, baffling batters, catchers, and umpires until he was 44 years old. As Jackie Robinson described Leonard’s knuckler, “It comes up, makes a face at you, then runs away.” . . .

. . . For the next two years (1935 and 1936) Leonard worked primarily in relief. He complained that the Dodgers’ catchers wouldn’t call for his knuckleball, leaving him with an assortment of hittable pitches. He led the NL with eight saves in 1935, but nobody knew that because the statistic did not yet exist. His 2-9 record marked him as a failure. In 1936 he was used mostly as a mop-up man in games that were already lost. The club’s new catcher, Babe Phelps, was more hitter than catcher and wanted nothing to do with the knuckleball. He told manager Casey Stengel it was too hard to handle. Stengel barked, “Don’t you think it might be a little hard to hit, too?” Phelps led the Dodgers that season with a .367 batting average, so Stengel needed him more than he needed a mop-up reliever. Leonard was sent down to Atlanta in the Class A-1 Southern Association.

Joining the Crackers in June 1936, Leonard met his new catcher, Paul Richards, another washout from the majors. After getting a look at the knuckler, Richards told him, “You keep throwing it, and it’s my job to catch it.” Leonard said, “Richards was the first catcher I ever worked with who wasn’t too timid to call for my knuckleball.” Leonard went 13-3 with a 2.29 ERA, best in the league, and helped Atlanta win the pennant. . . .

. . . The Washington Senators drafted Leonard after the 1937 season, paying Atlanta $7,500 for a castoff who was approaching his 29th birthday. Washington owner Clark Griffith said he was confident his catcher, Rick Ferrell, could deal with the knuckleball. The pitch had always been an oddity since it was introduced early in the 20th century. Some pitchers used it occasionally as a change-up or surprise pitch, but few—notably Jesse Haines, Eddie Rommel, Fred Fitzsimmons, and Ted Lyons—had made it their trademark. The knuckler is hard to hit and hard to catch, but also hard to throw, since the pitcher has to deliver it with little or no spin. Even a slight breeze at the pitcher’s back can turn a knuckleball into a nothing ball. As Leonard said, “That knuckler can be either a pitcher’s meat or his poison depending on how it’s working.”

Leonard gripped the ball with the tips of his index and middle fingers. He said, “I just throw it straight forward like you’d flip a cigarette butt.” He threw with different arm angles, so the pitch moved up, down, or sideways. He stuck with the knuckler unless he fell behind in the count, when he had to rely on his sort-of fastball or slow curve. What distinguished Leonard from most of his tribe was his excellent control. Although he said he never knew exactly where the pitch was going, he usually walked no more than two batters per nine innings in his prime. But he realized he was balancing on the edge with every pitch: “The trouble with the knuckle ball is that the .250 hitters are just as apt to hit it safe as the .350 hitters. None of them will hit the knuckler if it’s breaking right and all of them will hit it if it isn’t breaking.”

Shortly after Leonard joined Washington in 1938, sportswriter Robert Ruark described him as “a fat bald man.” He was six feet tall and topped 200 pounds. In his first start he shut out the Athletics. On May 4 he faced Cleveland’s 19-year-old phenom, Bob Feller. The league’s fastest pitcher and its slowest matched zeroes for 10 innings. Feller was relieved, but Leonard kept knuckling until the Senators won in the 13th.

He had secured a regular starting job for the first time in his career. In 1939 he won 20, lost 8, for a sixth-place club that recorded only 65 victories. He was the Senators’ first 20-game winner since their pennant season of 1933. He made the All-Star team in 1940, despite leading the league with 19 losses, then bounced back with 18 wins in ’41, all the while with a losing club.
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File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallLeonardCapitalLetters9159Front.jpg (90.7 KB, 210 views)
File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallLeonardCapitalLetters9159Back.jpg (109.8 KB, 208 views)
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  #711  
Old 05-21-2024, 03:44 AM
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Default Buddy Lewis

Player #170A: John K. "Buddy" Lewis. Third baseman/right fielder for the Washington Senators in 1935-1941, 1945-1947, and 1949. 1,563 hits and 71 home runs in 11 MLB seasons. He played his entire career in Washington. 2-time All-Star. He had a career OBP of .368. His most productive season was 1938 as he posted an OBP of .354 with 122 runs scored and 91 RBIs in 724 plate appearances.

In the off-season (following the 1937 season), Lewis worked hard to receive a good contract from Griffith, who was quickly becoming Buddy's greatest fan. Though Griffith had his favorites, including former Washington great Walter Johnson, Lewis was near the top of the list. But the Nats' owner never let personal feelings interfere with contract negotiations, and he and Lewis haggled for a period prior to the 1938 tipoff. Finally, Lewis won out, securing a sizable raise.

In 1938, Lewis earned his first All-Star selection, joining New York's Red Rolfe as third basemen for the squad. The worst stretch of Lewis' career came in August of 1938, when his mysterious defensive problems were at their worst. During a four-game series against the New York Yankees, Lewis committed 8 errors, leading to 9 unearned runs. Washington Post columnist Shirley Povich noted that Lewis had committed 11 errors in 6 games against the Yankees in just over a week. But to his credit, Lewis did not let his defensive woes affect his hitting. His average still hovered near the .300 mark, and he batted in 91 runs from the #2 spot in the order, while crossing the plate 122 times.

In the first month of the 1939 season, Lewis suffered from an illness (diagnosed as a type of influenza known as "grippe") that knocked him out of the lineup for nearly two weeks. When he returned, he posted the highest batting mark of his career, hitting .319 with 49 extra-base hits, including a league-best 16 triples.

In spite of his fine offensive numbers, Lewis struggled in the field, often in spurts. In 1939 he made 7 errors in one week, on his way to 32 for the season. His fielding woes in 1938 had resulted in 47 errors and a terrible .912 mark with the glove. His miserable play at third was not lost on manager Bucky Harris, who often criticized Lewis' defensive work in the papers and the clubhouse. In 1940, Harris used the emergence of young infielders Jimmy Bloodworth and Jimmy Pofahl as the impetus to get Lewis out of his infield. Bloodworth moved into second base, Pofahl took over at short, and Travis moved from short to third. That pushed Buddy to right field, where Harris felt he could do far less damage with the leather.
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File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallLewisCapitalLetters5919Front.jpg (92.8 KB, 202 views)
File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallLewisCapitalLetters5919Back.jpg (110.3 KB, 197 views)
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  #712  
Old 05-22-2024, 02:45 AM
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Default Buddy Myer Part 8

Player #139H: Charles S. "Buddy" Myer. Second baseman with the Washington Senators in 1925-1927 and 1929-1941. 2,131 hits and 38 home runs in 17 MLB seasons. He had a career OBP of .389. 2-time All-Star. 1935 AL Batting champion. 1928 AL Stolen Base leader. His best season was 1935 for Washington as he posted a .440 OBP with 115 runs scored and 100 RBIs in 719 plate appearances. He was involved in one of baseball's most violent brawls when he was spiked and possibly racially derided by the Yankees' Ben Chapman.

We will follow Myer's SABR biography as we track his career -- Part 8: Myer turned in another gaudy season at bat in 1938, with a line of .336/.454/.465, but he started only 117 games and was on the downslope at 34. When a wrist injury knocked him out of the lineup the next year, a 21-year-old rookie, Jimmy Bloodworth, staked his claim as the second baseman of the future.

In September 1940 Myer told Clark Griffith he was retiring to tend to his construction business in Mississippi. He had gotten a government contract to build army camps. Griffith persuaded him to play another year as a benchwarmer before he left the game for good.
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File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallMyerUpper-LowerCase3850Front.jpg (101.0 KB, 198 views)
File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallMyerUpper-LowerCase3850Back.jpg (119.7 KB, 186 views)
File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallMyerCaps5559Back.jpg (154.1 KB, 213 views)
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  #713  
Old 05-23-2024, 03:00 AM
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Default Al Schacht

Player #88C: Alexander "Al" Schacht. Pitcher with the Washington Senators in 1919-1921. 14 wins and 3 saves in 3 MLB seasons. Was highly regarded as a third base coach in Washington (1924-1934) and Boston (1935-1936). Performed player mimicry and comedy routines with fellow Washington coach Nick Altrock earning the nickname of "The Clown Prince of Baseball". After leaving coaching he continued comedy but settled in as a restauranteur.

Al's SABR biography sums up his relationship with baseball and its fans: To say that Alexander Schacht was obsessed with baseball is to understate. He was possessed by it. Schacht was an undersized man with an oversized heart and love of baseball. It consumed him as he traveled from hamlet to hamlet trying to sell his wares as a pitcher. When he did finally make it to the big leagues, he hurt his arm and his playing days were over. But Schacht had something more than pitching ability. He had the talent to make people laugh. He did not have to speak a word; his actions portrayed what he was trying to convey. What he conveyed so pointedly is that there is a jester to put things in perspective. The jester points out that life is often absurd, so instead of letting it get us down, we should laugh at the absurdity in baseball or life. Schacht was the court jester, crying and laughing at the world of baseball and life.

He would come in with his battered top hat and ragged tails, blowing mightily on a tuba. Maybe he’d wield a catcher’s mitt that weighed twenty-five pounds into which one could fit an entire meal. In fact, this zany guy once ate a meal off home plate. Zany like the Ritz or Marx brothers, Schacht became the first Clown Prince of Baseball. Alexander Schacht or just plain Al was a smart buffoon. One wonders when clowns perform whether they are really happy or sad or both. Tragedy and comedy hang side by side in many theaters, and just a turn of the mouth can be sad or happy.

Al Schacht once said, “I came into this world very homely and haven’t changed a bit since.”
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File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallSchachtCapitalLetters9492Back.jpg (102.1 KB, 186 views)
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  #714  
Old 05-24-2024, 03:32 AM
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Default Cecil Travis

Player #158D: Cecil H. Travis Part 4. Infielder for the Washington Senators in 1933-1941 and 1945-1947. 1,544 hits and 27 home runs over 12 MLB seasons. 3-time All-Star. One of two to get 5 hits in first game. Led American League in hits in 1941 despite DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak and Ted Williams hitting .406. His best season was 1941 as he posted a .410 OBP with 101 RBIs in 663 plate appearances. In the Army during 1942-45, he wound up a frostbite victim in the Battle of the Bulge and a Bronze Star recipient. His return to MLB after the war surgery was not the same.

The historic 1941 baseball season set the stage for Travis’ most remarkable season in the majors. After experimenting that spring with a heavier bat, different grip, and a stance farther back in the batter’s box, the former opposite-field hitter emerged as a pull hitter with some pop. He went on to set career highs in batting average (.359), doubles (39), triples (19), home runs (7), RBIs (101), and runs scored (106). He also collected a career-best 218 hits, which led all of baseball that season-a surprising fact when considering that Joe DiMaggio staged a record 56-game hitting streak and Ted Williams hit .406 that same year. In the classic 1941 All-Star game in Detroit, Travis’ take-out slide at second base in the ninth inning prevented a double play and kept the game alive, allowing Ted Williams to follow with his memorable game-winning home run.
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  #715  
Old 05-25-2024, 03:29 AM
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Default Sam West

Player #122C: Samuel F. "Sam" West. Outfielder with the Washington Senators in 1927-1932 and 1938-1941. 1,838 hits and 75 home runs in 16 MLB seasons. 4-time All-Star. His career OBP was .371. In 1931 for Washington, he posted an OBP of .369 with 91 RBIs in 559 plate appearances. In 1934 for the St. Louis Browns he posted an OBP of .403 with 91 runs scored in 554 plate appearances. His last season was 1942 with the Chicago White Sox.

We go to Sam's SABR biography for a look at how his baseball career began: Sam West could not believe what he was hearing.

On this holiday in the early 1920s, Rule (Texas) High School was about to cap a day of festivities with a baseball game against Hutto High School. West, a student at Rule High, expected to be one of the starting outfielders but was informed by his coach that he would be viewing the game from the bench. Angry and unwilling to sit before the student body, West left the picnic and hurried into town to watch the Rule semipro baseball team play. That was when destiny came calling.

When West got to the ballpark, he found that there was a delay. The right fielder for the Rule nine was missing. West seized the opportunity by volunteering to fill in, and the Rule manager agreed to start the game with the raw schoolkid patrolling an outfield position.

Like a chapter out of the book of Frank Merriwell, West proved to be an asset instead of a liability, and soon enough he was installed as the team’s regular right fielder. But the pleasure of winning a starting job on the town’s team and pointing at the high-school coach each time he saw him, wasn’t enough for Sam West, who wanted to conquer bigger and better goals. . . .

. . . While playing for Rule, West was scouted and signed by Roswell, New Mexico, of the Class D Panhandle-Pecos Valley League, for 1923. At the age of 18, he batted .282 in 99 games. The next season he batted .271 for Sulphur Springs of the Class D East Texas League. He began the 1925 season with Monroe, Louisiana, of the Class D Cotton States League. After hitting .341 in 23 games, he was back in the East Texas League in July, this time with the Longview Cannibals, and on July 19 the Longview native hit for the cycle in the Cannibals’ 9-5 win over Texarkana. He finished the season with a second tour of Sulphur Springs. The Cannibals finished the season with an eight-game winning streak and a 37-26 second-half record. West’s strong showing – he hit .325 in 81 East Texas League games – convinced a scout for the Birmingham Barons of the Southern Association that he was ready to play in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Playing the last month of the 1925 campaign for the Barons, West hit .265 in 24 games. In 1926 he burned up the league, and played so well that the caught the eye of the Washington Senators’ super-scout, Joe Engel. Convinced that West would prove to be the center fielder of the future for Washington, Engel began to arrange for his purchase. His scouting report noted West to be a good hitter but, surprisingly, a poor fielder. Engel would have been surprised to know that this prospect would become one of the best defensive center fielders in major-league history.

But Engel’s report about West’s good hitting was accurate. After the first week of July, he was hitting .340 and he was leading the league with 16 home runs and 90 runs.
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File Type: jpg 1939PlayBallWestUpper-LowerCase9652Front.jpg (86.9 KB, 165 views)
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  #716  
Old 05-26-2024, 03:31 AM
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Default The 1940 Washington Senators

Deveaux on the 1940 season: The decade of the forties, destined to be the darkest of the century for major-league baseball, got off with the biggest kind of a bang. On April 16, 1940, 21-year-old "Rapid Robert" Feller of the Indians pitched a no-hitter on Opening Day, the first time this had ever happened. The command performance was given in 47-degree weather at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The final out registered when Feller induced Taft Wright to ground out.

The 29-year-old Wright had been a Washington Senator until recently, when he'd been traded to Chicago, with Pete Appleton, in exchange for a powerfully built 31-year-old outfielder named Gerald "Gee" Walker. Walker had slipped below .300 the previous season for the first time since 1933, but had slugged 13 homers, with 111 ribbies, as compared to just four homers for Taffy Wright. As for Appleton, he had not been an especially effective pitcher since 1936, and would not be again.

Gee Walker had hit as high as .353 in 1936, and had followed that up with .335 in '37. He had been immensely popular in Detroit before moving on to the White Sox prior to the 1938 campaign. While he often made up for his deficiencies with his bat, his frequent mental lapses when dealing with other phases of the game had earned him the unflattering nickname of "Ironhead." Once, he tried to steal a base while the batter was being walked intentionally. On another occasion, he was picked off base twice in the same inning.

At Detroit, Walker had been on the outs with manager Bucky Harris for two seasons because of something that happened in 1933. He had hit a line shot directly to the second baseman, who made a nifty stab on a hard skip. Walker, disgusted, flung his bat and headed for his defensive position. His playing time was curtailed after that. Then, during the 1934 World Series, while busy arguing with some of his enemies on the St. Louis Cardinals bench, he was picked off first base.

At Washington Gee Walker would not disappoint Bucky Harris, under whom he'd played for three years in Detroit; this time he produced 13-96-.294 numbers for the Senators on what was ironically the most anemic offense in the American League in 1940. Second baseman Jimmy Bloodworth was the only other player on the club to hit more than six homers. In terms of home run production, the Nats finished dead last in the league, by far, with their total of 52. They scored the fewest runs in the process.

By way of contrast, the Yankees, who would finish third, but a mere two games behind the pennant-winning Tigers, slugged 155 home runs. Clark Griffith raised a few eyebrows at the 1940 winter meetings of baseball's owners by sponsoring a motion prohibiting trades between the pennant winner and other clubs in the league. In actual fact, it had been years since the Yankees had obtained a player in a trade who had made a critical difference in a pennant race. When the Yankees wound up third, the whole no-trade notion was permanently scrapped. (The Washington Senators by Tom Deveaux)

(This thread will now enjoy a pause.)
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  #717  
Old 06-02-2024, 03:40 AM
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Default Jimmy Bloodworth

Player #171: James H. "Jimmy" Bloodworth. Second baseman with the Washington Senators in 1937 and 1939-1941. 874 hits and 62 home runs in 11 MLB seasons. His most productive season may have been 1942 with Detroit despite an OBP of only .295 as he posted 13 home runs and 62 runs scored in 579 at-bats. He last appeared with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1950-1951.

Bloodworth's SABR biography guides us through his MLB arrival in Washington: In 1934 a Washington Senators scout — believed to be former lefty hurler Joe Engel – spied Francis (Jimmy's older brother) among the town teams in Florida’s panhandle and extended a contract. The father of one with another on the way, Francis felt the offer was insufficient to sustain his growing family and declined but pointed the scout to his younger brother. “Francis was a better player than me and everyone in Apalachicola knew that,” Jimmy quipped years later. “And he was lucky. He got to stay home and play baseball, but I had to go all the way to Washington, D.C., to find someone to let me play.” . . .

. . . Bloodworth’s continued progress over the next two years eventually earned a call to the majors. On September 14, 1937, he played his first big-league game, in Washington’s Griffith Stadium against the Detroit Tigers. He went hitless in his first two games, then connected for a single against the St. Louis Browns on September 18. After “showing signs of getting over stage-fright,” Bloodworth produced at a .294 pace with eight RBIs in his next 34 at-bats and positioned himself for a berth on the 1938 Senators team. Bloodworth’s competition would have been steep. The incumbent second baseman, Buddy Myer, was concluding his second All Star campaign. But Bloodworth did not get the opportunity to compete for any position at all due to the high-level machinations of the Washington franchise.

The owner of the Senators, Clark Griffith, owned the minor-league affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts as well. In 1937 he had appointed his 25-year-old nephew, Calvin Griffith, as manager of the moribund club. As losses mounted and attendance waned, Clark Griffith sought to rid himself of the Tennessee-based franchise. A buyer was found within the organization itself — farm director Joe Engel — but the sale was conditioned on a commitment extracted by Engel to let him select a number of players from within the franchise to improve Chattanooga’s on-field product. In November the Senators “carried out their part of the bargain” by assigning six players to the Lookouts. One was a player with whom Engel had a close familiarity: Jimmy Bloodworth. . . .

. . . In 1939 two developments ensured Bloodworth’s re-emergence on the major-league scene. Since their 1933 American League championship, the Senators had collapsed to the second division in four of five seasons. The 22-year-old fit in nicely with the vigorous youth movement that ensued. Meanwhile Buddy Myer, the 35-year-old second-base incumbent, was suffering from a recurrence of a stomach ailment that plagued him three years earlier and regularly forced him to the bench. Bloodworth was recalled from the Eastern League to fill the void. . . .

. . . But lose it (the Washington 2B job) Bloodworth nearly did as he suffered through a difficult 1940 spring camp. Though he had plenty of company struggling in Florida, he drew considerable criticism from the same writers who had fawned over him the year before. The 1940 Senators suffered a 90-loss season — the most since 1911 — and although Bloodworth placed among the team leaders in homers (11) and RBIs (70), he was constantly cited for a low batting average (.245; league average: .271). Pitchers had discovered his weakness on breaking pitches. “I don’t know what to think of Bloodworth,” Clark Griffith said. “He’s got plenty of power and he’s hit a lot of home runs, but he still goes for that outside curve ball and isn’t consistent. He isn’t fast in the field and doesn’t cover too much ground, but where is there a fellow with better hands than Bloodworth?”

Bloodworth’s 1941 line of .245-7-66 for the sixth-place Senators mirrored his preceding campaign. Offseason speculation arose that he would be moved to third base in 1942 to make room for another budding second-base prospect. The shift never took place. In a four-player swap on December 12, 1941, the Tigers acquired Bloodworth to replace retiring second baseman Gehringer.

(Bloodworth's 1940 Play Ball card includes a tease for a coming new attraction: Millions demanded him. Thousands are asking for him. That popular hero of the hour . . . SUPERMAN. He's coming with the most thrilling Adventure and Taste Thrill ever offered . . . Watch for SUPERMAN CARD GUM.)
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  #718  
Old 06-03-2024, 03:14 AM
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Default Zeke Bonura

Player #163B: Henry J. "Zeke" Bonura (pronounced like Sonora). First baseman for the Washington Senators in 1938 and 1940. 1,099 hits and 119 home runs in 7 MLB seasons. He had a career OBP of .380. He debuted with the Chicago White Sox in 1934. His best season was probably 1936 for the White Sox as he posted a .426 OBP with 120 runs scored and 138 RBIs in 688 plate appearances. His indifferent defense on balls hit to his right gave rise to the "Bonura Salute".

We'll let Zeke's SABR biography lead us through his time in Washington: A leading slugger of the 1930s, Zeke Bonura was “one of baseball’s best-loved figures.” He was a colorful first baseman with an indomitable spirit, and his great enthusiasm resonated with fans. In seven major-league seasons, he hit .307 and averaged 100 RBIs per season. During World War II, he received the Legion of Merit medal for creating baseball fields and leagues in North Africa, enabling service men and women to play and watch the national pastime. . .

. . . He (Bonura) was a holdout in the spring of 1938, the fourth consecutive spring in which he held out, and this time White Sox owner Louis Comiskey refused to meet his salary demands and traded him to the Washington Senators.

On Opening Day, April 18, 1938, in Washington, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vice President John N. Garner saw Bonura slug a three-run homer in the Senators’ 12-8 victory over the Athletics. On Opening Day in Chicago the next day, many fans booed as the White Sox took the field, to protest the trade of Bonura. “South Side fans are really SORE at Comiskey,” wrote Arch Ward of the Chicago Tribune.

During the first two-thirds of the 1938 season, Bonura was mired in a slump. His batting average through games of August 3 was .232, but then his bat caught fire: From August 4 to August 27, he hit .476 and knocked in 37 runs in 23 games. He finished the season with a .289 average and led the fifth-place Senators with 114 RBIs, and his 22 home runs set a franchise record.

Bonura led AL first basemen with a .993 fielding percentage in 1938, yet his fielding was widely criticized. As he aged, he became heavier and less mobile. Sportswriter Sid Keener scoffed at the fielding stats and said, “It is a known fact that Bonura prefers to remain in a stationary position as bounders zip past his bulky frame, skipping to the outfield for base hits.” His fielding percentage reflects his errors of commission but not his errors of omission.

Bonura has “a great pair of hands,” said Jimmy Dykes. “His only weakness is on hard-hit balls to his right, but he won’t drop any thrown balls.” But Senators owner Clark Griffith said, “Zeke is too clumsy in the field and it’s too bad, because he’s a nice fellow and nobody tries harder.” Griffith traded him to the New York Giants in December 1938. If it were 35 years later, Bonura would have become a designated hitter.

(Bonura's 1940 Play Ball card includes a tease for a coming new attraction: Stop! Look! Ask for that new great sensation . . . SUPERMAN GUM with Thrilling Adventure Cards. This exciting series will soon be here.)
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  #719  
Old 06-04-2024, 03:08 AM
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Default George Case

Player #164B: George W. Case. Outfielder for the Washington Senators in 1937-1945 and 1947. 1,415 hits and 349 stolen bases in 11 MLB seasons. 4-time All-Star. 6-time AL stolen base leader. Only player to ever lead MLB in stolen bases for five consecutive years (1939-1943). His best season was probably 1942 for Washington as he posted a .377 OBP with 101 runs scored and 44 stolen bases in 563 plate appearances.

We go to Case's SABR biography to follow his remarkable career: George Case was a four-time major-league All-Star who devoted almost 50 years of his life to the game he loved. His playing career, cut short by injuries, spanned 11 years (1937-47), ten years with the Washington Senators and one with the Cleveland Indians. . . .

A natural athlete in his youth, George Case had one remarkable talent that separated him from his peers: his blazing speed. He wasn’t just fast. George Case could run like the wind. This extraordinary ability became his ticket into professional baseball; and once he made it to the majors, he fine-tuned his skills and emerged as the premier base stealer of his generation. According to author Mark Stang: “His raw speed and ability to read pitchers and catchers made him the most feared base stealer in either league.” . . . .

. . . As a pitcher and second baseman with terrific foot speed, George Case was noticed by local scouts. Before long the talented teenager came to the attention of Philadelphia Athletics owner-manager Connie Mack. Observing young George in a tryout Mack suggested a switch to the outfield, where his speed would be a valuable asset. George accepted Mack’s advice and developed into an exceptional defensive outfielder. He remained an outfielder for the rest of his career except for three games as a pitcher in the minors.

Since the A’s were stocked with outfielders at the time, Mack advised his friend Clark Griffith of the Washington Senators to take a look at the young speedster. In 1936 Washington scout Joe Cambria, who signed many of the Senators’ best players during the 1930s and ’40s, inked George to his first professional contract. . . .

With word of his extraordinary speed spreading throughout the Washington organization, the parent club called Case up for a “look-see” in September 1937. The 6-foot, 183-pound right-handed-hitting outfielder made an inauspicious big-league debut on September 8 in a game at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park. He went 0-for-4 against Athletics pitcher George Caster in a 2-0 Washington loss in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game he was also hitless in four at-bats. He recovered from this temporary setback and finished the season strong, hitting .289 in 93 at-bats. 1938 Case hit .305 in 107 games. His breakout year came in 1939, when he hit.302, led the Senators in runs (103), and topped the American League in steals (51). For the next seven years Case was baseball’s most feared and most successful base stealer. After he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1946, his new manager. Lou Boudreau jokingly remarked that he was relieved he no longer had to worry about “that pest” George Case on the bases. (We will return here when Case next surfaces.)
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  #720  
Old 06-04-2024, 08:30 AM
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Default

Thought I would add my only Washington Senators item. 10 sheets of 1952 schedule backed matchbook uncut sheets. I bought them because I thought they would display well, but sadly Ive never done anything with them, just setting in the back of a closet.
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Last edited by nebboy; 06-04-2024 at 08:35 AM.
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  #721  
Old 06-05-2024, 03:45 AM
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Default Ken Chase

(John: Thanks for posting. I have some "good ideas" in my closet also.)

Player #166B: Kendall F. "Ken" Chase. Pitcher for the Washington Senators in 1936-1941. 53 wins in 8 MLB seasons. His best season was 1940 for Washington as posted a 15-17 record with a 3.23 ERA in 261.2 innings pitched. He gave up Lou Gehrig's 2721st and last hit, as Gehrig removed himself from the line up the next day in 1939. He finished his career with the New York Giants in 1943.

We return to Chase's SABR biography: During spring training 1940, Griffith called Ken Chase the best lefty in the American League.

Chase declared his ambition was to win 15 games, and then 20, and hit a home run, something he had never done. Chase realized two of those ambitions in 1940. He was 15-17 (3.23 ERA), and he hit a home run off Bill Trotter of the Browns at Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis, on July 31. Unfortunately, he also led the majors in bases on balls – he walked 143 batters, 21 more than second-place Vern Kennedy of the Browns. His 12 wild pitches had also led the league.

He was never much of a hitter; his major-league batting average was .165, with just the one homer. His nine RBIs in 1940 were the most in any season. Chase drove in 27 runs in his time in the big leagues.
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Old 06-05-2024, 02:25 PM
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Default R321 Backs - Senators

Have had these cards lying around for years. Finally put the puzzle together.
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  #723  
Old 06-06-2024, 03:16 AM
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Default Rick Ferrell

(Ken: Great picture! Thanks for posting.)

Player #160D: Richard B. "Rick" Ferrell. Catcher for the Washington Senators in 1937-1941, 1944-1945, and 1947. 1,692 hits 28 home runs in 18 MLB seasons. He had a career OBP of .378. 8-time All-Star. Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. In 1984, was inducted to the MLB Hall of Fame. He debuted with the St. Louis Browns in 1929-1933. His best season may have been 1932 for the Browns as he posted a .406 OBP with 67 runs scored and 65 RBIs in 514 plate appearances. He held the record for most MLB games caught for 40 years until unseated by Carlton Fiske in 1988. First catcher to receive from staff of four K-ball pitchers for the Senators in 1944. He joined the Detroit Tigers as a coach in 1950, became general manager and vice president in 1959, and continued with the Tigers until 1992. During his tenure as a Tigers executive, they won the 1968 and 1984 World Series and AL Eastern Division titles in 1972 and 1987.

We go back to Rick's SABR biography: . . . In 1940, Ferrell caught 99 games for Washington for a .980 fielding average and a .273 batting average. Yet even with Ferrell, Buddy Lewis, Cecil Travis, Sid Hudson and Mickey Vernon on the team, the Senators finished in the second division during Rick’s tenure.

On May 15, 1941, three months after he married Ruth Virginia Wilson, the catcher, 35, was traded back to the St. Louis Browns for pitcher Vern Kennedy. Rick caught 98 games for pitchers like Denny Galehouse, knuckleballer John Niggeling, and Elden Auker. . . .

. . . On August 12, 1984, the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee inducted Rick, 78, along with shortstop Pee Wee Reese, into the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, NY, bringing the ultimate recognition to one of baseball’s quiet, devoted heroes. “I know of no one who deserves the Hall of Fame more than Rick Ferrell,” wrote Detroit Free Press sportswriter Mike Downey in August 1984. “I don’t know how they kept him out for so long,” commented Kell to the Free Press then.

In August 1988 after more than forty years, Ferrell’s American League most-games caught record was broken by Hall of Fame White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk at Tiger Stadium, this time with Rick in the stands to congratulate his successor.
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Old 06-07-2024, 03:40 AM
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Default Charlie Gelbert

Player #168B: Charles M. "Charlie" Gelbert. Shortstop for the Washington Senators in 1939-1940. 766 hits and 17 home runs in 9 MLB seasons. 1931 World Series champion. He debuted with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1929-1932 and 1935-1936. In 1930 with the Cardinals, he posted a .360 OBP with 92 runs scored and 72 RBIs in 574 plate appearances. He finished his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1940. He lost two full seasons recovering from a severe ankle injury suffered while hunting. Though he returned to baseball in 1935 and played six more seasons, he was limited to a utility role for the rest of his career.

“Ripley’s Believe It or Not” featured Charley Gelbert in 1941, noting that he “played 239 major league games with a broken leg.” Shortstop Gelbert put in four full seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and played in back-to-back World Series, losing one and then winning one. And then an offseason hunting accident nearly ended his career. But he kept on playing, and saw duty in five more big-league seasons.

He had seemed destined for greatness. Hall of Famer and teammate Frankie Frisch said, “If he hadn’t been hurt, he would have been the best.” . . .

. . . That November (1932), Gelbert shot himself with a 12-gauge shotgun. It was an accident. On November 16 he went hunting with four friends and a number of dogs not far from his home in Fayettesville, Pennsylvania . “It could have happened to anyone,” he said afterward. “I was talking along, carrying my gun properly, and my foot slipped. I fell backward, my feet flew up, the gun went off. …” His foot had snagged on a hillside vine and as he tried to right himself, the other foot turned on a piece of rock. “The gun in his right hand crashed against the rocky mountain side. There was an explosion. The jar had discharged Gelbert’s gun.” The shotgun blast hit him in the left leg about four inches above the ankle. “They were afraid to loosen the boot for fear the foot would fall off. That’s how bad it looked.” An Army surgeon who had served in World War I evaluated his foot and worried that it would need to be amputated; there were few tendons left. But treatment at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia saved his foot. Gelbert told his wife, “From now on, I’ll confine myself to golf. … I know now there is nothing safe about a gun.”

Surgeries followed, and Gelbert spent two months in the hospital. He then began a long stretch of rehabilitation. His fibula was entirely disconnected and four inches of his posterior artery and nerve were destroyed. He missed both the 1933 and 1934 seasons, needing even further skin grafts late in calendar 1934. He took a position as football coach at Gettysburg College but had to resign that position in September 1934 because he still was not able to physically do the work of coaching on the field. When the Gas House Gang Cardinals won the World Series in October, they remembered their former shortstop and voted him a $1,000 partial share. . . .

. . . The 1940 season was Gelbert’s last in the major leagues, split between the Senators (for whom he even pitched in two games (four innings in relief), with a 9.00 ERA) and the Boston Red Sox. He was actually batting .370 for Washington (albeit in only 59 plate appearances over 22 games), when the team placed him on waivers to give prospect Jimmy Pofahl more playing time.
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  #725  
Old 06-08-2024, 03:56 AM
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Default Bucky Harris

Player #83M: Stanley R. "Bucky" Harris. Second baseman for the Washington Senators in 1919-1928. 1,297 hits and 167 stolen bases in 12 MLB seasons. 1924 and 1947 World Series champion. In 1975, inducted to the MLB Hall of Fame. Named player-manager of the Washington Senators in 1924 at age 27. "The Boy Wonder" led Washington to World Series victory as "rookie" manger. Managed Washington Senators in 1924-1928, 1935-1942, and 1950-1954. Managed the Detroit Tigers in 1929-1933 and 1955-1956. Managed the Boston Red Sox in 1934. Managed the Philadelphia Phillies in 1943. Managed the New York Yankees in 1947-1948, including winning the 1947 world Series. Served as the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox in 1959-1960.

Bucky's SABR biography gets to the end of his long baseball career: Harris had a career Major League batting average of .274. In 1,253 games at second base, he led the American League in putouts four times and in double plays five straight times (1921 to 1925). In twenty-nine years as a manager, he won 2,158 games and lost 2,219. With two World Series victories and the respect of his peers, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1975. Harris will be remembered as a scrappy ballplayer known for his great defense, his hard-nosed play, his base-running skills, getting hit by pitches, and for his clutch hitting in the 1924 World Series. As of 2011 only Connie Mack, Tony LaRussa, John McGraw, and Bobby Cox had managed more games than Harris, and he ranked seventh all-time in managerial victories and third in losses.

From 1956 to 1960 Harris was assistant general manager and then general manager of the Boston Red Sox, and he finished his baseball career as a scout with the Chicago White Sox, then as a special assistant with the expansion Washington Senators of the 1960s.

In 1954, as manager of the Senators, Harris put Carlos Paula, a black Cuban, on the roster as the first black Senator. Harris wasn’t an activist; he appeared to be motivated to field the best team possible, regardless of color. When Pumpsie Green became the first black player for the Red Sox in 1959, Bucky was the general manager.

(Bucky's 1940 Play Ball card includes a tease for a coming new attraction: Millions of young folks asked for SUPERMAN CARD GUM. Now it's on the way here. This new Adventure and Taste Thrill awaits you at your dealers. Ask for it. Watch for it.)
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File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#129HarrisSMBSGC9021Front.jpg (120.6 KB, 180 views)
File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#129HarrisSMBSGC9021Back.jpg (125.3 KB, 184 views)
File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#129Harris8061Back.jpg (113.7 KB, 196 views)
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  #726  
Old 06-09-2024, 03:57 AM
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Default Walter Johnson

Player #54V: Walter P. "Barney" Johnson. "The Big Train". Pitcher for the Washington Senators in 1907-1927. 417 wins and 34 saves in 21 MLB seasons. 1924 World Series champion. 1913 and 1924 AL Most Valuable Player. 3-time triple crown. 6-time AL wins leader. 5-time AL ERA leader. 12-time AL strikeout leader. He had a career ERA of 2.17 in 5,914.1 innings pitched. He pitched a no-hitter in 1920. He holds the MLB record with 110 career shutouts. MLB All-Time Team. Inducted to the MLB Hall of Fame in 1936. One of his best seasons was 1913 as he posted a record of 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA in 346 innings pitched.

During World War II, he (Walter) made several brief playing appearances in war bond games, including serving up pitches to Ruth in Yankee Stadium.

After an illness of several months caused by a brain tumor, Walter Johnson died in Washington at age 59 on December 10, 1946, and is buried next to Hazel at Union Cemetery, in Rockville, Maryland.
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File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#120W.Johnson1667Front.jpg (101.1 KB, 185 views)
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  #727  
Old 06-09-2024, 12:48 PM
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Default Cookie Lavagetto

I attended my first ballgames at Griffith Stadium in 1959. This man was the manager,
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  #728  
Old 06-10-2024, 03:04 AM
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Default Joe Krakauskas

(I don't have any Cookies. I don't think I made any baseball games at Griffith Stadium, but I do think I saw the Redskins play there once, presumably in 1960. I would have been 7 years old. It was the Santa Claus (final) game, I think.)

Player #172: Joseph V. "Joe" Krakauskas. Pitcher with the Washington Senators in 1937-1940. 26 wins and 4 saves in 7 MLB seasons. His most productive season was 1936 with Washington as he posted a 11-17 record with a 4.60 ERA in 217.1 innings pitched. He finished his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1941-1942 and 1946. He is best remembered for giving up the final hit in Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941.

Baseball in Wartime provides an overview of Krakauskas' time in Washington: Blessed with blazing speed but control problems, 1937 saw him with the Syracuse Chiefs in the International League, and he joined the Washington Senators in September – one of the few Canadians in the major leagues. In his debut against the Philadelphia Athletics on September 9, 1937, Krakauskas gave up one hit in a seven-inning relief performance. On September 28, the young Canadian threw a 7-hitter against Yankees, winning 2-1. Krakauskas finished 1937 with four wins and one loss in five appearances for the Senators.

In 1938, he was 7-5 as both a starter and reliever. In 1939, his 11-17 record in 39 appearances gave him the second most wins on a Washington team that finished sixth in the American League.

When Canada entered World War II in September 1939, Krakauskas made an application for American citizenship. "Ever since I have been in organized baseball," he explained, "I have intended to become an American citizen. I may be drafted by Canada, but I do not plan to enlist."

In 1940, Krakauskas dropped to 1-6 in mainly a relief role with an inflated ERA of 6.44. On Christmas Eve 1940, Krakauskas was traded to the Indians for Ben Chapman. He split the season between Syracuse in the International League and the Indians.
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File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#188KrakauskasSMB7253Front.jpg (98.5 KB, 179 views)
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  #729  
Old 06-11-2024, 01:27 AM
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Default Dutch Leonard

Player #169B: Emil J. "Dutch" Leonard. Knuckle-ball pitcher for the Washington Senators in 1938-1946. 191 wins and 45 saves in 20 MLB seasons. 5-time All Star. Pitched complete game to beat Yankees in 1st game of doubleheader, after which Lou Gehrig gave "luckiest man in the world" speech. In 1945, part of four-man rotation, made up by four knuckle-ball pitchers. Debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1933.

We return to Leonard's SABR biography -- Part 2: Leonard’s first four seasons in Washington (1938-1941) were nearly identical, with ERAs around 3.50 and about two walks and three strikeouts per game. Because he struck out few batters, he was more dependent on his defense than the average pitcher. His fluctuating won-loss records reflect the quality of the Senators’ fielders as well as the whims of luck. In his 18-13 year in 1941, he was the league’s best in fielding independent pitching, a statistic that measures a pitcher’s performance without regard to the fielders behind him.

His 1942 season ended in his second start, when he was hustling to beat out an infield hit and broke his left ankle sliding into first base to dodge a tag. He tried to come back four months later but couldn’t.

The military draft began taking large numbers of big leaguers in 1943. Leonard was deferred from service because he and Rose had two children (a third came later) and he was supporting his mother and a sister.

He raised his game against weak wartime competition, lowering his ERA in each of the next three years. He started the 1943 All-Star Game at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park. The National League’s first two batters, Stan Hack and Billy Herman, singled. Stan Musial’s sacrifice fly brought Hack home. Then Leonard set down eight of the next nine batters (one reached on an error). He finished his three-inning stint with a 3-1 lead, thanks to Bobby Doerr’s homer, and was the winning pitcher. Although he was picked for four All-Star teams, this was his only appearance.

The Senators opened the 1944 season with four knuckleball pitchers. Roger Wolff, Johnny Niggeling, and Mickey Haefner joined Leonard to give 38-year-old Rick Ferrell nightmares. Each knuckler was different. Niggeling gripped the ball with one fingertip. Leonard and Haefner used two, Wolff three. Contrary to legend, Ferrell did not set a record for passed balls in either ’44 or ’45, but he did allow more than anyone since catchers began wearing shin guards. Ferrell compared the knuckleball to a butterfly: “Did you ever try to catch one with your hand? Well, that’s the way it is catching the knuckler.” He and the Yankees’ Bill Dickey were the first to use a flexible mitt, rather than the conventional pillow, which allowed them to receive pitches one-handed and protect their bare fingers. Ferrell always wore his full gear when he warmed up his nemeses and said he suffered his only broken finger when he got careless while warming up Leonard.
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File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#23Leonard7457Front.jpg (109.5 KB, 157 views)
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  #730  
Old 06-12-2024, 03:29 AM
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Default Buddy Lewis

Player #170B: John K. "Buddy" Lewis. Third baseman/right fielder for the Washington Senators in 1935-1941, 1945-1947, and 1949. 1,563 hits and 71 home runs in 11 MLB seasons. He played his entire career in Washington. 2-time All-Star. He had a career OBP of .368. His most productive season was 1938 as he posted an OBP of .354 with 122 runs scored and 91 RBIs in 724 plate appearances.

Lewis overcame defensive struggles at third base to forge a fine career, hitting .297 in 11 seasons with the Senators. His career was interrupted in his prime during World War II but when he returned in 1945, he nearly drove the Senators to the American League pennant, hitting .333 to lead the club to within one game of the flag.

He was one of the most popular players in Senators history, and he was a personal favorite of team owner Clark Griffith. His best season came in 1940 in his first season as a right fielder. Lewis, then able to concentrate almost exclusively on his offensive production, hit .317 in 148 games, with 101 runs scored and 63 RBI. He set a career high with 38 doubles, collected 10 triples, and had 6 homers. He also drew 74 free passes, hitting primarily in the #2 spot in the order, giving him an OBP of .393. Lewis made 9 errors in the outfield, but that was less damaging than the normal basketful he made at the hot corner.

He was selected to the All-Star team as a third baseman in 1938 and as an outfielder in 1947.
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  #731  
Old 06-13-2024, 03:05 AM
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Default Heinie Manush

Player #136F: Henry E. "Heinie" Manush. Outfielder for the Washington Senators in 1930-1935. 2,524 hits and 110 home runs in 17 MLB seasons. Had a .330 career batting average. 1934 All-Star. 1926 AL batting champion. Had more than 200 hits four times. In 1964, was inducted to the MLB Hall of Fame. Debuted with the Detroit Tigers in 1923. Leading batter on the 1933 Washington Senator team that won the AL pennant. First and last player to be ejected from a World Series game. Had 241 hits in 1928. Coach for the Washington Senators in 1953-1954.

A brief revisiting of Manush's SABR biography: Mastering the art of the line drive but unable to master his own temper, Heinie Manush burst onto the major league scene with the Detroit Tigers and quickly became one of the fiercest and most feared hitters in the game. . . .

. . . It was 1923 when Manush made his first appearance in the major leagues. He quickly blossomed under the tutelage of teammate Ty Cobb, who holds the career record for batting average (.366), and was a fellow Southerner with a strong temper who was then player-manager of the Tigers. The two, along with four-time batting champion Harry Heilmann, formed perhaps the best outfield in the history of baseball from 1923-27. . . .

. . . Heinie’s final career numbers are often overlooked, but he was one of the most dominating hitters of his time. He slapped 200 hits four times, 40 doubles five times, and finished his 2,008-game career with a .330 batting average, 2,524 hits, 491 doubles, 1,288 runs scored and 1,183 runs batted in.
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File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#176ManushSMB8513Front.jpg (100.4 KB, 158 views)
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  #732  
Old 06-14-2024, 02:56 AM
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Default Clyde Milan

Player #39L: J. Clyde "Deerfoot" Milan. Outfielder for the Washington Senators in 1907-1922. 2,100 hits and 495 stolen bases in 16 MLB seasons. 1912 and 1913 AL stolen base leader, including a then record 88 in 1912. His career OBP was .353. Managed the Washington Senators in 1922. His best season was probably 1911 for the Washington Senators as he posted a .395 OBP with 58 stolen bases and 109 runs scored in 705 plate appearances.

Milan's SABR biography sums up his place in MLB history: He was a left-handed hitter who batted .285 over the course of 16 seasons, and Clark Griffith called him Washington’s greatest centerfielder, claiming that he played the position more shallow than any man in baseball. Yet Clyde “Deerfoot” Milan achieved his greatest fame as a base stealer. After Milan supplanted Ty Cobb as the American League’s stolen-base leader by pilfering 88 bases in 1912 and 75 in 1913, F. C. Lane of Baseball Magazine called him “Milan the Marvel, the Flying Mercury of the diamond, the man who shattered the American League record, and the greatest base runner of the decade.” It was hyperbole, of course; Cobb re-claimed the AL record in 1915 by stealing 96 bases and went on to swipe far more bases over the decade than Milan, but Deerfoot stole a total of 481 during the Deadball Era, ranking third in the AL behind only Cobb (765) and Eddie Collins (564).
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  #733  
Old 06-15-2024, 03:07 AM
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Default Buddy Myer

Player #139I: Charles S. "Buddy" Myer. Second baseman with the Washington Senators in 1925-1927 and 1929-1941. 2,131 hits and 38 home runs in 17 MLB seasons. He had a career OBP of .389. 2-time All-Star. 1935 AL Batting champion. 1928 AL Stolen Base leader. His best season was 1935 for Washington as he posted a .440 OBP with 115 runs scored and 100 RBIs in 719 plate appearances. He was involved in one of baseball's most violent brawls when he was spiked and possibly racially derided by the Yankees' Ben Chapman.

We will follow Myer's SABR biography as we track his career -- Part 9: Myer retired with a .303/.389/.406 batting line and 2,131 hits. Fifteen of his 38 lifetime home runs were inside the park, 13 of those hit into Griffith Stadium’s vast outfield. His speed and ability to draw walks made him a model leadoff man.

Myer settled his family in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he joined a mortgage bank. He enjoyed a prosperous life as a banker and real estate developer, golfer, and country club member. His elder child, Charles Stevens (Stevey) Myer, followed him into the real estate business. His younger son, William Richard (Dick), played on the professional golf tour in the 1960s. Buddy Myer had a heart attack in May 1974 and died on October 31 at age 70.
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  #734  
Old 06-16-2024, 03:09 AM
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Default The Clown Prince of Baseball

Player #88D: Alexander "Al" Schacht. Pitcher with the Washington Senators in 1919-1921. 14 wins and 3 saves in 3 MLB seasons. Was highly regarded as a third base coach in Washington (1924-1934) and Boston (1935-1936). Performed player mimicry and comedy routines with fellow Washington coach Nick Altrock earning the nickname of "The Clown Prince of Baseball". After leaving coaching he continued comedy but settled in as a restauranteur.

We go back to Al's biography for a wrap on his life after baseball: When the United States was drawn into World War II in 1941, Schacht was asked to entertain the troops. He happily agreed to do so. In 1943 he went to North Africa. Schacht sensed that the biggest problem with the GIs was homesickness and that baseball stories would help them over the hump. His acts were a howling success wherever he went. Schacht was under enemy fire many times during his tours, tours that included Africa, Sicily, New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies and the Southwest Pacific. In a period of two months he played 159 stage shows, visited 72 hospitals and 230 wards, and traveled over 40,000 miles. He later went to Japan and the Philippines to do his shtick.

Schacht was given the Bill Slocum Memorial Award in 1946. The award was created in 1929 honoring a person who made the highest contribution to baseball over a long period of time. His comedic act both for baseball fans and GIs brought him a well-deserved reward.

The war over, Schacht gave up touring with his comedic act and opened a restaurant in New York. The spot was a famous place for sports figures, and Al would get up on stage from time to time and do his act. Love came into his life once again. He met Mabelle Russell, a vocalist at a local club, and they married. Schacht felt his life was complete. He had his soul mate and a fine restaurant that did well. There were also his old baseball buddies who showed up from time to time at his restaurant and his mother, who was now proud of him.

The court jester who through his life’s travails had conquered his own fears and helped others also see the absurdities of life was now a respected and successful restauranteur. He had faced death both in his personal illness and on the battlefield while entertaining troops. He fought his way into the major leagues only to suffer an injury that ended his playing career. But his sense of humor and of the absurd led him into the real essence of who he was. Upon first meeting him, one was struck by his loud in-your-face demeanor, but further study revealed a kind-hearted man. His laughing in the face of the absurdities of life brought him safely through tough times and helped people take their minds off the pressures of life if only for a few moments. Even though we suffer loss and failure, we can only lean back sometimes and laugh at all the craziness of life. Al did not solve problems as his rabbi grandfather did. Instead, he reached people through the medium of the human comedy.
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File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#116Schacht9731Front.jpg (100.4 KB, 118 views)
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  #735  
Old 06-17-2024, 03:15 AM
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Default The Old Sarge

Player #33F: Charles E. "Gabby" Street. "The Old Sarge". Catcher for the Washington Senators in 1908-1911. 312 hits and 2 home runs in 8 MLB seasons. Debuted with the Cincinnati Reds in 1904. Caught ball dropped from top of Washington Monument. Holds MLB record for longest gap between MLB games at 19 years -- 1912-1931. Managed the St. Louis Cardinals in 1929 and 1930-1933, including the 1931 World Series championship. Managed the St. Louis Browns in 1938.

Gabby Street became known as Sergeant Street when he enlisted in the Army in March 1918. As Street put it, he was going off to fight in the “real” World Series.

Gabby's SABR biography covers a highlight of his managerial career and wraps up his time as a player: Frustration overcame (St. Louis Cardinal manager Gabby) Street as he dealt with (young pitching prospect/Phenom Dizzy) Dean and his antics during spring training in 1931. Dean would often be late or just miss workouts and meetings altogether. “Let some of the other clucks work out for the staff. "Nobody can beat me” was a line Dean often fed to Street. The veteran players and Street had a respectful relationship and although Street might talk tough, he was extremely well liked. There was no denying Dean’s ability, but he drove Street and later Frankie Frisch crazy with his clowning around. Dean was eventually sent down to Houston of the Texas League, where he spent the bulk of the 1931 season. Prophetically, Street remarked, “I think he’s going to be a great one. But I’m afraid we’ll never know from one minute to the next what he’s going to do or say.”

The 1931 season would prove that no miracle was needed. The Cards held a slim lead over the rest of the pack on May 30, then built on it and coasted to their second straight pennant with a record of 101- 53. The 48-year-old Street put on the catching gear for one last time on September 20, 1931, starting a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers and playing long enough to get one at-bat. That wrapped up a career in which he batted .208 in 504 major-league games, hit two home runs, and drove in 105 runs. A relatively new face in the Cardinal lineup was center fielder Pepper Martin. In his first full season with the Cards, Martin hit .300 and drove in 75 runs. Except for Mike Gonzalez and Frisch, the rest of the team were products of Rickey’s farm system. Their opponent in the World Series was again the Athletics. Before the Series, Connie Mack said of the Cardinals, “I don’t worry about their big hitters—Frisch, Bottomley, Hafey—but they’ve got a young man named Martin who bothers me. He’s the kind of aggressive, unpredictable who could be the hero or the goat.”

Pepper Martin certainly was no goat, batting .500 with four doubles, one homer, five RBIs, and five stolen bases. Grimes and Hallahan each won two games. Grimes won the all-important Game Seven, 4-2, while Hallahan had what today would be recorded as a save. St. Louis scored two runs in the first inning, one on a wild pitch by Earnshaw, and one on an error by first baseman Jimmie Foxx. George Watkins hit a two-run homer in the third inning off Earnshaw to make the score 4-0, and the lead held up. The Cardinals had their second world championship. “I’ve seen a lot of great ballclubs in my day, but for pitching, hitting, spirit, and all-around balance, I would back my 1931 Cardinal team against any of them,” Street said. Frisch agreed with his skipper: “There’s no question in my mind that the best club that I ever played with was the happily efficient Cardinal team of 1931.”
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File Type: jpg 1940PlayBall#169StreetSMB3049Front.jpg (97.8 KB, 115 views)
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  #736  
Old 06-18-2024, 03:11 AM
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Default Cecil Travis

Player #158E: Cecil H. Travis Part 5. Infielder for the Washington Senators in 1933-1941 and 1945-1947. 1,544 hits and 27 home runs over 12 MLB seasons. 3-time All-Star. One of two to get 5 hits in first game. Led American League in hits in 1941 despite DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak and Ted Williams hitting .406. His best season was 1941 as he posted a .410 OBP with 101 RBIs in 663 plate appearances. In the Army during 1942-45, he wound up a frostbite victim in the Battle of the Bulge and a Bronze Star recipient. His return to MLB after the war surgery was not the same.

Soon after Pearl Harbor, Travis was inducted into the United States Army. He was stationed at Camp Wheeler in Georgia, where he played on the camp’s baseball team. In May 1942, he was granted leave to play in a benefit game at Griffith Stadium for Dean’s All-Stars, organized by Dizzy Dean, who were pitted against the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues. The highlight of the game was when Travis faced off against the great Satchel Paige, whom the Grays had borrowed for the exhibition; Travis singled in the first at-bat, but Paige struck him out in the second at-bat. The Paige-Travis confrontations have been cited as an important moment in the early stages of integrating the sport. Travis and the Camp Wheeler club played in the national semipro tournament in August and won the championship. . . .

. . . In 1944, Travis was transferred to Camp McCoy in Wisconsin. He was a star on the McCoy baseball team, which played against semipro and military teams throughout the region and won the Wisconsin state championship. That autumn, as a member of the Special Forces in the 76th Infantry Division (nicknamed “Onaway” Division), Travis was sent to Europe for active duty. The 76th was stationed briefly in England before crossing the channel and entering the European Theater in December. That winter, the 76th performed “mop-up” duty in following behind the Germans as Hitler’s forces retreated from the Battle of the Bulge. American soldiers battled the elements during that cold winter; Travis developed frostbite to two toes of his left foot and spent time in a hospital in Metz, France, before rejoining his unit. Onaway Division pursued Hitler’s army on into Germany and, following the surrender of Germany in May 1945, remained as part of the occupying forces. Travis managed a baseball team for the 76th that participated in a European Theater tournament.

After the 76th was deactivated in June, Travis returned to the States. He was training for reassignment to the Pacific Theater when the Japanese surrendered, ending the war. A civilian once again, he rejoined the Senators lineup in September, but it was clear that he was not the same player who had compiled a .327 career batting average before the war. He hit .241 that September, and despite some brief moments of brilliance at the plate (including six straight hits over two games in May) hit only .252 in 1946, his last season as a full-time player. The Senators celebrated “Cecil Travis Night” in his honor at Griffith Stadium on August 15, 1947. In the ceremony, which was attended by the former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Travis was showered with gifts, including a De Soto automobile and a 1,500-pound Hereford bull. He officially retired after the 1947 season and worked as a scout in the organization until 1956. He settled back on his Riverdale farm with his Helen and their youngest son, Ricky.
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  #737  
Old 06-19-2024, 03:07 AM
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Default Sam West

Player #122D: Samuel F. "Sam" West. Outfielder with the Washington Senators in 1927-1932 and 1938-1941. 1,838 hits and 75 home runs in 16 MLB seasons. 4-time All-Star. His career OBP was .371. In 1931 for Washington, he posted an OBP of .369 with 91 RBIs in 559 plate appearances. In 1934 for the St. Louis Browns he posted an OBP of .403 with 91 runs scored in 554 plate appearances. His last season was 1942 with the Chicago White Sox.

Sam's SABR biography covers the tail end of his career: During the 1938 season, West was traded back to Washington for center fielder Mel Almada. That season West batted .305. It was the eighth time in his career that he hit .300 or higher. He played three more seasons in Washington, mostly in a part-time role. The Senators released him after the 1941 season, and he signed with the Chicago White Sox for 1942. He played in only 49 games and hit .232. After the season West joined the Army Air Forces. “Although baseball has taken a back seat for the duration, I am going to stay in baseball after the war,” he said during his basic training at the Lubbock Army flying school. After basic training, West remained at the base and as a sergeant was in charge of physical-fitness training of pilots and base personnel.

After his discharge from the Army in July 1945 West, now 40, was released by the White Sox. He stayed in baseball as a coach for the Senators for two seasons before retiring from the game. . . .

. . . West’s career major-league statistics include 1,753 games played, a .299 batting average, 934 runs, 347 doubles, 101 triples, and 75 home runs. He made 4,300 putouts and had 151 assists. He had a career fielding percentage of .983.

According to the Tenth Edition of the Baseball Encyclopedia, West’s career average of 2.9 chances per game ranked seventh best of all time for outfielders, and his average of 2.7 putouts per game ranked sixth best.
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  #738  
Old 06-20-2024, 03:02 AM
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Default The 1941 Washington Senators

The 1941 Washington Senators won 70 games, lost 84, and finished in sixth place in the American League. They were managed by Bucky Harris and played home games at Griffith Stadium.

The year 1941 was wonderful for American League baseball. Little more than half a decade after Clark Griffith made his prophecy about night baseball and gave his personal endorsement of "the Lord'd own sunshine," the lights were turned on for the first time at Griffith Stadium, on May 28, 1941. (The Nats had played their first night game nearly two years earlier, on July 6, 1939, at Philadelphia.) The Yankees were the visitors for the occasion and winners by a 6-5 count. As usual this season, it was the Yanks, and more specifically, Joe DiMaggio, who were generating most of the magic. In every game New York played between May 15 and July 17, 56 of them, DiMaggio got at least one hit to set a mark yet unbroken.

The Senators did not, of course, escape the wrath of DiMaggio during this period. At Griffith Stadium on May 27, he went 4-for-5 to extend his streak to 12 straight games with a hit. On the 28th, in a night game, DiMag tripled off Sid Hudson. The Nats lost that one in a manner that was particularly heartbreaking, beaten by a pinch-hit grand slam by George Selkirk, who one day would become General Manager of the Washington Senators.

On June 29, 1941, it was against the Senators that the Yankee Clipper tied and then broke George Sisler's all-time American League record of hitting successfully in 41 consecutive games. In the first game of a doubleheader, DiMaggio doubled off Dutch Leonard in the sixth inning to tie Sisler's record, and in the second game, he singled in the seventh off big Red Anderson (who totaled 36 big-league appearances) to set a new standard. Joe D was only 2-for-9 on the day, but the Bombers still battered the Senators, 9-4 and 7-5.

Joe DiMaggio eventually broke Wee Willie Keeler's all-time mark of base hits in 44 straight games, at Yankee Stadium on July 2. The record setter was a three-run homer off Dick Newsome of the Red Sox and came after Joltin' Joe had been robbed of hits in his two previous at-bats that day. The skein reached 56 games, and the final hit was a long double surrendered by Joe Krakauskas. On the following day, "the streak" was halted by Krakauskas's new teammates, pitchers Al Smith and Jim Bagby, but especially by third baseman Ken Keltner, who made two sensational diving stops on DiMaggio rockets. After that game Joltin' Joe, who incredibly, had hit in 61 straight contests as an 18-year-old in the very tough Pacific Coast League, had safeties in 16 more games in a row. He led the league with 125 runs batted in, and the Yankees went on to their fifth World Series triumph in six years, reclaiming for the league the championship lost by the Tigers in seven games to the Cincinnati Reds in 1940.
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  #739  
Old 06-21-2024, 03:14 AM
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Default 1941 Washington Senators -- Part 2

At the time, DiMaggio's streak garnered much more media attention than another accomplishment which has since gained greater prominence. Nineteen forty-one was the year that Ted Williams hit .406, the first time the .400 barrier had been surpassed in the league since 1923, when Harry Heilmann reached .403 for the Tigers. Bill Terry had been the last to bat .400 in the majors, posting a .401 mark in 1930. Williams' on-base percentage of .551 achieved in this season will likely stand as a record forever. But in 1941, much more was made of DiMag's streak, which, after all, had shattered a mark which had stayed on the books for 44 years. Over the entire season, however, Ted Williams' batting average was just two points lower than DiMaggio's had been during the 56-game streak.

Ted Williams was a young man who did not lack in confidence, and this quality was exemplified on September 28, when manager Joe Cronin offered him the possibility of sitting out both games of a doubleheader on the last day of the season. Ted's average stood at .39955, which would round out to an even .400. Ted's answer was to the effect that he didn't care to become known as a .400 hitter with a lousy average of .39955.

The true hero that he was (he would become one in the military sphere during World War II, and again in Korea, as a Marine flier), Williams, just 23 years old, went 6-for-8 and finished the season at .4057. The Splendid Splinter asked writers following that last game, "Ain't I the best hitter you ever saw?" Nearly 30 years later, Ted would write in his book My Turn at Bat, "I want people to say, "There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived."

But it was neither Joe DiMaggio nor Ted Williams who led the American League in base hits in 1941. The distinction went to Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators, who managed 219 safeties. Travis placed between the Splendid Splinter and the Yankee Clipper in batting average, with .359. His 316 total bases, only 32 behind DiMaggio, were the result of seven homers, a huge improvement, and 19 triples, which placed him just behind Jeff Heath of Cleveland, who led the league in that department with 20.

The third base experiment ended for Travis, and his wonderful offensive year brought the 28-year-old's career batting average to .327. He was named to the Major-League All-Star team at shortstop by the Sporting News, the first Washington player to be named among the elite since Joe Cronin had been designated, at the same position, seven years before.
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  #740  
Old 06-22-2024, 03:09 AM
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Default George Case

Player #164C: George W. Case Part 1. Outfielder for the Washington Senators in 1937-1945 and 1947. 1,415 hits and 349 stolen bases in 11 MLB seasons. 4-time All-Star. 6-time AL stolen base leader. Only player to ever lead MLB in stolen bases for five consecutive years (1939-1943). His best season was probably 1942 for Washington as he posted a .377 OBP with 101 runs scored and 44 stolen bases in 563 plate appearances.

In 1940 Case hit his stride and blossomed into a star. He achieved career highs in runs (109) and hits (192) and had 35 steals. More success followed in 1941 with 33 thefts and the league lead in outfield assists (21). Case hit a career-high .320 in 1942, scored 101 runs, added 44 steals, and was caught stealing only six times. In 1943 he won another stolen-base title, his fifth straight. His 61 thefts that year equaled the highest single-season mark from 1921 through 1961. He endured an injury-plagued season in 1944 as he slipped to a .250 average, an uncharacteristically low 63 runs scored, and a second-place finish to Snuffy Stirnweiss in stolen bases (49). In 1945 Case’s batting average climbed to a more respectable .294 with another second-place finish to Stirnweiss in stolen bases (30) as he placed ninth in MVP voting.

In December 1945, with a slow healing separated shoulder and back problems taking their toll from many years of hard sliding, Case was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Jeff Heath. At age 30 he sensed that his body was starting to break down. Of his evolving approach to base stealing, he said, “I’ve reached a stage in my career when I realize that I must conserve myself if I’m going to last another ten years.”

Case’s last stolen-base title came with the Indians in 1946 (28), although his batting average (.225) and runs (46) continued to slide. In March 1947 Case was traded back to the Senators in exchange for pitcher Roger Wolff. After hitting .150 in 36 games, he announced his retirement at the age of 31. He played his last game on August 3, 1947. The ten-year goal proved to be elusive.
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  #741  
Old 06-23-2024, 03:07 AM
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Default George Case

Player #164C: George W. Case Part 2. Outfielder for the Washington Senators in 1937-1945 and 1947. 1,415 hits and 349 stolen bases in 11 MLB seasons. 4-time All-Star. 6-time AL stolen base leader. Only player to ever lead MLB in stolen bases for five consecutive years (1939-1943). His best season was probably 1942 for Washington as he posted a .377 OBP with 101 runs scored and 44 stolen bases in 563 plate appearances.

Case stole 349 bases in his career with an outstanding 76.2 percent success rate. He ranked ninth in American League history in career steals at the time of his retirement. In 1986 writer Nicholas Dawidoff described Case’s base-stealing technique: “Like many great base stealers, Case didn’t take a big lead, but he was able to get a phenomenal jump on the pitcher. Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn says: ‘It seemed like he was always started at full speed.’ ”

In the same article, Case commented on why he never stole 100 bases, and also proffered a contrast between today’s base stealers and those of his day: “Baseball was played a lot differently then [when I played]. I never stole third with two out or stole second when we were three or four runs down. In the 1940s, there were right and wrong times to run. Now that isn’t true. It’s no secret why players get 100 stolen bases today.”

Case is the only player to lead the major leagues in stolen bases five consecutive seasons (1939-43). He did it again in 1946, thus topping the American League six times. This achievement tied him with Ty Cobb for the most seasons leading in steals, a mark later broken by Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. Case’s 321 steals for Washington rank third in franchise history, behind Clyde “Deerfoot” Milan (495), and Hall of Famer Sam Rice (346). He said of his remarkable success, “You just can’t run on a sign and be a good base stealer. All the time I played in Washington under Bucky Harris and Ossie Bluege, I never was given a sign.”

(This thread will now pause for two days with a plan to finish when we return.)
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  #742  
Old 06-26-2024, 03:14 AM
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Default George Case -- Part 3

Player #164C: George W. Case Part 3. Outfielder for the Washington Senators in 1937-1945 and 1947. 1,415 hits and 349 stolen bases in 11 MLB seasons. 4-time All-Star. 6-time AL stolen base leader. Only player to ever lead MLB in stolen bases for five consecutive years (1939-1943). His best season was probably 1942 for Washington as he posted a .377 OBP with 101 runs scored and 44 stolen bases in 563 plate appearances.

In addition to his skill on the basepaths, Case had many other career highlights. As a line-drive-hitting leadoff man, he compiled a respectable .282 lifetime batting average in 1,226 games, with 1,415 hits and a .341 on-base percentage playing for mostly second-division Washington teams. He hit over .300 three times and scored over 100 runs four times, leading the league in 1943. He struck out only 297 times in 5,016 at-bats (5.9 percent). Case was one of the hardest players ever to double up, hitting into a double play only once in every 94 at-bats. (As of 2013 he ranked in the top five in this category.) Case led the American League in plate appearances in 1940 and ’41, and had three top-ten finishes in hits. He earned four All-Star selections (1939, ’43, ’44, and ’45) and tied a major-league record with nine hits in a doubleheader against Philadelphia in 1940. He was on the field when Lou Gehrig gave his “Luckiest Man” speech on July 4, 1939, at Yankee Stadium, and caught the last ball that Gehrig hit in his major league career, a fly ball to center on April 30, 1939.

Case was thought by many to be the fastest ballplayer in the game between the 1920s and ’50s. He was possibly the fastest ever to play the game, at least until the time of his retirement. His baseball mentor, Clyde Milan, Washington’s all-time leading base stealer, thought so and once paid him the ultimate compliment: “George Case was the fastest man ever to play baseball. … He was faster than Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Max Carey. …”

This view was also shared by sportswriter Edwin Rumill of the Christian Science Monitor: “In the person of George Washington Case, the senatorial outfielder, you are looking at the fastest human in the American League. …” This claim is not without merit. In 1943 Case was credited with the fastest time ever circling the bases. In a pregame exhibition at Griffith Stadium, he was clocked by an AAU timer in 13.5 seconds from a standing start. This broke the previous record of 13.8 seconds set by Hans Lobert. In 1946 Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck staged one of his famous promotions, pitting Case against the legendary Jesse Owens in a 100-yard dash. Case lost to “The World’s Fastest Human” by a mere one-tenth of a second, possibly the only race he ever lost.

In another promotional race in 1946 staged by Clark Griffith at Griffith Stadium, the speedster was matched against super-fast rookie Gil Coan, who at the time was seven years Case’s junior. Although Case was ailing from a bad back, he was clocked at 10 seconds flat in the 100-yard dash, beating the stunned rookie by half a stride.
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  #743  
Old 06-27-2024, 03:24 AM
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Default Ben Chapman

Player #159B: W. Benjamin "Ben" Chapman. Outfielder for the Washington Senators in 1936-1937 and 1941. 1,958 hits and 287 stolen bases in 15 MLB seasons. He had a career OBP of .383. 4-time All-Star. 1932 World Series champion. 4-time AL stolen base leader. He managed the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945-1948. His playing reputation was eclipsed by the role he played as manager of the Phillies, opposing Jackie Robinson's presence in MLB, including shouting racial epithets. His best season as a player was 1931 for the Yankees as he posted a .396 OBP with 61 stolen bases, 120 runs scored, and 122 RBIs in 686 plate appearances.

Deveaux sketches Chapman's transition out of baseball's good graces: Ben Chapman would last only one year with the Senators, though, and would be through as a regular by 1940. A couple of years later, while managing and trying to revive his playing career as a pitcher at Richmond of the Piedmont league, he slugged an umpire and was suspended from playing for a full year. He made it back to the majors as a pitcher, going 5-3 for the wartime Dodgers in 1944. Traded to the Phillies in '45, Chapman was, within a couple of weeks of his arrival, named manager of a bad ballclub which ended up losing 108 games. When Jackie Robinson of the Dodgers broke baseball's racial barrier in 1947, Chapman made some ill-timed comments which further tarnished his reputation and frustrated owner Bob Carpenter, who fired him in '48. (The Washington Senators by Tom Deveaux.)
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  #744  
Old 06-28-2024, 03:10 AM
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Default Sid Hudson

Player #173: Sidney C. "Sid" Hudson. Pitcher for the Washington Senators in 1940-1942 and 1946-1952. 104 wins and 13 saves in 12 MLB seasons. 2-time All Star. Pitching coach of the Washington Senators three times involving 14 seasons. Also pitched for the Boston Red Sox in 1952-1954.

Hudson's SABR biography highlights his pre-war experience with Washington: Hudson started the second game of the (1940) season against a very tough Boston Red Sox lineup, featuring four future Hall of Famers, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, and Ted Williams. The Red Sox prevailed, 7-0, behind a home run by Foxx, but the Washington press lauded the rookie’s poise and character in such a difficult debut assignment. Hudson won two of his next three starts, but then lost seven decisions in a row. Fully expecting to be sent to the minors, he was surprised when he received nothing but encouragement from owner Clark Griffith and coach Bengough. Hudson was told he was overthrowing, and to get back to basics — in Bengough’s words, to “rare back and burn the ball in”.

Taking the mound against St Louis on June 21, 1940, Hudson walked the first three batters, but then went to his fastball and retired the Browns without a run scoring. He then shut them down completely, taking a no-hitter and 1-0 lead into the ninth inning. Although Rip Radcliff spoiled his bid with a double, Hudson won the game and turned his season around. He won his next five games, including a second one-hitter, against Philadelphia on August 6; the no-hit bid was spoiled by Sam Chapman’s seventh-inning single.

On September 2, Hudson faced the Red Sox’ Lefty Grove in what Sid later called one of the highlights of his major-league career. The two battled in a 0-0 duel through 12 innings, with Hudson pitching out of numerous jams, until the Senators broke through and gave him the win in the bottom of the 13th inning. The victory capped a remarkable rookie season. Fresh out of Class D ball, Hudson had won 17 games for a team that won only 64. He threw 19 complete games, three of them shutouts, and won nine one-run decisions. He finished second, by a scant three votes, to Lou Boudreau in the Rookie of the Year voting held by the Chicago baseball writers.

In the next two seasons, Hudson continued to be a pitching mainstay for the Senators. Despite losing records, he was selected to the All-Star team both years. In the 1941 game, he was briefly on the hook for the loss until Ted Williams won the game with a three-run homer in the ninth inning. Hudson was a workhorse for the Senators, completing 17 games in 1941 and 19 in 1942. Although his numbers were respectable (13-14, 3.46 ERA in 1941; 10-17, 4.36 in 1942), the Senators slumped in both seasons. Hudson enjoyed another favored career moment at the end of the 1941 season, when he shut out the Yankees in the last game of the season. Hudson had one of the 13 strikeouts that season of Joe DiMaggio, whom he considered the best all-around player he ever faced.
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  #745  
Old 06-29-2024, 03:23 AM
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Default Dutch Leonard

Player #169C: Emil J. "Dutch" Leonard. Knuckle-ball pitcher for the Washington Senators in 1938-1946. 191 wins and 45 saves in 20 MLB seasons. 5-time All Star. Pitched complete game to beat Yankees in 1st game of doubleheader, after which Lou Gehrig gave "luckiest man in the world" speech. In 1945, part of four-man rotation, made up by four knuckle-ball pitchers. Debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1933.

We return to Leonard's SABR biography -- Part 3: (Johnny) Niggeling, who had labored in the minors for 10 years, said every knuckleball pitcher owed his career to Leonard and Ferrell: “They made the big leagues change their minds about the knuckle ball.” The four flutterballers, plus hard-throwing Early Wynn, couldn’t keep the 1944 Senators out of last place. A roster that included the 40-year-old Niggeling, 17-year-old infielder Eddie Yost, nine Cubans, and a Venezuelan (all draft-exempt) lost 90 games. But their final victory was the one that mattered most.

On October 1 the Detroit Tigers were tied for first place with the St. Louis Browns, needing only to beat the tail-end Senators in their last game to clinch at least a share of the pennant. Leonard was Washington’s starting pitcher. That morning, he answered the phone in his hotel room and an anonymous caller told him, “Dutch, I can guarantee you close to $20,000 if you’ll let down against Detroit.” Leonard said, “I promptly told the guy where to go and hung up the phone.” His roommate, George Case, urged him to report the bribe attempt to protect himself. When he went to manager Ossie Bluege, Bluege told him, “You’re still my pitcher.”

Leonard, who hadn’t beaten the Tigers since 1941, shut them out on two hits through eight innings, facing just 25 batters, one more than the minimum. He gave up a meaningless run in the ninth, when a 41-year-old pinch hitter, Chuck Hostetler, singled and 39-year-old Doc Cramer knocked him in. Such was wartime baseball. Washington won, 4-1. An hour later the Browns beat the Yankees to claim the only pennant in their history.

The story of the attempted bribe didn’t hit the papers for several weeks. When it did, Leonard at first said he thought the phone call was a joke. Later he acknowledged that he believed the caller was serious.

Leonard turned in his best season in 1945 but lost his best chance to pitch in a World Series. The Senators hung on in a close pennant race with the Tigers. Their season ended a week ahead of everyone else, because Clark Griffith had agreed to turn his ballpark over to his tenant, the NFL Redskins. After their last game on September 23, the Senators were just one game behind Detroit. The Tigers beat the Browns on the final day of the season to win the flag.

Leonard finished 17-7 with a 2.13 ERA, his career best. He recorded the league’s top strikeout/walk ratio, 2.74. But he came down with a sore shoulder in September and was little help during the crucial stretch drive. He later said Griffith blamed him for losing the pennant and cut his salary.
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  #746  
Old 06-30-2024, 04:12 AM
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Default Buddy Lewis

Player #170C: John K. "Buddy" Lewis. Third baseman/right fielder for the Washington Senators in 1935-1941, 1945-1947, and 1949. 1,563 hits and 71 home runs in 11 MLB seasons. He played his entire career in Washington. 2-time All-Star. He had a career OBP of .368. His most productive season was 1938 as he posted an OBP of .354 with 122 runs scored and 91 RBIs in 724 plate appearances.

Drafted (into the Army) in April of 1941, Lewis wangled his way out of the service until the end of the season. He hit .297 in 149 games in 1941, scoring 97 runs, while collecting 72 RBI. On September 24th, he played his last game for the Senators before heading home to pack for army training. He was 24 years old and had six years in the big leagues under his belt. It would be nearly four years before he would play baseball in the majors again.

Having started his career as a teenager and missing his prime seasons in the war, Lewis still managed a fine career, batting .297 in 1,349 games, with 1,563 hits and 830 runs scored. He averaged 100 runs scored, 188 hits, 30 doubles, 11 triples, and 69 walks per season.
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  #747  
Old 07-01-2024, 04:02 AM
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Default Buddy Myer

Player #139J: Charles S. "Buddy" Myer. Second baseman with the Washington Senators in 1925-1927 and 1929-1941. 2,131 hits and 38 home runs in 17 MLB seasons. He had a career OBP of .389. 2-time All-Star. 1935 AL Batting champion. 1928 AL Stolen Base leader. His best season was 1935 for Washington as he posted a .440 OBP with 115 runs scored and 100 RBIs in 719 plate appearances. He was involved in one of baseball's most violent brawls when he was spiked and possibly racially derided by the Yankees' Ben Chapman.

We will follow Myer's SABR biography as we track his career -- Part 10: In a dissection of Hall of Fame voting, the analyst Bill James noted the uncanny similarity in the batting stats of Myer and a near-contemporary National League second baseman, Billy Herman.
G R H RBI BA OBP SLG
Myer 1923 1174 2131 848 0.303 0.389 0.406
Herman 1922 1163 2345 839 0.304 0.367 0.407

Myer received a single vote from sportswriters in the Hall of Fame balloting; Herman attracted votes in several years, peaking at 20 percent (75 percent is required for election). He was elected by the veterans committee in 1975. James asked, “How in the world can you put one of those people in the Hall of Fame, and leave the other one out?”

Selections by the Hall’s various veterans committees have been notoriously whimsical; those committees are responsible for most of the questionable inductions. James suggested that Herman benefited from the halo effect of his four World Series with the Cubs and Dodgers, and a long career as a manager and coach that kept him on the baseball radar. Myer spent the second half of his career with an irrelevant second-division team, then vanished from the game.

While James concluded that Herman and Myer were “of essentially the same value", 'the two players’ reputations were quite different when they were active. They look virtually identical in lines of statistics, but not to those who saw them play. Herman started six All-Star Games in nine years and was the National League’s top second baseman between Frankie Frisch and Jackie Robinson. For much of Myer’s career, he was the American League’s third best behind Hall of Famers Gehringer and Tony Lazzeri.

It is an accident of timing that the AL had three outstanding second basemen when the NL had Herman and nobody else in particular. That accident colors their places in memory. Billy Herman was the National League’s best second baseman. Buddy Myer? Oh, yeah, him. Pretty good ballplayer.

It may be unfair, but that’s how history has passed it down.
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Old 07-02-2024, 03:42 AM
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Default Cecil Travis

Player #158F: Cecil H. Travis Part 6. Infielder for the Washington Senators in 1933-1941 and 1945-1947. 1,544 hits and 27 home runs over 12 MLB seasons. 3-time All-Star. One of two to get 5 hits in first game. Led American League in hits in 1941 despite DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak and Ted Williams hitting .406. His best season was 1941 as he posted a .410 OBP with 101 RBIs in 663 plate appearances. In the Army during 1942-45, he wound up a frostbite victim in the Battle of the Bulge and a Bronze Star recipient. His return to MLB after the war surgery was not the same.

Travis is remembered not only as a pure, line-drive hitter but also as one of the classiest players in the game. He was a quiet, unassuming star, and American League umpires once voted him their favorite player. Such names as Ted Williams, Bob Feller, and Bowie Kuhn (who served as a batboy and scoreboard operator for the Senators during Travis’ tenure) have called for Travis’ induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Travis supporters point out that the war had effectively ended his career just as he was reaching new heights, and that even with his precipitous postwar decline, his career .314 compares favorably with all but two Hall of Fame shortstops (Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughan). Characteristically, though, Travis himself refuses to campaign for himself. “I was a good player, but I wasn’t a great one,” he told Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (October 3, 1999). He has never bemoaned the playing years lost to military service. “We had a job to do, an obligation, and we did it. I was hardly the only one” (Marty Appel). Travis was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1975 and into RFK Stadium’s Hall of Stars in 1993.

Cecil Travis passed away on December 16, 2006, of congestive heart failure, on his farm in Riverdale, Georgia. He was 93.

(This ends our stroll through pre-war Washington baseball history and the players who were part of it. Thanks for listening!)
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File Type: jpg 1941PlayBallTravisSGC3013Front.jpg (90.8 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg 1941PlayBallTravisSGC3013Back.jpg (97.0 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg 1941R330DoublePlayTravis-Case7062Front.jpg (108.1 KB, 24 views)
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Old 07-02-2024, 04:15 AM
rcbb14 rcbb14 is offline
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wonderful series, George, and great cards.....
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Old 07-02-2024, 11:03 AM
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George, I truly enjoyed every step of this "stroll." Many thanks for all the time and effort that you put into it.
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Seeking very scarce/rare cards for my Sam Rice master collection, e.g., E210 York Caramel Type 2 (upgrade), 1931 W502, W504 (upgrade), W572 sepia, W573, W575-1 E. S. Rice version, 1922 Haffner's Bread, 1922 Keating Candy, 1922 Witmor Candy Type 2 (vertical back), 1926 Sports Co. of Am. with ad & blank backs. Also T216 Kotton "NGO" card of Hugh Jennings. Also 1917 Merchants Bakery & Weil Baking cards of WaJo.
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