9 Innings
A Baseball History Reader
J. Manning, Editor
Issue # 11: October 24, 2006

1981: The Split Season ... The Boston Massacre ... Abbott & Costello's "Who's On First?" ... On the Doorstep of the Hall of Fame ... Joe Wood: The Bloomer Girls ... Stats: Rookies of the Year (AL) ... Year in Review: 1910 ... The 1910 World Series ... Player Profile: Bob Feller ... They Played the Game
"Wake up the echoes at the Hall of Fame and you will find that baseball's immortals were a rowdy and raucous group of men who would climb down off their plaques and go rampaging through Cooperstown, taking spoils .... Deplore it if you will, but Grover Cleveland Alexander drunk was a better pitcher than Grover Cleveland Alexander sober."
-- Bill Veeck
1981: The Split Season
Between 1978 and 1981, 43 players negotiated contracts worth over $1 million each; the peak would be reached by outfielder Dave Winfield when in November 1980 the New York Yankees signed him to a 10-year contract worth at least $13 million .... All players were riding the coattails of the major free agents and superstars, too, and the average salary of all major-league players went from $50,000 in 1976, when the reserve clause was still in effect, to $200,000 by 1981. Inevitably, the owners of the major league clubs decided that they should obtain some advantage from the free-agent inflation. When the owners' agreement with the players expired on 31 December 1979, the owners demanded a new condition: any club that lost a player when a free agent moved must be allowed to obtain a player from the club that signed the free agent.
The players immediately recognized that this would put a brake on the free agent system and they refused to accept this condition. During the final week of spring training in 1980, the players staged a walkout and threatened to go on strike on 23 May if there was no agreement with the owners. Minutes before the deadline, the club owners and the Players Association agreed to set up a committee ... that would study the whole issue of free agents; if they could not come up with a solution that received the endorsement of all parties by 31 January 1981, each side could take whatever action it chose to. So the conflict between the owners and players was set aside and the 1980 season was played out ....
....[T]he 1981 season ... may or may not go down as a major watershed year in the history of organized baseball. The January 1981 deadline proposed in the May 1980 agreement had come and gone without the owners and players coming to terms over the issue of compensating teams that lost free agents .... The owner's final offer as the 1981 season got underway was that for every "premium" player who left a club as a free agent, that club was to get a replacement choice from a select roster of players from the club that signed the free agent. (A "premium" player was defined by a complex formula involving his statistics in relation to other players at his position.) Although rejecting this compromise, the players began the season but made it clear they would strike if some progress wasn't made in negotations.
So the 1981 season got underway on schedule, and also as if on schedule, the Yankees and the Orioles came rolling into mid-June in first and second place, respectively, in the [AL's] Eastern Division. In the Western Division, Oakland was once again leading, with the Texas Rangers one and a half games behind them on 11 June. And then, just as they had threatened to do, all players in both major leagues went on strike, starting on 12 June. Day after day it went on, and soon Americans accepted that there was not going to be any major league baseball in the immediate future. Minor league and other teams found themselves with unexpectedly large crowds, and countless words were written about the role of baseball in American life. All the major league players went unpaid, of course, while the owners lost all the profits for those days. Seven hundred and fourteen games were eventually cancelled during the 49 days the strike lasted -- the longest strike in the history of organized sports -- but finally, on 31 July, the club owners and the players arrived at a compromise. Teams that had lost a "premium" free agent could be compensated by drawing on a pool of players formed by players contributed from all the clubs, not just the signing club; the teams that lost players through this pool system would be compensated from a fund supported by all the clubs; the net effect was to disperse the impact and cost so that owners would not lose the incentive to bid large sums for the premium free agents.
This, at least, was the the essence of the compromise and when it was announced that the players would report for a 10-day summer "training session" before resuming play, fans were ready to forgive and forget. "Let's play ball!" was the cry. Then came the outcry when it was learned that the owners had decided to "split" the season: namely, first-place teams in each division at the end of the first half would play the first-place teams at the end of the second-half to settle division winners. If the same team happened to win both halves, it would play the runner-up from the second half only to determine the winner. That did not occur, but something else that was predicted might happen did occur: the two National League teams that had the best overall records, the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals, both came in second for each "season" and thus did not get a chance at a play-off slot.
With a certain amount of grumbling from various sides, then, 1981's second season got underway on 10 August. This time the Milwaukee Brewers won in the {AL] Eastern Division, beating out the Red Sox by only one and a half games and then only by winning 11 of their last 17 games. In the Western Division, the Kansas City Royals edged out the Oakland A's by only one game. But by the irony of the system, Oakland, as winner of the first half, came right back and defeated the Royals in three straight to win the Western Division playoffs. In the Eastern Division play-offs, the Yankees beat the Brewers, three games to two. After all this, the pennant race was still not over, and for the American League, this saw the Yankees facing the A's -- with Oakland now managed by Billy Martin, late of the Yankees. If Martin was supposed to jinx the Yankees, it didn't work as New York beat the A's in three straight games.Actually, Yankee Craig Nettles almost singlehandedly beat the A's with his nine RBI's -- three of them coming off his double in the ninth inning of the final game.
In the World Series the Yankees came up against their archrivals, the Dodgers, for the 11th time. Although the Yankees had taken eight of these series, this was not to be the year for the ninth. The Dodgers lost the first two, then came back and won the next four (only the second team to achieve this, the first being the Yankees, who did exactly the same thing to the Dodgers in 1978.) All in all, 1981 had been a topsy-turvy season.
-- John S. Bowman & Joel Zoss
The American League

In the National League Western Division, the Los Angeles Dodgers led the Cincinnati Reds by a half-game in the first part of the season, and in the second part the Reds were beaten out by the Houston Astros. In the Eastern Division the Philadelphia Phillies won the first half while the Montreal Expos won the second half. In the playoffs the Dodgers beat the Astros three games to two and the Expos defeated the Phillies, also three games to two. The Dodgers prevailed over Montreal in five games to win the NL pennant -- ed.

The Boston Massacre
....From Eastport to Block Island, New Englanders were screaming mad. Only a couple of weeks before, the Red Sox had been baseball's one sure thing, but now Fenway Park was like St. Petersburg in the last days of Czar Nicholas. Back in July, when ... New York was in the process of falling fourteen games behind the Sox, Reggis Jackson had said, "Not even Affirmed can catch them." But by late last Sunday afternoon, when the 1978 version of the Boston Massacre concluded with New York's fourth win in a row over the Red Sox, the Yankees had caught them. And the Yanks had gained a tie for first in the American League East in such awesome fashion -- winning sixteen of their last eighteen, including the lopsided victories that comprised the Massacre ....
....[W]hile the Yankees arrived in Boston ... 35-14 since July 17 -- the night they fell fourteen games behind -- the Red Sox had been stumbling. They were 25-24 since July 17. Their thirty-nine-year-old leader, Carl Yastrzemski, had suffered back and shoulder ailments in mid-July, and then he pulled ligaments in his right wrist that left him taped up and in and out of the lineup. He had hit three homers in two months. Second baseman Jerry Remy fractured a bone in his left wrist on August 25 and had not appeared in the lineup thereafter.
Catcher Carlton Fisk had been playing with a cracked rib .... Third baseman Butch Hobson has cartilage and ligament damage in both knees and bone chips in his right elbow .... When New York came to town, he had a major-league-leading thirty-eight errors, most of them the result of bad throws made with his bad arm. Right fielder Dwight Evans had been beaned on August 29 and was experiencing dizziness whenever he ran. Reliever Bill Campbell, who had thirty-one saves and thirteen wins in 1977, had suffered from elbow and shoulder soreness all season.
The injuries tended to dampen Boston's already erratic, one-dimensional offense, which relies too heavily on power hitting even when everyone is healthy. They also ruined the Sox defense, which had been the facet of play most responsible for giving the Red Sox a ten-game lead over their nearest challenger, Milwaukee, on July 8. No wonder the pitching went sour, with Mike Torrez going 4-4 since the All-Star Game, Luis Tiant 3-7 since June 24, and Bill Lee 0-7 since July 15 ....
As play began Thursday night at Fenway Park, the Red Sox lead had dwindled to four games with twenty-four to play .... The embarassments began with a Hobson error in the first inning Thursday. Then a [Thurmon] Munson single. And a Jackson single. Zap, the Yankees had two unearned runs. After giving up four straight singles to start the second inning, Torrez went to the showers. Munson had three hits -- and the Yankees seven runs -- before Hobson got his first at bat in the bottom of the third .... When the game ended, the Yankees had twenty-one hits and a 15-3 victory.
....The next night, the Yankees not only drained Boston's blood but also its dignity. [Mickey' Rivers hit rookie right hander Jim Wright's first pitch past first baseman George Scott into right field. On the second pitch he stole second and cruised on into third as Fisk's throw bounced away from shortstop Rick Burleson. Wright had thrown two pitches, and Rivers was peering at him from third base. Wright went on to get four outs, one more than Torrez had; he was relieved after allowing four runs. His replacement, Tom Burgmeier, immediately gave up a single and walk before surrendering a mighty home run by Jackson.
[Jim] Beattie, who in his Fenway appearance in June had been knocked out in third inning ... , retired eighteen in a row in one stretch, while the Red Sox self-destructed in the field. Evans, who had not dropped a fly in his first five and three-quarters years in the majors, dropped his second one of the week and had to leave the game. "I can't look up or down without getting dizzy," he said. Fisk had two throws bounce away for errors. Rivers hit a routine ground ball to Scott in the third and beat Scott to the bag, making him three-for-three before Hobson ever got up. The game ended with a 13-2 score and seven Red Sox errors.
....On Saturday afternoon, [Ron] Guidry took his 20-2 record to the mound .... This was to be the showdown of the aces. Dennis Eckersley, 16-6, was 9-0 in Fenway and had not been knocked out before the fifth inning all season. He had beaten the Yankees three times in a twelve-day stretch earlier in the year. When he blew a third strike past Jackson to end the bottom of the first, he had done what Torrez and Wright had not been able to do -- shut the Yankees out in the first inning.
....After Burleson led off Boston's first with a single, Fred Lynn bunted. Guidry, who could have cut down Burleson at second, hesitated and ended up throwing to first. Then [Bucky] Dent bobbled Jim Rice's grounder in the hole for an infield single. Two on. But Guidry busted fastballs in on the hands of Yaztrzemski and Fisk, getting them out on a weak grounder and called third strike, respectively. Despite leadoff walks in the next two Boston at bats, the Sox hitters were finished for the day. Rice's grounder would be their second and last hit of the afternoon.
Yastrzemski seemed to lift his catatonic team in the fourth with a twisting, leaping catch on the dead run that he turned into a double play. But three plays later, with two on and two out, all that Yaz and Eckersley had done to heighten Boston's morale unraveled when Lou Piniella sliced a pop fly into the gale in right center.
"It must have been blown a hundred feet across, like a Frisbee coming back," says Eckersley. Lynn came in a few steps but he had no chance. Burleson made chase from shortstop, Scott took off from first. The ball was out of reach of both. Rice, who was playing near the warning track in right, could not get there. Frank Duffy, the second baseman, did, but when he turned and looked up into the sun he lost sight of the ball. It landed in front of him. It was 1-0. After an intentional walk to Craig Nettles, Dent dunked a two-strike pitch into left for two more runs. "That broke my back," said Eckersley. By the time the inning had ended, Eckersley was gone. There had been another walk, an error, a wild pitch, and a passed ball. Seven runs had scored ....
With the 7-0 loss figured in, the Red Sox had lost eight out of ten. In those games they had committed twenty-four errors good for twenty unearned runs.....
Tiant had been the only starting pitcher to win. Evans, Scott, Hobson, and Jack Brohamer, who most of the time were the bottom four in the batting order, were twelve for 123 -- or .098. "How can a team get thirty-something games over .500 in July and then in September see its pitching, hitting, and fielding all fall apart at the same time?" wondered Fisk.
After being bombarded in the first three games, all that the Red Sox could come up with in their effort to prevent the Yankees from gaining a first-place tie on Sunday was rookie lefthander Bobby Sprowl .... He began by walking Rivers and Willie Randolph, lasted only two-thirds of an inning, and was charged with three runs. The most damaging blow came after Sprowl gave way to reliever Bob Stanley, who promptly yielded a single to Nettles that drove in two runners whom Sprowl had allowed to reach base. The Yankees would build a 6-0 bulge before coasting to an eighteen-hit, 7-4 victory. Suddenly, New York not only had a psychological edge on the Red Sox, but it also had pulled even with them in the standings.
"It's never easy to win a pennant," said Yastrzemski. "We've got three weeks to play. We've got three games in Yankee Stadium next weekend. Anything can happen." He stared into his locker. Anything already had.
-- Peter Gammons
Sports Illustrated (9.18.78)
in Impossible Dreams: A Red Sox Collection

IMAGE: Reggie Jackson is greeted by teammates at home plate after his homer in the second game of the Massacre.

Abbott & Costello's "Who's On First?"
Abbott: Well Costello, I'm going to New York with you. You know Bookie Harris, the Yankees' manager, gave me a job as coach for as long as you're on the team.
Costello: Look Abbott, if you're the coach, you must know all the players.
Abbott: I certainly do.
Costello: Well you know I've never met the guys. So you'll have to tell me their names, and then I'll know who's playing on the team.
Abbott: Oh, I'll tell you their names, but you know it seems to me they give these ball players nowadays very peculiar names.
Costello: You mean funny names?
Abbott: Well, let's see, we have on the bags, Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third...
Costello: That's what I want to find out.
Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.
Costello: Are you the manager?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: You gonna be the coach too?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names?
Abbott: Well I should.
Costello: Well then who's on first?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow's name.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The first baseman.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy playing...
Abbott: Who is on first!
Costello: I'm asking YOU who's on first.
Abbott: That's the man's name.
Costello: That's who's name?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.
Abbott: That's it.
Costello: That's who?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Look, you gotta first baseman?
Abbott: Certainly.
Costello: Who's playing first?
Abbott: That's right.
Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?
Abbott: Every dollar of it.
Costello: All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy that gets...
Abbott: That's it.
Costello: Who gets the money...
Abbott: He does, every dollar. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.
Costello: Whose wife?
Abbott: What's wrong with that?
Costello: Look, all I wanna know is when you sign up the first baseman, how does he sign his name?
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: How does he sign...
Abbott: That's how he signs it.
Costello: Who?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: All I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base.
Abbott: No. What is on second base.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first.
Costello: One base at a time!
Abbott: Well, don't change the players around.
Costello: I'm not changing nobody!
Abbott: Take it easy, buddy.
Costello: I'm only asking you, who's the guy on first base?
Abbott: That's right.
Costello: Ok.
Abbott: All right.
Costello: What's the guy's name on first base?
Abbott: No. What is on second.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott: He's on third, we're not talking about him.
Costello: Now how did I get on third base?
Abbott: Why, you mentioned his name.
Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?
Abbott: No. Who's playing first.
Costello: What's on first?
Abbott: What's on second.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott: He's on third.
Costello: There I go, back on third again!
Costello: Would you just stay on third base and don't go off it.
Abbott: All right, what do you want to know?
Costello: Now, who's playing third base?
Abbott: Why do you insist on putting Who on third base?
Costello: What am I putting on third?
Abbott: No. What is on second.
Costello: You don't want who on second?
Abbott: Who is on first.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott & Costello Together:Third base!
Costello: Look, you gotta outfield?
Abbott: Sure.
Costello: The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Why.
Costello: I just thought I'd ask you.
Abbott: Well, I just thought I'd tell ya.
Costello: Then tell me who's playing left field.
Abbott: Who's playing first.
Costello: I'm not... stay out of the infield! I want to know what's the guy's name in left field?
Abbott: No, What is on second.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first!
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott & Costello Together: Third base!
Costello: The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Why.
Costello: Because!
Abbott: Oh, he's center field.
Costello: Look, You gotta pitcher on this team?
Abbott: Sure.
Costello: The pitcher's name?
Abbott: Tomorrow.
Costello: You don't want to tell me today?
Abbott: I'm telling you now.
Costello: Then go ahead.
Abbott: Tomorrow!
Costello: What time?
Abbott: What time what?
Costello: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who's pitching?
Abbott: Now listen. Who is not pitching.
Costello: I'll break your arm, you say who's on first! I want to know what's the pitcher's name?
Abbott: What's on second.
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott & Costello Together: Third base!
Costello: Look, if I throw the ball to first base, somebody's gotta get it. Now who has it?
Abbott: Naturally.
Costello: Who?
Abbott: Naturally.
Costello: Naturally?
Abbott: Naturally.
Costello: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.
Abbott: No you don't, you throw the ball to Who.
Costello: Naturally.
Abbott: That's different.
Costello: That's what I said.
Abbott: You're not saying it...
Costello: I throw the ball to Naturally.
Abbott: You throw it to Who.
Costello: Naturally.
Abbott: That's it.
Costello: I throw the ball to who. Whoever it is drops the ball and the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What. What throws it to I Don't Know. I Don't Know throws it back to Tomorrow, Triple play. Another guy gets up and hits a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don't know! He's on third and I don't give a darn!
Abbott: What?
Costello: I said I don't give a darn!
Abbott: Oh, that's our shortstop.
On the Doorstep of the Hall of Fame
Nine former Most Valuable Player Award winners are among the 27 players who will appear on the 2007 Veterans Committee ballot .... In addition, 15 former managers, umpires and executives were named on a separate ballot that is part of the Veterans Committee election of Hall of Famers ....
Along with two-time American League MVP Roger Maris, who won in 1960 and '61, other former MVPs from that league on the ballot are Joe Gordon (1942), Dick Allen (1972) and Thurmon Munson (1978). NL MVPs on the ballot are Marty Marion (1944), Don Newcombe (1956), Maury Wills (1962), Ken Boyer (1964) and Joe Torre (1971). Newcombe also won the first Cy Young Award in '56. Another Cy Young Award winner, Sparky Lyle (AL, 1977) is on the ballot.
Former Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges and Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who tied for the most votes in the 2005 Veterans Committee election with 52 each (65 percent), are on the ballot for the third time. Hodges was also the leading vote-getter in 2003 ... with 50 votes (61.7 percent). *
The Veterans Committee elections are every other year for players and every four years for the composite ballot. Former umpire Doug Harvey was the leading vote-getter on the 2003 [composite] ballot with 48 votes (60.8 percent). The 2007 ballot contains the same 15 names that were on it four years ago -- former managers Whitey Herzog, Billy Martin, Paul Richards and Dick Williams; former owners August Busch, Charles O' Finley, Walter O'Malley and Phil Wrigley; former general managers Buzzie Bavasi, Gabe Paul and Harry Dalton; former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, former NL president Bill White, former Major League Players Association executive director Marvin Miller and Harvey.
The players' ballot includes former pitchers Carl Mays (five-time 20-game winner), Luis Tiant (two-time ERA leader), Mickey Lolich (1968 World Series MVP), Jim Kaat (283 victories, 16 Gold Gloves) and Wes Ferrell (.601 winning percentage and slugger of 37 home runs); first basemen Al Oliver (.303 career hitter with 2,743 hits) and Mickey Vernon (two batting titles); outfielders Bobby Bonds (five 30-30 seasons in homers and stolen bases), Tony Oliva (three batting titles), Lefty O'Doul (two batting crowns), Vada Pinson (four 200-hit seasons), Rocky Colavito (home run and RBI leader), Minnie Minoso (three-time steals leader) and Curt Flood (seven-time Gold Glove winner) and shortstop Cecil Travis (.314 career average).
Oliver, O'Doul, Travis and Vernon are newcomers to the ballot. There were 25 players on the 2005 ballot, two of which (Elston Howard and Smokey Joe Wood) did not make it this year.
Candidates were selected by a BBWAA-appointed screening committee of 60 writers, two from each of the 22 Major League cities with one team, and four from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles/Anaheim and the Bay Area, each of which has two Major League teams. Each writer was asked to select 25 individuals from a list of 200 players and 60 managers, umpires and executives.
-- Jack O'Connell

*A candidate must appear on 75 percent of ballots to be elected -- ed.

The Veterans Committee: (HALL OF FAMERS) Hank Aaron, Sparky Anderson, Luis Aparicio, Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Lou Brock, Jim Bunning, Rod Carew, Steve Carlton, Gary Carter, Orlando Cepeda, Bobby Doerr, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Monte Irvin, Reggie Jackson, Fergie Jenkins, Al Kaline, George Kell, Harmon Killebrew, Ralph Kiner, Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Lee MacPhail, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Bill Mazeroski, Willie McCovey, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Eddie Murray, Stan Musial, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Gaylord Perry, Phil Rizzuto, Robin Roberts, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Nolan Ryan, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Red Schoendienst, Tom Seaver, Ozzie Smith, Duke Snider, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Earl Weaver, Billy Williams, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski, Robin Yount; (FORD C.FRICK AWARD RECIPIENTS) Marty Brennaman, Herb Carneal, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Ernie Harwell, Milo Hamilton, Jaime Jarrin, Harry Kalas, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Bob Wolff; (J.G. TAYLOR SPINK AWARD RECIPIENTS) Murray Chass, Charley Feeney, Peter Gammons, Jerome Holtzman, Hal McCoy, Jack Lang, Ross Newhan, Tracy Ringolsby; (FORMER COMMITTEE MEMBER) John McHale.
Joe Wood: The Bloomer Girls
At the turn of the century we lived in this little town of Ouray in the southwestern part of Colorado .... Later we moved to Ness City, Kansas, about 60 miles north of Dodge City and that was rough country too .... Even though he was alawyer, my father never could really settle down. In 1897 he got the gold fever and went to the Klondike in the gold rush ....
It was while we were living in Ness City that I first really started to play ball. That was in 1906, when I was only sixteen. I pitched for the town team -- it was only amateur ball, you know, but that was the big thing in those days. We'd play all the surrounding Kansas towns, like High Point, Ransom, Ellis, Bazine, Wa Keeney, Scott City -- nearby places like that. The ball game between two rival towns was big event back then, with parades before the game and everything. The smaller the town the more important their ball club was. Boy, if you beat a bigger town they'd practically hand you the key to the city. And if you lost a game by making an error in the ninth inning or something like that -- well, the best thing to do was just pack your grip and hit the road, 'cause they'd never let you forget it.
Anyway, when I was only sixteen I was Ness City's pitcher even though I was the youngest on the team by a good two or three years. Had a terrific fast ball with a hop on it even then. And I also played the infield when I didn't pitch.
A funny thing happened in September of 1906 that I'm not too keen about talking about, but I guess it wouldn't be exactly right to act like it never happened. In a nutshell, that's when I started my professional career, and ... the team I started with was the Bloomer Girls. Yeah, you heard right, the Bloomer Girls.
One day in September this Bloomer Girls team came to Ness City. In those days there were several Bloomer Girls teams that barnstormed around the country, like the House of David did 20 or 30 years later. The girls were advertised on posters around Ness City for weeks before they arrived, you know, and they finally came to town and played us and we beat them.
Well, after the game the fellow who managed them asked me if I'd like to join and finish the tour with them. There were only three weeks left of the trip, and he offered me $20 if I'd play the infield with them those last three weeks.
...."Listen," he said, "you know as well as I do that [some] of those Bloomer Girls aren't really girls. That third baseman's real name is Bill Compton, not Dolly Madison. And that pitcher, Lady Waddell, sure isn't Rube's sister. If anything, he's his brother!"
"Well, I figured as much," I said. "But those guys are wearing wigs. If you think I'm going to put a wig on, you're crazy."
"No need to," he says. "With your baby face you won't need one anyway."
....Fact is, there were four boys on the team: me, Lady Waddell, Dolly Madison, and one other, the catcher. The other five were girls. In case you're wondering how the situation was in the locker room, we didn't have clubhouses or locker rooms in those days. We dressed in our uniforms at the hotel and rode out to the ball park from there. I think everybody ... must have known some of us weren't actually girls, but the crowds turned out and had a lot of fun anyway .... [T]he first team Rogers Hornsby ever played on was a Bloomer Girls team too. So I'm not in such bad company.
-- Lawrence S. Ritter
The Glory of Their Times

IMAGE: Joe Wood with the Ness City team, seated at bottom right

Stats: Rookie of the Year (AL)

1949: Roy Sievers (SLB) ... 1950: Walt Dropo (BOS) ... 1951: GilMcDougald (NYY) ... 1952: Harry Byrd (PHA) ... 1953: Harvey Kuenn (DET) ... 1954: Bob Grim (NYY) ... 1955: Herb Score (CLE) ... 1956: Luis Aparicio (CHW) ... 1957: Tony Kubek (NYY) ... 1958: Albie Pearson (WSA) ... 1959: Bob Allison (WSH) ... 1960: Ron Hansen (BAL) ... 1961: Don Schwall (BOS) ... 1962: Tom Tresh (NYY) ... 1963: Gary Peters (CHW) ... 1964: Tony Oliva (MIN) ... 1965: Curt Blefary (BAL) ... 1966: Tommie Agee (CHW) ... 1967: Rod Carew (MIN) ... 1968: Stan Bahnsen (NYY) ... 1969: Lou Piniella (KCR) ... 1970: Thurmon Munson (NYY) ... 1971: Chris Chambliss (CLE) ... 1972: Carlton Fisk (BOS) ... 1973: Al Bumbry (BAL) ... 1974: Mike Hargrove (TEX) ... 1975: Fred Lynn (BOS) ... 1976: Mark Fidrych (DET) ... 1977: Eddie Murray (BAL) ... 1978: Lou Whitacker (DET) ... 1979: John Castino (MIN) & Alfredo Griffin (TOR) ... 1980: Joe Charboneau (CLE) ... 1981: Dave Righetti (NYY) ... 1982: Cal Ripken (BAL) ... 1983: Ron Kittle (CHW) ... 1984: Alvin Davis (SEA) ... 1985: Ozzie Guillen (CHW) ... 1986: Jose Canseco (OAK) ... 1987: Mark McGwire (OAK) ... 1988: Walt Weiss (OAK) ... 1989: Gregg Olson (BAL) ... 1990: Sandy Alomar (CLE) ... 1991: Chuck Knoblauch (MIN) ... 1992: Pat Listach (MIN) ... 1993: Tim Salmon (CAL) ... 1994: Bob Hamelin (KCR) ... 1995: Marty Cordova (MIN) ... 1996: Derek Jeter (NYY) ... 1997: Nomar Garciappara (BOS) ... 1998: Ben Grieve (OAK) ... 1999: Carlos Beltran (KCR) ... 2000: Kazuhiro Sasaki (SEA) ... 2001: Ichiro Zuzuki (SEA) ... 2002: Eric Hinske (TOR) ... 2003: Angel Berroa (KCR) ... 2004: Bobby Crosby (OAK) ... 2005: Huston Street (OAK).
Year in Review: 1910
U.S. President William H. Taft opened the 1910 baseball season by throwing out the first ball. His actions served to mark baseball as the "official" national pastime .... Washington's pitcher, Walter Johnson, responded to the turnout of the robust chief executive by turning in a one-hit performance and blanking the Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0. Taft's presence, although getting the season off on a respected high note, was not an omen of prosperity, either for the Senators who finished last, or for a season whose attendance would be cut by poor early season weather and pennant races which were virtually over by July 1.
The Philadelphia Athletics recovered from that opening day whitewash by playing winning ball all year. Three-time champion Detroit stayed in the running for a fourth crown until the Athletics pulled away from the field in June and July. Philadelphia's attack boasted of three .300 hitters in Eddie Collins, Danny Murphy and Rube Oldring but, as usual, the pitching staff was the spearhead of the team. Jack Coombs won 31 games in developing into a star hurler and pitched 46 consecutive scoreless innings at one stage in the season. Chief Bender notched 23 victories, and Eddie Plank and Cy Morgan were also consistent winners for the American League's first 100-victory team. Detroit's offense remained strong, but the Tiger's pitching fell apart, prompting a fall into third place behind the surprising New York Yankees.
Pittsburgh's 1909 National League pennant victory turned out only to be an interlude in the reign of the Chicago Cubs as kingpins in the senior loop. Finishing 13 games ahead of the field, the Cubs easily won their fourth pennant in five years, never leaving first after May. As usual, the Cubs infield was airtight with Tinker, Evers and Chance on duty, and outfielders Solly Hofman and Wildfire Schute supplying much of the drive in the attack. Three Finger Brown lodged his usual 25 victories, but the key mound development turned out to be King Cole, who became an unexpected 20-game winner in his first full season. The Giants came in second, running into hot and cold streaks all year; Christy Mathewson provided a rare element of consistency in winning 27 games. Pittsburgh's collapse could be traced to their pitching. Although Babe Adams registered 18 victories, Howie Camnitz fell off from 24 to 12 victories. Vic Willis, who won 23 games in 1909 for the Bucs, spent the season with St. Louis where he compiled a dismal 9-12 mark.
During the season both leagues introduced a new "jack-rabbit" ball. Although modestly boosting run and home run production, it was inevitable that the "livelier" ball would drastically alter baseball's playing style before the century was much older.
--David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, Michael L. Neft
The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball (22nd ed.)

The 1910 World Series

Philadelphia Athletics (4) v Chicago Cubs (1)
October 17-23
Shibe Park (Philadelphia), West Side Grounds (Chicago)

Connie Mack led his Athletics into the World Series against the Cubs with great confidence in his pitching staff, a confidence which was amply awarded by five complete games in five contests. Jack Coombs hurled three complete game victories, while Chief Bender won one and lost one while pitching two complete games. Using only two pitchers, the Athletics used a full lineup to rack up a .316 team batting mark, with Eddie Collins and Frank Baker logging .400 averages. The Chicago batters were held to a collective .222[,] winning only a ten-inning fourth-game from Connie Mack's White Elephants. (The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, Neft, et al.)

Game 1: Philadelphia 4, Chicago 1
Game 2: Philadelphia 9, Chicago 3
Game 3: Philadelphia 12, Chicago 5
Game 4: Chicago 4, Philadelphia 3
Game 5: Philadelphia 7, Chicago 2

PHILADELPHIA: Frank Baker (3b), Jack Barry (ss), Chief Bender (p), Eddie Collins (2b), Jack Coombs (p), Harry Davis (1b), Topsy Hartsel (of), Jack Lapp (c), Bris Lord (of), Danny Murphy (of), Amos Strunk (of), Ira Thomas (c). Mgr: Connie Mack

CHICAGO: Jimmy Archer (c, 1b), Ginger Beaumont (ph), Mordecai Brown (p), Frank Chance (1b), King Cole (p), Solly Hofman (of), Jone Kane (pr), Johnny Kling (c), Harry McIntyre (p), Tom Needham (ph), Orval Overall (p), Jack Pfiester (p), Ed Reulbach (p), Lew Richie (p), Frank Schulte (of), Jimmy Sheckard (of), Harry Steinfeldt (3b), Joe Tinker (ss), Heinie Zimmerman (2b). Mgr: Frank Chance

Jack Coombs pitched three complete games for Philadelphia, which was the first team to win over 100 games in the American League (102-48).

Player Profile: Bob Feller

"Rapid Robert"
Born: November 3, 1918 (Van Meter, IA)
Debut: July 19, 1936
Bats Right Throws Right
6'0" 185
Hall of Fame 1962 (Baseball Writers, 150 votes on 160 ballots, 93.75%)

Played for: Cleveland Indians (1936-56)
Career record: 266-162, 3.25 ERA
All-Star 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950
1940 ML Player of the Year
1940 AL Triple Crown

[Robert William Andrew] Feller was unique. He was only twenty-two, but [1941] was his sixth season in the major leagues. He never played in the minors. He won twenty-four games for Cleveland in 1939 when he was only twenty, twenty-seven in 1940 and twenty-five in 1941. He pitched the first of his three no-hitters on opening day in 1940. He won 30 percent of Cleveland's games in their futile chase after the 1940 pennant, and in 1941 an exact third of their victories were his. He led the league in strikeouts when he was nineteen, twenty, twenty-one and twenty-two, and in each of those seasons only one other pitcher was able to get within one hundred strikeouts of his total. In 1940 he led the league in games started, games completed and innings pitched....
He was a phenomenon. He was an Iowa farm boy who had been discovered by the Indians and signed to a contract when he was only seventeen. Commissioner Landis found irregularities in the procedure, held a hearing and advised Feller that he had grounds for asking to be made a free agent. By this time the teenage pitcher was famous and other clubs would have showered him with money to sign with them. But Feller ... chose to stay with Cleveland, and the Indians always paid him generously for that period, padding his income each year with bonuses for attendance, appearances in exhibition games and so on. At twenty-two he was, after [Hank] Greenberg, the highest-paid player in baseball with a gross income well above DiMaggio's.
He was six feet tall and weighed 185. He looked shorter because of the chunkiness of his build .... Feller was not a graceful pitcher in the manner of Walter Johnson, or Lefty Grove, or Lefty Gomez, or Carl Hubbell, or Dizzy Dean. He just fired the ball, simply and efficiently. Early in his career he added a devastating curve to his overpowering fastball, and those two pitches in combination made him the most feared and respected pitcher in the game. Ted Williams in the 1980s called Feller "the greatest pitcher I ever saw." Joe DiMaggio in 1941 said, "Feller is the best pitcher living. I don't think anyone is ever going to throw a ball faster than he does. And his curve ball isn't human."
....Billy Goodman, who won the American League batting championship in 1950, came into the league as a rookie in 1947 and was sent up to bat against Feller. "Make him throw you a strike," he was told. "I did better," Goodman said. "I made him throw me three strikes. I went back and sat down and I said to myself, 'Man, you're in the wrong league.' I had never seen anything like that."
He was the best pitcher in the game. He tried to carry the Indians almost single-handedly [in 1941] .... From May 26 through June 6 the Indians lost six of nine games; the three they won were complete games by Feller, two of them shutouts.
-- Robert Creamer
Baseball in '41

They Played the Game

Gene Mauch
(1944-57, 1960-82, 1985-87)
Mauch managed for 26 years but never won a pennant (a record). In 1964 his Philadelphia Phillies were 6.5 games ahead in the NL with just 12 games to go, but lost the pennant race to the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1982, his California Angels led the ALCS 2-0, only to lose the next three games to the Brewers. And in 1986 the Angels led the Red Sox in the ALCS by three games to one, and led the fifth game by a score of 5-2 in the 9th inning, only to lose that game and the next two.

BORN 11.18.25, Salina, KS Mgr. record: 1902-2037

Willie McGee
McGee set a post-1900 record for batting average by a switch hitter with .353 in 1985. In 1990 he became the first ML player to win a batting title without being in the league; his .313 BA topped the NL but in August of that year he was traded by St. Louis to Oakland.

BORN 11.2.58 (San Francisco, CA)
All-Star 1983, 1985, 1987, 1988 Gold Gloves 1983, 1985, 1986 Silver Sluggers 1985
1985 NL MVP

Frank Fennelly
Playing shortstop for the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1886, Fennelly became the first player to make 100 errors in a season. He committed 117, to be exact.

BORN 2.18.1860 (Fall River, MA)

Snake Wiltse
Pitching for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901, Wiltse set a ML record for a pitcher with ten total bases during a game on August 10, 1901. He hit two doubles and two triples that day, making him one of just three pitchers to collect four extra-base hits in a game. Wiltse led the AL in 1902 in hits allowed (397) and earned runs allowed (172).

BORN 12.5.1871, Bouckville, NY 31-68, 5.40

Tuck Turner
Turner had a relatively brief career in the majors, but it was spectacular. He and Shoeless Joe Jackson are the only two players with a .380-or-better BA after their first 700 at-bats. Turner was second in the NL in batting in 1894 with a .416 mark. (Hugh Duffy was first with .438.)

BORN 2.13.1873 (West New Brighton, NY) .320, 7, 213