June 18, 1910: A Strange Day in A.A. Baseball

They say things happen in three’s.

Well, who’s to say. But on Saturday, June 18, 1910 there was a concurrence of events in the baseball world suggesting the influence of a cosmic crease.

The day started sadly with the death of former Milwaukee Brewers’ catcher Charles E. Moran. The 23-year-old catcher was struck full force and broadside by a baseball bat the previous day in LaPorte, Indiana. He died the morning of June 18, 1910 while surgeons were attempting to repair his massive internal injuries.

Then an event took place which, although rare enough, did not parallel the gravity of the first tragic occurrence. Californian Gavvy “Cactus” Cravath was the regular left fielder for the front running Minneapolis Millers in 1910. During the second game of a twin bill being played against the Louisville Colonels on June 18, Cravath struck a ball off Frank Decanniere, a young lefty out of Greeley, Kansas. Cravath was known for his long, strong line drives, many of which he turned into home runs and extra bases. One of 13 Miller hits that day, Cravath’s swat in the seventh banged against the Bull Durham Tobacco sign at Nicollet Park. The feat earned him two bags on the diamond and a $50 bonus. He scored two hitters later after Ollie “Dad” Pickering doubled off Decanniere. Cravath’s tally capped the Miller scoring with their seventh run. The first game was decided by the Millers, 7-3 as “Long Tom” Hughes earned the win en route to a sweep over the Louisvilleans.

Thirdly on that memorable Saturday was a game which landed Toledo Mud Hen right-hander Karl Robinson in the American Association’s eternal annals, as he tossed a no-hit, no run game against a veteran Kansas City Blues team. Four Kansas Citians worked Robby for a free pass, and four found the pads via the error route. But the Mud Hens prevailed at Association Park in Kansas City by a score of 8-0 as Robinson achieved his feat with little early run support. All told, the Toledo men racked up 15 hits on the day, scoring their final five runs in the last three innings. The loss put the struggling Blues one notch deeper into the mire with their 33rd loss of the season as “Vinegar Bill” Essick took the loss. Meanwhile, Robby and his Hen teammates were showing the league-leading Millers that they were hot on their tails with their 38th win against 21 losses.

All in all, it was a day containing a variety of dramatic events which directly impacted American Association fans across the midwest during the season of 1910.

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Louisville’s Stansbury Sustains Fracture at Minneapolis

Here is the story according to Sporting Life magazine, May 25, 1912:

Jack Stansbury, the Louisville third-baseman, is out of the game with a broken arm. The accident happened while Jack was seated on the bench, while the Louisville Club was playng in Minneapolis. Second baseman Lynn Bell of the Colonels fouled one into the Louisville dugout. Stansbury threw up his arm to guard his head and the ball struck him on the bone, fracturing it. He will be out of the game for a month or six weeks.

If you think about it, it’s amazing that there weren’t more injuries of this fashion in those days, back when “men were men” so to speak, considering the comparatively small foul area. But it was a real rough and tumble crowd in those days, those players…I’m sure Stansbury would have winced once and said, “Hell, I ain’t goin’ to no damn doctor for this…”

Reilley Robs Barbeau at Association Park!

From the Indianapolis Star:

Jap Barbeau got no joy out of the victory for Duke Reilley robbed him of another $50 piece of change this afternoon. Barbeau aimed one at the bull in the eighth and it started all right, but Reilley got in the way of it and made a putout. This is the second time Reilley has turned the trick against Barbeau this year on the Kansas City grounds, and it may be said there is no love on Jap’s side.

THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
MAY 18, 1913
GAME OF SATURDAY, MAY 17, 1913

Note: It is interesting to note this event in American Association history for a few reasons. Both Jap Barbeau and Alexander “Duke” Reilley were two of the most diminutive players in the league at that time. Also, the fact that the Bull Durham Tobacco “bull” sign was a marketing gimmick which added excitement to the games, from both a defensive aspect as well as an offensive one…Association Park in Kansas City had a very deep center field; Reilley was playing right field at the time; Barbeau was a right-handed hitter, so his drive was an opposite field poke. This dual factoid is also relevant here: Barbeau’s grave is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he died; it is marked by a modest headstone. Reilley is buried in Indianapolis, Indiana where he died; he lies in an unmarked grave. One final blurb: Both Reilley and Barbeau are among elite American Association company, belonging to the 42 select players who had 10 or more seasons of American Association experience. Funny what you can find out when you just start searching!

By the way, Kansas City defeated the Indianapolis Indians in the game that Saturday by a score of 5-1.

Halverson Recognizes Good Work

Hello, Rex,

Finally I am remembering to get our check mailed to you. Sorry for being delinquent! Your last issue showed how hard you work to get an issue out but that one was above & beyond. I love the pictures & the color program on the back cover. Way cool – how do you do that? You can be proud of it, as well as the others too. I thought your renewal notice was fun too! Too creative — good job.

Barb Halverson

Published in: on April 17, 2007 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Historical Season Reconstruction Records

PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED DURING SEASON RECONSTRUCTION of GAME BY GAME RECORD OF A HISTORICAL BASEBALL SEASON

In using newspaper records to reconstruct the principal statistics of a baseball team’s season (wins and losses, primarily, scores, pitching records, etc.) for the purpose of obtaining a day-by-day record of that team’s progress, there are certain challenges to overcome.

For example, in completing my initial “rough draft” of the 1911 season of the Minneapolis Millers for an upcoming report, I found that my primary gauge for reflecting how successful I’ve been in being accurate, win/loss totals, was not justified with the official totals provided in various publications. The official totals for the Millers as they finished nabbing their second straight American Association championship in 1911, was 99 wins, 66 losses. My game-by-game record arrived at a total of 98 wins and 67 losses. But I was so careful!

In the past I have reconstructed a baseball season by using microfilm records photocopied from an original source, most notably Sporting Life magazine which was a comprehensive sporting publication giving each box score for every season through, roughly, 1923.

My procedure involves some pretty pure data entry. I start by setting up a spreadsheet with the categories I need, taking each box score and recording the results into my spreadsheet. I organize my record by separating home stands from road trips. This makes it easier for me to go back and check my record for errors.

While recently revisiting my complete collection of box scores for the 1911 season in my attempt to correct the record, I thought of a variety of factors to consider which need to be checked to make sure a clerical error did not cause the document’s errors. It’s happened before. Other problems arise from incomplete reporting in the original record. Here is a summary of the items I’ve come up with which could be at the root of an error within the document:

1. Sequence of numbers. Game numbers (game #1 for opening day, game #2 for the following game, etc.), win numbers, loss numbers and dates can all be a source of a sequence error and should be checked early in the process of discovering an error. I’ve found that it’s best to do this after the document is printed out, then examine the document for any potential sequence problems on a sheet-by-sheet basis. One place where an error in sequence can happen is between sheets. Always check the numbers at the bottom of Sheet A and compare them with those at the top of Sheet B to make sure.

2. Proper Credit. In recording a win it is possible that the win/loss gets tallied in the wrong column. As the likelihood of this happening is not as great as a typical clerical error, this is something that can be done later in the accuracy check process, but it should not be overlooked. Here is where it is especially important to record summary figures at the end of each home stand or road trip, for example, a line representing the total number for each column should culminate each section, and those numbers should reconcile with those in the sample.

3. Wins are Wins. During the data entry process, it is possible that a win was given to the wrong team, either in the actual record (always check the line score for each game to make sure) or simply by mental error. Always check as you go along to make sure you’ve assigned the win or loss to the corresponding team. If the score given in the box score indicates a win for Milwaukee, make sure Milwaukee is given credit for the win. Same for Losses. Otherwise the record will not reconcile properly. Some of these ideas may seem redundant, but experience will prove that each time you double-check or triple-check your document you will be enhancing its accuracy and avoiding future errors.

4. Missing Box Score. If you have undertaken the painstaking process of double-checking your document for each of the above types of errors and your document’s figures continue to be different from the official record, it is likely that the original record failed to include a box score, perhaps the second game of a double-header or an abbreviated contest. Murphy’s law dictates that you will likely find the error somewhere toward the last two or three weeks of the season, after you’ve spent hours examining the first dozen weeks! In such cases as these you will need to consult a different source and compare the team’s won/loss record in the standings with the record you’ve arrived at.

(NOTE: when a won/loss record is tallied within a spreadsheet, it is best to record it as a numeral in sequential fashion, rather than as a “check” or an “x.” For example, if Milwaukee wins on Opening Day, the numeral “one” is placed in the win column. If the win the next day, the numeral “two” is recorded, and so on. This allows the data to be examined more readily. The disadvantage is that the record will have to be corrected once an error is discovered, but it is worth the time that takes. Such an approach is the equivalent of dropping bread crumbs as you walk through the woods…it’s nice to be able to trace your steps if you need to.)

That’s the Way I Saw It…

By Denver Howard

They use a lot of balls now.

As you visit the umpires at Wizards Stadium [aka Memorial Stadium, Fort Wayne, Indiana] you see them rubbing up four dozen baseballs for the game. As Major League players throw balls into the stands, baseball today uses a lot of balls. I guess they can afford it.

An interesting story in Rex Hamann‘s American Association Almanac for Spring 2007 tells about a game April 11, 1912 in Columbus, Ohio that was played using only one ball for the entire game. This is said to be a record for a professional baseball game as not a single foul went into the stand or out of the lot.

We always received one dozen balls, back in the ’50’s, for each minor league game. In 1955 Fulton, Kentucky called a game because they ran out of baseballs. Many minor league teams were on a strict budget. If a ball was hit into the stands a kid could take it to the concession stand and receive a candy bar.

Baseball has really changed.

Denver Howard
PO Box 171
Andrews, IN 46702

Note: Mr. Howard is a former long-time minor league umpire who subscribes to the American Association Almanac.

Published in: on April 13, 2007 at 8:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Browns Fan Kane Adds a Correction on Max Lanier

I’m enjoying the latest Almanac. Sad to see some of my old
favorites like Red Hayworth, Irv Hall, and Max Lanier joining the “Great
Minority”. Max was our famous Dodger killer during the 40’s. I’m sure
someone has pointed out by now that Max was not a “right-hander”.
Best,
Bud Kane

Note on Lanier: In 1946 Max Lanier, who died on January 30, 2007, was suspended from organized baseball for 5 years for jumping to the Mexican League. His reaction to the notice of his suspension was that he didn’t care, he was quite happy pitching in Mexico.
Rex Hamann

Published in: on April 6, 2007 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gary Fink’s Report on 1907 Shut Out Games

Gary Fink has just completed a summary of the 81 American Association shutouts in 1907. Previously, the number of A.A. shutouts had been 75. Gary has been a prolific contributor to the annals of American Association statistics, especially in the case of missing data bases. Here is Gary’s summary of the data file for his work on the American Association’s 81 shutout games for 1907.

1907 American Association Shut Outs

1. There 81 Shut Outs pitched in the American Association in 1907.
2. Two Columbus pitchers, Anthony “Chick” Robitaille and George “Jerry” Upp led the league with 6 ShO pitched.
3. Columbus, as a team had the most ShO pitched with 18.
4. Kansas City, as a team had the least ShO pitched with 4.
5. There were 14 games pitched with the score 1 to 0.
6. K.C. & Lou. pitcher Walter Frantz pitched 3 ShO and all of them were by the score of 1 to 0.
7. St. P. pitcher George Farris, K.C. pitcher Walter Frantz, and Toledo pitcher John Sutthoff each pitched a ShO where they gave up only 1 hit.
8. Columbus pitcher Anthony Robitaille pitched one ShO each month during the season (April through September).
9. Toledo pitcher William Lattimore pitched 4 ShO and all of them were pitched in August.
10. Toledo pitcher William Lattimore pitched the most innings for a ShO with 14.
11. Columbus pitchers pitched 3 straight ShO vs Indianapolis on June 24, 25, & 26.
12. On the flip side, K.C. pitcher, Oscar Kinlock “Ducky” Swann lost 6 games by a ShO.
13. Louisville was ShO the most times with 13.
14. Toledo was ShO the least times with 7.

Published in: on April 1, 2007 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Problems Reconstructing the Millers’ 1910 Season

Last night I was going insane trying to figure out why I wasn’t coming up with 168 games played by the Millers as I was working on the statistical reconstruction of the Millers’ 1910 season. So I wrote Gary Fink and tried to explain. Here is his reply:

I see in Wright’s book on the Am. Assn. he has the 1910 Minneapolis team with 107 wins and 61 loses (168 games). In the team batting section he lists Minneapolis with 167 games played.
There does not seem to be any Ties that year but there could be a Forfeited games that would count in the w / l column but not in the games played.
Most likely you did not count one victory for Minneapolis. I suggest you go through the Milwaukee games first as there were no tie games so they should of played only 24 games.
I also think that they could of just not counted the wins and losses correctly, I have found a lot of errors in the totals for the teams and the players in the Am. Assn. for 1907.
In the Am. Assn. news in the “SL” after the season was over, they said there was 75 Shut Out games pitched in 1907. I found 81 Shut Out games. I went through all the boxscores again today to confirm that.

Gary Fink

Thanks, Gary. You are really on the ball, as they say.

I believe I have now isolated the problem. Minneapolis played 24 games with six of their seven opponents. They played 23 games against Milwaukee. Likely there was a forfeiture there. I’ll be exploring this further when I go to Wilson Library next week. In the mean time I’m going to be “crunching the numbers” of my 1910 Millers’ season data file. Let the fun begin!

AND PLAY BALL!!!

Published in: on April 1, 2007 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment