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gordonm888
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April 20th, 2021 at 11:22:55 AM permalink
Here is my All-Star team of MLB players born on April 20, compiled as a starting lineup, pitching staff and bench players. I started doing this recently, and I must say that April 20 is one of the weaker Birthdays in MLB history.

April 20

Lineup
Dave Bancroft, SS (Hall of Fame)
Charlie Hemphill, CF (0.271, 368 SB)
Don Mattingly, 1B
Brandon Belt, DH
Todd Hollandsworth, RF
Eric Tipton, LF
Tommy Dowd, 2B (0.271, 207 SB)
Germany Smith, 3B (0.242, 235 SB)
Ted Easterly, C

Pitching Staff
Milt Wilcox, 119-113, 4.07
Charlie Smith, 66-87, 2.81
Jimmie Jones, 43-39, 4.46
Masato Yoshi, 34-47, 4.62
Sean Green, 10-12, 4.41

Bench
Mike O'Berry, C
Hal Peck, RF, PH
Tom Hutton, 1B, PH

With a couple of exceptions, this is a team of replacement-level players. Mattingly was arguably the best player in MLB for a few years and is the highlight of this team. Dave Bancroft was a low-tier Hall of Famer and Todd Hollandsworth was a Rookie of the Year winner who became nothing more than a solid player. Germany Smith and Brandon Belt have interesting names. Hemphill and Dowd played in the 1800s and have the stolen bases (and lack of home runs) to show for it. And look at that terrible pitching staff - I would not want to play a season with those guys. Jimmie Jones has a career Wins Above replacement of -1.9 - and yet I couldn't find pitchers taht were better than him.

Remarkably, I could not even find a relief pitcher nor a third baseman born on April 20, so I shifted Germany Smith from SS to 3B because he did actually play 2 games at the hot corner. Germany was a very mediocre pre-WWI player who probably would have had a different nickname if he had played in the 1920s or later. Edit: Perhaps most notoriously, at age 38 in 1897 Germany Smith hit .201 for a team that hit .325 in a league that hit .292.

I hope April 21 will be better!
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Apr 20, 2021
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smoothgrh
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April 20th, 2021 at 11:28:09 AM permalink
This list is quite amusing. Thanks for posting it!

My goal in life is to live to 4/20/69 — if Prince Philip can make it to 99, so can I!
DRich
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April 20th, 2021 at 1:14:32 PM permalink
Quote: smoothgrh



My goal in life is to live to 4/20/69 — if Prince Philip can make it to 99, so can I!



My goal is to live to 2022.
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billryan
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April 20th, 2021 at 2:14:47 PM permalink
Quote: DRich

My goal is to live to 2022.



Why?
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DRich
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April 20th, 2021 at 2:17:12 PM permalink
Quote: billryan

Why?



Because I believe it will hurt my wife and child when I die. Hopefully I can prolong the time before they feel that pain.
At my age, a "Life In Prison" sentence is not much of a deterrent.
billryan
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April 20th, 2021 at 5:13:05 PM permalink
Interesting thread. Let's see if it has legs.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
DRich
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April 20th, 2021 at 5:41:36 PM permalink
Is there a site that lists players by birthday?
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Keeneone
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April 20th, 2021 at 6:55:28 PM permalink
Quote: DRich

Is there a site that lists players by birthday?


The only way I am aware of is to look on the back of their baseball cards. GL



https://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/birthdays.cgi
DRich
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April 20th, 2021 at 7:03:22 PM permalink
Quote: Keeneone

The only way I am aware of is to look on the back of their baseball cards. GL



https://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/birthdays.cgi



Way more work than I am willing to invest.
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TomG
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April 21st, 2021 at 5:56:30 AM permalink
Adding anything else good or bad you find in the future would be cool

This does remind me of that one day in November, where Griffey Jr was not even the best left-handed outfielder born in Donora PA on that day.
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April 21st, 2021 at 7:42:20 AM permalink
This is my All-Star team of MLB players born on April 21, compiled as a starting lineup, pitching staff and bench players. April 21 has no Hall of Famers and no Don Mattingly, but IMO is much better than the April 20 team. For each player, I am showing their years in MLB and their career WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

April 21

Lineup
1. Al Bumbry, CF (1972-1985) WAR= 24.5
2. Joc Pederson, LF (2019-2021) WAR=9.9
3. Hardy Richardson, RF (1879-1892) WAR=41.0
4. Ken Caminiti, 3B (1987-2001) WAR = 33.4
5. Ronny Paulino, C (2005-2012) WAR= 5.3
6. Fred "Dutch" Hartman, DH (1894-1902) WAR=7.4
7. Dick Green, 2B (1963-1974) WAR=16.0
8. Stan Rojek, SS (1942-1952) WAR=5.6
9. Chris Donnels, 1B (1991 -2002) WAR = 0.3

Pitching Staff
Gary Peters, (1959-1972) 124-103, WAR=28.7
Kip Wells,(1999-2012) 69-103, WAR=8
Les Lancaster, (1987-1993) 41-28, WAR=6.5
Lefty Weinert, (1919-1931) 18-33, WAR=0.7
Jesse Orosco, (1979-2003) 97-80, 144 saves, WAR=23.2

Bench
Kevin Brown, C (1996-2002) WAR=0.7
Brent Morel,3B, PH (2010-2015) WAR=0.7
Jeff Keppinger, 2B, 3B, SS (2004-2013) WAR=1.1

The strength of this team, such as it is, is two very good pitchers (Peters, Orosco) and three excellent defensive players: Bumbry in CF, Green at 2B and Caminiti at third. Bumbry, Caminiti and Hardy Richardson fuel the offense.

Hardy Richardson: Before there was the 1927 Yankees there were the Buffalo Bisons of the early 1880s. They had "The Big Four," four of the top sluggers in professional BB. If Dan Brouthers was their version of Babe Ruth, then Hardy Richardson was their #2, sort of a Lou Gehrig. He batted .299, hit 73 homers, walked 377 times and stole 207 bases and his OPS was .781.

Stan Rojek was the Pirates SS for a few years before Dick Groat came on the scene. His nickname was "The Happy Rabbit," reportedly because he had buck teeth. I wonder if he had a sex life like a rabbit, because when he joined the Cardinals Branch Rickey offered to give him a raise if he would get married. Rojek dutifully married a young lady before the season began, but Rickey reneged on his promise and Rojek never got that raise. I wonder if this was the inspiration for all the rom-coms in which couples pretend they are married in order to get ahead in the workplace. Does anyone remember the TV show "Occasional Wife?"

Dick Green was voted Postseason Player of the Year in 1974, despite going 2 for 9 in the ALCS and 0 for 13 in the World Series -because he made so many game changing defensive plays. In the last game of the 1974 World Series, Baltimore was rallying in the 8th inning and about to tie the game when Dick Green made a perfect relay throw to nail a sliding Bill Buckner at third base. And that was it for Baltimore(edit: the Dodgers) and Oakland won the Series. And, yes, this was the same Bill Buckner who memorably let a ground ball go through his legs to give away the 1986 World Series to the Mets.

Ken Caminiti was a central figure in the steroids scandals and died from a drug OD a few years after retiring from baseball. But he was a hell of a player and made a lot of athletic stops at 3B. He is considered to be the best third baseman in the history of the San Diego Padres. A bit of a niche honor, but hey!

Earl Weaver said that Al Bumbry was the fastest player that ever played for him.

Fred Hartman was on the 1901 White Sox team that won the first A.L. pennant.

Gary Peters was the ace of a very good White Sox pitching staff in the mid-1960s, amongst the other starters were Tommy John and Ken Holtzman.

And this team has a real relief pitcher: Jesse Orosco who is the all-time MLB leader in games pitched, with 571.

One other note: Joc Pederson was a minor-league star who has been stuck behind an outfield full of All-Stars on the Dodgers. In the minors he played for the Ogden Raptors, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the Great Lakes Loons, the Chattanooga Lookouts, and the Albuquerque Isotopes. Hoo-hah! In modern day BB, it seems it is the teams that get the wacky nicknames rather than the players.
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Apr 21, 2021
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billryan
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April 21st, 2021 at 8:22:30 AM permalink
It didn't take long before steroids reared its ugly head. I personally would ban anyone associated with them from these lists, but it's not my bat and ball.
One side note- Oakland did not beat Baltimore in the 1974 World Series
Curiously, Dick Green won the Babe Ruth Award for his post season play in 1974 and as a reward was cut from the team that winter.
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April 21st, 2021 at 11:31:22 AM permalink
Quote: billryan

It didn't take long before steroids reared its ugly head. I personally would ban anyone associated with them from these lists, but it's not my bat and ball.
One side note- Oakland did not beat Baltimore in the 1974 World Series
Curiously, Dick Green won the Babe Ruth Award for his post season play in 1974 and as a reward was cut from the team that winter.



Reportedly, Dick Green was feeling old and decided he was done. He didn't like that the A's lost Catfish Hunter to free agency after the World Series -he felt that they had no chance to repeat without Catfish. As a symbolic gesture, he asked for a raise from $20,000 to $80,000 which was unrealistic and the A's gave him his release. He then retired. California Angels Manager Dick Williams (who had managed the A's from 1971-1973) said at the time that he thought that the Athletics would miss Dick Green more than Catfish Hunter in the long term!

Biographical Info on Dick Green
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April 22nd, 2021 at 9:12:27 AM permalink
This is my All-Star team of MLB players born on April 22. April 22 has no Hall of Famers, but IMO is a surprisingly fun team. And not just because it has a Bob Smith, Bob Schmidt and a Dave Schmidt. And not just because it has two Mickeys and no Mantle. Read my comments below

April 21

Lineup
1. Taylor Douthit, CF (1923-1933) WAR=12
2. Dee Strange-Gordon, SS (2011-2020) WAR= 13
3. Mickey Vernon, 1B (1939-1960) WAR=35.1
4. Kevin Kermaier, RF (2013-2021) WAR = 27.3
5. Lew Riggs, 3B (1934-1946) WAR= 8.6
6. Mickey Morandini, 2B (1990-2000) WAR=9.8
7. Joe Orsino, DH (1961-1967) WAR=4.4
8. Bob Schmidt, C (1990-2000) WAR=2.2
9. Terry Francona, LF (1981 -2000) WAR = -3

Pitching Staff
Jimmy Key, (1984-1958) 186-117, WAR=48.9
Bob Smith,(1923-1937) 106-139, WAR=25.6
Moose Haas, (1976-1987) 100-83, WAR=17.3
Ray Benge, (1925-1938) 101-129, WAR=13.2
Tyson Ross, (2010-2019) 44-70, WAR=7.4
Dave Schmidt, (1981-1992) 54-55, 50 saves, WAR=8.8

Bench
Neal Ball, IF (1907-1913) WAR=0.9
Bob Smith, SS -same guy as the Pitcher

The pitching staff is quite good - four pitchers with at least 100 wins and a decent reliever. The line-up is weak, despite the presence of Mickey Vernon and Taylor Douthit (whose great career was shortened by injury.) Bob Smith played both SS and Pitcher for substantial periods of his career, so when he's not pitching he's on the bench.

The outfield is remarkable. Kiermaier has already won 8 Golden Gloves in center field and yet is in right field for this team. That's because Taylor Douthit was one of the best defensive outfielders ever. He is #1 all time in MLB for career range factor for outfielders. His 547 Putouts in 1948 is still the major league record for outfielders. The third outfielder on the April 22 team is Terry Francona, who more frequently played 1B. I put him in LF because there doesn't seem to be anyone else born on 4/22 who played outfield. One can imagine these three guys shifting around against each batter so that Francona plays only 20% of the outfield, and Douthit and Kermaier play the rest.

On April 17, 2018 Kermaier tried to steal 2nd base. He got a poor jump and the catcher's throw had him out by a mile, but the shortstop dropped the ball and the play was scored as a caught stealing on Kermaier and an error on the SS. Kermaier then took a big lead at second, and the pitcher picked him off, which was also scored as a caught stealing on Kermaier. So, twice within a couple of minutes he was caught stealing!

On August 23, 1961, Joe Orsino was one of a record five San Francisco Giants players who homered in the 9th inning against the Cincinnati Reds in a 14-0 win. The other home run hitters were Orlando Cepeda, Felipe Alou, Willie Mays and Jim Davenport. Orsino's three-run blast was the last of the five.

On June 4th, 1958, Bob Schimidt, together with Hank Sauer, became the first players in National League history to hit back-to-back pinch-hit home runs

Neal Ball It was July 19, 1909. Cy Young was on the mound and utility infielder Neal Ball (5'7" and 145 lbs) was playing 2B. Runners on 1st and 2nd, no one out. The hit and run was on and both players start running and Neal Ball sprints toward second to cover the base. The batter hits a line drive up the middle and Neal Ball leaps as high as he can and catches the ball. He steps on second base and tags the runner from first, who almost ran over him.

It was the first unassisted triple play in major league in history. Ball started running for the dugout and an uncomprehending Cy Young called out "Where you going, Neal?" Ball responded "That's three outs."

The crowd of 11,000 exploded into a cheering ovation. The game was delayed 20 minutes so that they could clear the field of all the hats that had been thrown onto it. The Commissioner of MLB would later present Neal Ball with a medal for making this play.

In the bottom of the inning the first batter was . . . Neal Ball. Ball hits the very first pitch to center field, at Tris Speaker. Speaker was universally regarded to be a defensive demi-god, and hitting the ball at him was always a sure out. At this moment, Speaker kept backing up but, to the astonishment of everyone in the park, the ball went over his head, and Speaker chased it back to the fences, Ball circled the bases for an inside-the park home run. In 1909, home runs were rare, and and tiny Neal Ball had never hit one in his career (and would only hit a total of four.)

So, on consecutive pitches, Ball made MLB's first ever unassisted triple play behind Cy Young and then hit an inside-the-park home run over the head of Tris Speaker.

In 1914, Neal Ball became a team-mate and coach for first-year pitcher Babe Ruth on the Baltimore Orioles of the International League. Ball was instucting Ruth on the catcher's hand signals. During an exhibition game, Ball was catching and Ruth was pitching and Ball signaled for what was called a "waste pitch." Ruth, however, threw it down the middle of the plate and it was hit solidly by the batter. Ball asked Ruth why he had thrown such a hittable pitch. Well,” said Ruth, “I threw it right by his waist.”

Neal Ball became one of Ruth's good personal friends. I don't care what his stats were, Ball makes my April 22 all-star team.
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smoothgrh
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April 22nd, 2021 at 12:18:12 PM permalink
Thanks for the Neal Ball story. Had never heard it.

Tris Speaker was on my fantasy computer baseball team in the late '80s.

For awhile it sounded like many high school baseball fields didn't have fences, so only inside-the-park homers were possible. I think that has changed over the years. Probably to have more impressive stats for college recruiters?
billryan
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April 22nd, 2021 at 1:58:43 PM permalink
My HS baseball team played in an old WPA stadium that was repurposed for baseball Right field was 235 feet and a ball hit over the fence was a double, no matter how far it went. There was an old stone wall that ran from left field to dead center that was about 400 feet deep. Almost any ball that got by the outfielders went to the wall for an inside the park homer.
About twenty years ago, they knocked down the stone wall and put home plate out in left field so the dimensions are pretty normal.
309 down both lines, 325-340 in the power alleys, and 375 to center.
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April 22nd, 2021 at 4:25:38 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888


Lineup
1. Al Bumbry, CF (1972-1985) WAR= 24.5
2. Joc Pederson, LF (2019-2021) WAR=9.9
3. Hardy Richardson, RF (1879-1892) WAR=41.0
4. Ken Caminiti, 3B (1987-2001) WAR = 33.4
5. Ronny Paulino, C (2005-2012) WAR= 5.3
6. Fred "Dutch" Hartman, DH (1894-1902) WAR=7.4
7. Dick Green, 2B (1963-1974) WAR=16.0
8. Stan Rojek, SS (1942-1952) WAR=5.6
9. Chris Donnels, 1B (1991 -2002) WAR = 0.3



I don't like the idea of moving players away from the position they played the most, just to fit into a fantasy lineup. Otherwise you should just list the eight or nine best players regardless of position. If not, then depending on the constraints, Jimmy Foxx might be the catcher, or Hank Aaron the shortstop. Joc Pederson is a center fielder, not a left fielder. But then there were no Major League left fielders born on April 21, so he is the best choice. And then the next day, Terry Francona is really a first baseman.

Mickey Vernon missed two years because of World War II and played in Griffith Stadium. If those things were different and he had an extra 100 to 150 homeruns in his career, he was well liked enough that some buddies on some Veterans Committee could have got him into the Hall-of-Fame.

Caminiti was average defensively, not excellent. From that time period, Pendleton, Wallach, Ventura, Gaetti, Matt Williams, were the top defensive third baseman. Then There was nothing that separated Caminiti from anyone else, no better than Fryman, Boggs, or most anyone else.
TomG
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April 22nd, 2021 at 4:28:01 PM permalink
Quote: smoothgrh

Tris Speaker was on my fantasy computer baseball team in the late '80s.



I have been playing these games almost as long. I've spent way too many hours on them. At one time I could have even made an argument for being the best in the world at it.
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April 22nd, 2021 at 4:35:02 PM permalink
An artist can stretch things a bit. Moving an outfielder to another outfield position is okay. The OP is creating a team based on birthdays.
It's a work of art, not a list.
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April 22nd, 2021 at 5:05:59 PM permalink
Quote: TomG

I don't like the idea of moving players away from the position they played the most, just to fit into a fantasy lineup. Otherwise you should just list the eight or nine best players regardless of position. If not, then depending on the constraints, Jimmy Foxx might be the catcher, or Hank Aaron the shortstop. Joc Pederson is a center fielder, not a left fielder. But then there were no Major League left fielders born on April 21, so he is the best choice. And then the next day, Terry Francona is really a first baseman.

Mickey Vernon missed two years because of World War II and played in Griffith Stadium. If those things were different and he had an extra 100 to 150 homeruns in his career, he was well liked enough that some buddies on some Veterans Committee could have got him into the Hall-of-Fame.

Caminiti was average defensively, not excellent. From that time period, Pendleton, Wallach, Ventura, Gaetti, Matt Williams, were the top defensive third baseman. Then There was nothing that separated Caminiti from anyone else, no better than Fryman, Boggs, or most anyone else.



Francona played 307 games at 1B, and 204 games in the OF, so that was a legit decision to put him in the OF; but I do understand what you are saying. My original premise was: Using people born on a particular day, thereby lumping together players that otherwise have no obvious connections, can I work through the manpower issues and field a team? And what are the strongest and weakest days of the year? Maybe I've injured some sensibilities by calling them "All-Star teams" because 365 x 15 players is a lot of players, almost 6000, and must of them are not worthy of being called all-stars.

I do not intend to put Mickey Mantle or Kevin Mitchell at SS or Jimmy Foxx at C, I was indeed intending to honor great players by putting them at their iconic positions. But many of these 6000 or so players are utilitymen who played wherever they were needed, and some of them who had long careers shifted positions as they aged. Does Pete Rose belong at 2B or 1B? I don't know. A lot of players are listed as (OF, 1B) or as (2B, 3B, SS) and on some days there just aren't many viable players to work with. If I had Al Bumbry and Joc Pederson on my roster, I would use Pederson in the OF but put Bumbry at CF. That's all I'm saying, I'm not claiming Pederson is an All-Star Right Fielder. Just that he's an April 21 all-star, IMO.

I didn't write about Mickey Vernon, because the post was getting long. I would have said: He reminds me a bit of Keith Hernandez, He won two batting championships, and was an excellent defensive 1B. Very intelligent and a decent human being. If he had played for a NY team he would have been a major star.

I accept your statements about third-basemen and that Caminiti was not "excellent defensively.", I don't much remember seeing Caminiti play and I never meant to imply he was a Brooks Robinson. Dick Green never won a Gold Glove supposedly because there were better 2B in the American League when he played, but he did seem to be an excellent glove man.

Thanks for your comments.
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April 22nd, 2021 at 5:23:10 PM permalink
Anybody who would like to help me with this thread and be in charge of posting a daily team occasionally or even just once maybe on your own birthday, please send me a PM.

This is a lot of work, and I recognize that there are a few forumites who know more about baseball than I do. I could use the help.
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DRich
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April 22nd, 2021 at 6:07:01 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

Anybody who would like to help me with this thread and be in charge of posting a daily team occasionally or even just once maybe on your own birthday, please send me a PM.

This is a lot of work, and I recognize that there are a few forumites who know more about baseball than I do. I could use the help.



This site will make it easier. You can get a list of players for any day.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/birthdays.cgi?month=4&day=1
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April 22nd, 2021 at 9:23:52 PM permalink
Quote: billryan

An artist can stretch things a bit. Moving an outfielder to another outfield position is okay. The OP is creating a team based on birthdays.
It's a work of art, not a list.



However anyone wants to do it is ok. But moving players away from where they actually played, would make little more than a list of the nine best players to fit the criteria. Only putting players at their primary position is what would require the nuanced and artistic look at baseball history.

The most common example is Yankee All-Time teams, where either DiMaggio or Mantle are put in left field. But that just brings us back to Jimmie Foxx playing catcher as much as either of those guys played left. Which brings us right back to it just being a list of the eight or nine best to fit the criteria. For the birthdays, it is already been shown that there has to be some players moving around, as it is possible for there to be some days when a position is not represented at all. Pederson has to be the left fielder for that day, because there is literally no Major League player who played primarily left field born on that day.

Kevin Mitchell did play third base quite a bit. Pete Rose is a corner outfielder, because that is where provided the most value to his teams throughout his career. He did play first base more than any other position, but that was at the end of his career when he was not nearly as good.

Dick Green was very good defensively. Mazeroski was definitely better. There may be some others who were also better (Morgan, Grich, Nellie Fox, Frank White), but not by much.

I could help make birthday All-Star teams, but it is the exact type of thing that has me getting lost in baseballreference for three hours. I already put way too much time into looking up second baseman from the 60s and 70s to compare to Dick Green.
billryan
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April 23rd, 2021 at 9:00:30 AM permalink
Mike Andrews was a second baseman for the 1973 As. They should tell you volumes about Dick Green.
For those who don't remember, Andrews committed a couple of errors in a World Series game and suddenly developed an injury ,allowing the As to replace him. Until the Baseball powers stepped in and said he had to stay on the team. The As played the rest of the series a man short, as I recall.
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April 23rd, 2021 at 9:10:53 AM permalink
duplicate
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April 23rd, 2021 at 9:21:04 AM permalink
Quote: DRich

This site will make it easier. You can get a list of players for any day.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/friv/birthdays.cgi?month=4&day=1



Thanks, I do indeed use this. I had been compiling my own searchable database of player birthdays and then I happily discovered this on baseball-reference.com -otherwise this thread would not be possible. It's still a lot of work, though.
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Apr 23, 2021
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April 23rd, 2021 at 9:49:57 AM permalink
That's what minions are for.
It is a lot of work. I'm curious how long you'll keep it up, although I'm a bit surprised no one has done this before. I'm enjoying your work and have no problem with some artistic liberties. Just don't make Don Mattingly a third baseman or Mariano a starter.
My cousin Mike wrote a book on misunderstood defensive players and to his shock sold a heck of a lot of books. He somehow was able to come up with a way of measuring runs saved.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
gordonm888
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April 23rd, 2021 at 11:31:52 AM permalink
This is my All-Birthday team of MLB players born on April 23. This was a tough day to compile such a list -there are only 42 MLB players that were born on April 23, and 22 of 42 were pitchers. That left only 20 position players to choose from, so our list has some incredibly obscure players mixed in with familiar names. However, some of these obscure players are a bit interesting! So, let's go!

April 23

Lineup
1. Emilio Bonifacio, SS (2007-2020) WAR= 3.2
2. Bob Ganley, RF (1905-1909) WAR= 6.2
3. Jim Bottomley, DH (1922-1937) WAR= 35___HOF
4. Andruw Jones, RF (1996-2012) WAR = 62.7
5. Dolph Camilli, 1B (1933-1944) WAR= 43.2
6. Jason Tyner, LF (2000-2008) WAR= 2.4
7. Sammy Meeks, SS (1948-1951) WAR= -0.3
8. Chuck Harmon, 3B (1954-1957) WAR= -0.4
9. Charlie Dorman, C (1923 ) WAR = 0

Pitching Staff
Warren Spahn, (1942-1965) 363 - 245, WAR= 100.1___HOF
Jim Scott, (1909-1917) 107-114, WAR= 25.
Harry Covelski, (1907-1918) 81- 55, WAR= 16.9
Elam Vangilder, (1919-1929) 99-102, WAR= 15.3
Rheal Cormier, (1991-2007) 71=64, WAR= 9.5
Ray Starr, (1932-1945) 37-35, 50 saves, WAR=4.4

Bench
Tony Lupien, 1B (1940-1948) WAR= 2.9
Warren Spahn, PH -same guy as the Pitcher
John Peltz, OF (1884-1890) WAR= -1.6
Elam Van Gilder, PH -same guy as the Pitcher

I consider April 23 to be Warren Spahn's team. “I don’t think Spahn will ever get into the Hall of Fame,” Stan Musial once said. “He’ll never stop pitching.” Indeed, after MLB he pitched in the Mexican League and for a Tulsa minor league team he was managing (he pitched to boost attendance), which delayed his admission into the Hall, but he ultimately became only the 6th player elected into the MLB Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility.

"Spahn and Sain, then pray for rain" is a line from what may be the 3rd most famous piece of baseball poetry, after 'Casey at the Bat' and 'Tinkers to Evers to Chance.' He was a great durable pitcher and one of the best hitting pitchers ever, clubbing 35 career homers. At 42 years old, he lost a 16-inning duel with the Giants’ 25-year-old Juan Marichal, 1-0. In 1963, near the end of his career, Spahn and Yogi Berra were both acquired by the Mets and Spahn was quoted as saying: “I don’t know whether we’ll be the oldest battery in baseball, but I know we’ll be the ugliest,”

Thanks to the presence of Spahn the pitching staff for April 23 is much stronger than average for these birthday teams. The line-up has a strong middle with Jim Bottomley, Andruw Jones and Dolph Camilli, but the rest of the line-up, and the bench, are woefully weak. Here are some notes:

Chuck Harmon On April 17, 1954 Harmon made his debut by pinch hitting and became the first African American to play for the Cincinnati Reds. He was 30 years old and had been passed up for years despite some remarkable minor league seasons. By 1954, his best years were behind him but he is an historic figure.

Jim Bottomley He was called "Sunny Jim" because of his amiable disposition. In his first full season, 1923, he hit .371 and finished 2nd in batting average to his teammate Rogers Hornsby, who hit .384. In 1931, he hit .3482 but trailed champion Chick Hafey's .3489 and runner-up Bill Terry's .3486 in the closest batting race ever. He is often remembered only for Sept 16, 1924 when he went 6 for 6 (two homers, a double and 3 singles) and drove in 12 runs for the Cardinals against the Brooklyn Robins. It is still a MLB record, though Mark Whiten tied it in 1993. But Bottomley, was no one-game wonder, he had a career batting average of .310 and drove in over 1400 runs.

Andruw Jones He was an extremely good defensive outfielder and hitter on some very good Atlanta Braves teams that were choc-a-bloc with star players. In 1996, at age 19, he became the youngest player to hit a home run in a World Series, surpassing the record previously held by Mickey Mantle. He became the 4th youngest player to hit 300 homers, just behind Ken Griffey Jr. At various times he led the majors in HRs (51), RBIs, outfielder put-outs (497) and outfielder assists, (20) and hit 434 home runs in his career. He might never make the Hall of Fame, as Bottomley did, and he never did win an MVP like Dolph Camilli, but IMO he is the best non-pitcher on this team.

Jason Tyner He was notorious for his lack of power. He hit only one homer in 898 games in the majors over 11 years. That came near the end of his career (in 2007) against Cleveland and barely cleared the fence just inside the right field foul pole in Jacobs Field.

Elam Vangilder He was a mainstay on the St. Louis Browns pitching staff from 1921 to 1927. It is unclear, but he may have been the first pitcher to win 10 games in a season in relief. In 1922, the year that teammate George Sisler hit .420, Van Gilder was 19-11 and hit an unbelievable .344/.396/.559. His lifetime batting average was .243 and he made 7 career appearances as a pinch hitter but never appeared on the field in any position other than pitcher. It seems odd that he and Spahn are on the same All-birthday team.

Tony Lupien He was better than many of the starters on this April 23 team but he, Bottomley and Dolph Camilli were all strictly first basemen, so he is relegated to the bench. His first name was Ulysses. While playing for Scranton in the Class A Eastern league, the team held a promotion called Italian night in which they announced they would play with three Italian outfielders. Ulysses, a French-Canadian, adopted the name Tony and pretended to be Italian for this promotion. The nickname 'Tony' stuck.

Sammy Meeks As a minor league player with Chattanooga in 1959, he provided testimony that led to the banishment for life of Jesse Levan for allegedly trying to fix games. In the majors, he played in only 102 games with 209 plate appearances for the Washington and Cincinnati clubs.

Charlie Dorman He appears to be literally the only person who was born on April 23 to have ever played catcher in the 160+ year history of major league baseball . He played only one game in the majors, for the Washington Senators; he caught and went 1 for 2 at the plate. He was signed with the Senators when a Washington executive was in the stands for a minor league game and saw him in unusual circumstances. Dorman was also in the stands that day watching the San Francisco-Salt Lake minor league game when catcher Byrd Lynn dislocated his shoulder. With no back up, Dorman went down from the stands to substitute for him. He made several great plays and later was on a train to Washington for what became his only game in the major leagues.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
billryan
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April 23rd, 2021 at 12:26:28 PM permalink
As the Professor said- Your team has to have a catcher. Without a catcher, you end up with a lot of passed balls.
I suspect the day will come when no catcher has a birthday.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
gordonm888
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April 23rd, 2021 at 1:32:14 PM permalink
Quote: billryan

As the Professor said- Your team has to have a catcher. Without a catcher, you end up with a lot of passed balls.
I suspect the day will come when no catcher has a birthday.



I agree -and I almost used Casey Stengel's quote in the article. in fact, I agree with everything you've said about this thread. I'll keep doing it for a while, and then I'll see.

Notionally, my ability to make this thread into a book is probably impeded by the reality that the WOV forum now owns the copyright on what I've already posted.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
Keeneone
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April 23rd, 2021 at 1:39:43 PM permalink
Gonna be tough to field a high quality team for Feb 29th. :)
But there is one catcher for the roster:
https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/f/fryje01.shtml
Of course you have until 2024 to worry about this issue.
https://www.timeanddate.com/date/leap-day.html
gordonm888
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April 23rd, 2021 at 2:52:05 PM permalink
Quote: Keeneone

Gonna be tough to field a high quality team for Feb 29th. :)
But there is one catcher for the roster:
https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/f/fryje01.shtml
Of course you have until 2024 to worry about this issue.
https://www.timeanddate.com/date/leap-day.html



December 25th should be another difficult date, I imagine. Edit: Nope, there are 71 major leaguers born on Christmas.

Its the SS and Catcher positions that are likely to be the most difficult, but I've already had trouble finding a first baseman on 4/22. And today, on April 23, everything except 1B, the first two outfielders and pitcher was difficult.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
billryan
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April 23rd, 2021 at 3:31:38 PM permalink
With the influx of Asian players, you might be able to use the international dateline to your advantage.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
gordonm888
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April 24th, 2021 at 1:04:35 PM permalink
This is my All-Birthday team of MLB players born on April 24. There were only 41 MLB players born on April 24, but what a team April 24 has! From the modern era we have a veteran catcher, an all-time great defensive SS, a Hall of Fame third baseman, and a nifty center fielder with more than 400 homers and more than 300 SB. We had 9 pitchers with more than 55 wins each to choose from, including two starters who have thrown no-hitters. And we have a reliever with more than 300 saves who has pitched in 989 games - 18th most in history.

But its not perfect, not even close. This team gets virtually no production from 1B, LF and 2B (and less than expected from DH and RF.) The line-up I put together doesn't seem to click; maybe I have some players in the wrong line-up slots -or maybe there are no natural lead-off hitters and # 2 hitters and cleanup hitters, etc. And many of the players (other than Beltran and Jones) seem to have trouble getting on base. And there's a cloud over some of these players and their accomplishments - or at least some questions.

I find I'm having trouble liking this team.

April 24

Lineup
1. Omar Vizquel, SS (1989-2012) WAR= 45.6
2. Tyler Naquin, RF (2016-2021 ) WAR= 3.2
3. Chipper Jones, 3B (1993-2012) WAR= 85.3___HOF
4. Carlos Beltran, CF (1998-2017) WAR = 70.1
5. Wellington Castillo, C (2010-2021) WAR= 12.3
6. Mike Blowers, DH (1989-1999) WAR= 4.3
7. Jim Field, 1B (1883-1898) WAR= 2.5
8. Red Worthington, LF (1931-1934) WAR= 2.3
9. Joe Wagner 2B (1915 ) WAR = -0.8

Pitching Staff
Howard Ehmke, (1915-1930) 166 - 166, WAR= 39
Bob Ewing, (1902-1912) 124-118, WAR= 29.9
Bill Singer, (1964-1977) 118- 127, WAR= 18.7
Pat Zachry, (1976-1985) 69-67, WAR= 10.7
John Means, (2018-2021) 15-15, WAR= 6.9
Reliever
Todd Jones, (1993-2008) 58-64, 319 saves, WAR=10.3

Bench
Ivan Murrell, OF,PH,1B (1963-1974) WAR= 0.7
Bob Ewing, OF - same guy as the Pitcher
Dixie Howell, C (1884-1890) WAR= -1.3
Willi Castro, SS,3B,2B (2019-2021) WAR= -0.3


Chipper Jones I saw Chipper Jones for the first time at a Class AA Tennessee Smokies game, he was on the visiting Greenville team. He looked like Thor amongst a bunch of scrawny wannabes. After a few innings I believed, with perfect clarity, that Jones was a major-league player - and one who would be way above average with a long career. However, he exceeded my expectations. I also thought the Greenville catcher looked good, but he didn't stand out as much as Chipper. (Spoiler: it turns out the Greenville catcher was Javy Lopez).

Chipper's Dad raised his son in hopes of him being the next Mickey Mantle -and Chipper came close. The player Jones is most similar to is Gary Sheffield according to the Baseball-Reference site. Mickey Mantle is 9th on the list of players similar to Chipper Jones; and notably Carlos Beltran, his April 24 teammate, is 3rd on that similarity list. Chipper was an 8-time all-star, the NL MVP in 1999 and the batting title champ in 2008. But his reputation as a person was tainted by the revelation that he fathered a child with a Hooters waitress, amongst a multitude of extramarital affairs and hookups. In this he also emulated Mickey Mantle - and Babe Ruth and Tiger Woods and a zillion other professional athletes. He is on his third wife now; I hope he's found happiness.

Todd Jones Todd Jones is 18th all time in appearances by a pitcher (989 games) and has 317 saves. And yet his career ranks 222nd amongst all relief pitchers on the JAWS list, just behind Hal Woodeshick, Skip Lockwood and Duane Ward. He's certainly a valid #1 reliever for a birthdate team, but he's apparently not as good as 317 saves would imply. There are probably almost 200 birthdate teams with better relievers!


Bob Ewing He evolved into a spitball pitcher and was the most prominent and accomplished pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds during the deadball era, winning over 100 games. He was never on a very good team and is sometimes remembered principally for his first game in which he walked 11 Chicago Orphans, including seven in one inning -which still stands as the major league record. But he reportedly was a hard worker, and conscientious professional. In the JAWs ranking he is the 258th best starting pitcher of all time, which is pretty impressive for the #2 starter on this birthdate team.

Howard Ehmke He threw overhand, he threw sidearm, he threw three-quarters, and his motion for all three was mostly identical and his windup was a confusing combination of whirling arms and legs. He had a fast ball, a sharply-breaking curve, and an array of slow-balls and as he aged he relied increasingly on the slow-balls. It was hard for hitters to know where the pitch was coming from, where it was going and to time it well. Universally, batters hated to bat against Ehmke.

Ehmke is remembered by Yankee fans as the pitcher who served up the first home run in Yankee Stadium's first game - to Babe Ruth.

Ehmke is credited with a no-hitter for the Boston club in 1923. In the 6th inning the opposing pitcher lined a clean single to left field but somehow failed to touch first base and was subsequently tagged out after running by it. In the 8th inning the left fielder fumbled a ball and it was ruled a hit, but then changed to an error at the end of the inning, preserving the no-hitter for Ehmke! In his very next game the first batter against Ehmke hit a ground ball to the third baseman who fumbled the ball and never threw it to first. Controversially, the official scorer ruled it a hit. Ehmke did not allow another hit for the rest of that game, narrowly missing getting credited for two consecutive no-hitters.


Bill Singer Singer also threw a no-hitter in his career. I remember when Singer was early in his major league career and he seemed to be the next in a growing line of dominating Dodger pitchers -a successor to Koufax, Drysdale, Sutton and John. He eventually won 20 games in a season in both the National and American Leagues, but somehow he never seemed to become the pitcher that everyone thought he would be.

Omar Vizquel I called him an all-time great defensive shortstop in the introduction, and I think he was -despite being ranked 41st on the JAWS list of shortstops. He won 12 Gold Glove Awards, two less than Ozzie Smith and two more than Aparicio and he has the highest career fielding percentage of any shortstop in MLB history. He hit 80 homers and stole 404 bases while caught stealing only 167 times. He had 2877 hits, 3 more than Babe Ruth and just short of immortality. His slash was only .272/.336/.352 though, which doesn't seem as impressive as his cumulative career accomplishments. Ultimately, he was great defensively and played for a very long career.

The last 35 years has been the golden age of shortstops in MLB history: Ozzie, Larkin, Ripken, Guillen, Jeter, A-Rod, Tulowitzki, Vizquel, Tejada, Simmons, Peralta, Renteria, and now Seagar, Tatis Jr., Lindor, Semien. and so on. Maybe I'll write about that sometime.

Carlos Beltran I wonder what his career stats would have been if he had not played so many years in the batters burial-ground known as Shea Stadium. He was a very good player for a very long time but he is now tainted by the Astros sign-stealing scandal, in which he reportedly played a central role.

Wellington Castillo A barrel-chested catcher with good power, but one who doesn't walk very frequently. He failed a drug test in 2018 for 'EPO" (the drug that bicyclist Lance Armstrong used) and was suspended for half a year. In 2019 he batted only .209 without the drug and that was the end of his career. There is so much money in professional sports, that its not surprising this kind of stuff happens but its still an unattractive story.

Mike Blowers In the 1990s, the cry of "Blower Power" was chanted in the Seattle Kingdome whenever he came up to bat.

Tom Zachry Unfortunately for him, he was one of 4 players that the Mets received when they traded away their all-time best player, Tom Seaver. Zachry was the only pitcher the Mets received in the trade and he was put into the starting rotation filling the vacant slot that Seaver left. He was like Babe Dahlgren after Lou Gehrig - New York fans never wanted him and he was resented for being nothing more than mediocre.
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Apr 24, 2021
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
DogHand
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April 24th, 2021 at 3:04:56 PM permalink
gordonm888,

I just wanted to say that I have been enjoying this thread tremendously, and to encourage you to continue it.

Alternatively, if you were to publish it as a book instead (or maybe in some calendar format?), I would buy it.

Dog Hand
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April 25th, 2021 at 12:12:36 PM permalink
I don't peek ahead; each morning I turn the page to see what baseball players are on the birthday list for the new day. It's like opening a box of chocolates.

April 25 has 61 players, but 38 of them are pitchers. I never realized how many pitchers MLB runs through. And as I scanned the list, my heart sunk. I had enough diversity in positions to put a team together but what a team! I think I have a total of one position player (Jimmy Brown) who has made an MLB All-Star Team - and that was once, in 1942 during World War II - when most major league players were serving in the military. This April 25 team has only 5 players (from 61 possibilities) who have more than 18 career home runs.

So this is a bad birthdate team. Its best pitcher by far is Russ Ford but he was the inventor of the emery pitch and secretly used it to achieve his pitching record before it's nature was uncovered and the pitch was banned. The rest of the team lacks star-power and the bottom of the line-up is terribly weak.

However, this team is redeemed by some very colorful players. Read on.

April 25

Lineup
1. Jimmy Brown, 2B (1937- 1946) WAR= 9.9
2. Fred Haney, 3B (1922- 1929) WAR= 9.5
3. Tony Phillips, LF (1999-2008) WAR= 50.9
4. Roberto/Bobby Estalella, CF (1935-1949) WAR = 8.5
5. Jacque Jones, RF (1999 -2008) WAR= 11.6
6. Danny Espinosa, SS (2010-2017) WAR= 8.5
7. Joe Hague, DH (1968-1971) WAR= 1.9
8. Erik Pappas, C (1991-1994) WAR= 0.4
9. Chuck Harrison 1B (1965 -1971 ) WAR =-0.4

Pitching Staff
Russ Ford, (1909-1915) 100 - 71, WAR= 33.9
Connie Marrero, (1950-1954) 39 - 40, WAR= 8.6
Roy Parmalee, (1929-1939) 59-55, WAR= 3.2
Bob Johnson, (1969-1977) 68-91, WAR= 6.4
Trevor Williams, (2016-2021) 36-30, WAR= 5.1
Reliever
J. P. Howell, (2005-2017) 36-30, 22 saves, WAR=7.8

Bench
Robert Andino, 2b, SS, 3B (2005 - 2016) WAR= 1.9
Tom Quinn, C (1886-1890) WAR= -1.2



Roy Parmalee His catcher with the Giants, Gus Mancuso, said “Parmelee had as much stuff as any four or five pitchers put together, but he didn’t know where it was going.” He was a real-life version of WIld Thing in the film Major League. Think Nolan Ryan in his rookie year. Think Randy Johnson throwing over the head of John Kruk. Batters would put the bat on their shoulder and wait to be walked. James Isaminger of the Philadelphia Inquirer said Parmelee “walked everybody in baseball except Judge Landis.”

As a raw rookie with the Toledo Mud Hens in 1929, he was coached by Casey Stengel. Stengel set about to teach Parmalee a pick-off move. The first time Parmalee tried it in a game, he made a thunderous throw to first base and hit the runner squarely in the chest, who collapsed in a heap. The first baseman picked up the ball, bent over and tagged the man lying stunned on the ground. “You have it down perfect.” Stengel told Parmalee.

In four and a half years as a full-time starter, Parmalee led the National League in walks once, in hit batsmen 4 times and in wild pitches twice. But, he won more often than he lost and was very good when his control was on.

Parmalee may be the only player who played under Casey Stengel, John McGraw and Connie Mack. But apparently even that was not enough coaching horsepower to straighten out his pitching problems.

Connie Marrero Connie was the Cuban version of Satchel Paige. The 5'5" roly-poly pitcher was a legend known in Cuba as El Premier and El Curveador before he signed with the Washington Senators and made his major league debut at the age of 39. His strength was a bewildering array of off-speed pitches and slicing curve-balls.

Marrero used a double or triple windmill windup that once left Eddie Joost so angry that he literally jumped up and down in the batter's box while screaming obscenities. Felipe Alou was later to say “Connie Marrero had a windup that looked like a cross between a windmill gone berserk and a mallard duck trying to fly backwards,” A baseball writer described his delivery differently, as “an orangutan heaving a 16-pound shot put.” Marrero himself once described his delivery as throwing everything but his cigar at the batter.

After Marrero threw a four-hit shut-out at the St. Louis Browns, their manager - none other than Rogers Hornsby - dismissively told the press that he had batting-practice pitchers with more stuff than Connie Marrero. When the press told Connie of Hornsby's statement, he calmly replied, “Thees is good, maybe they should peetch in a game.”

Marrero's first time pitching to Ted Williams became a minor legend. When Williams stepped up to the plate, Marrero called time and waved his catcher to the mound and asked him whether this was really Ted Williams. The confused catcher assured him it was and Marrero was quoted as saying “Eef eet eesn’t him, I no geev him my best peetch.” The catcher, Al Evans, told Marrero to pitch nothing but outside fastballs. Marrero nodded his head and proceeded to throw only slow curve-balls and struck out Williams on four pitches.

Later, that season, Marrero approached Williams before a game and asked him to sign a baseball that he had used to strike him out. A bit annoyed, Williams complied with the request. Later during the game, Williams hit a tremendous home run off of Marrero. As he rounded third-base he looked towards the mound and shouted “Why don’t you see if you can find that one and I’ll sign IT for you too!.” In retirement, Marrereo enjoyed telling this story over and over again. He died -on April 23, 2014 -two days before his 103rd birthday.

Roberto/Bobby Estallela This is the Cuban Bobby Estallela who played in the late 30s and 40s for the three worst teams of that era - the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia Athletics - and became one of baseball's most popular players. There is a long, interesting article about Estalella here: Bobby Estalella .

The legend of Estallela is that he never wore shoes until he was 11 years old. He was sent money to join the Class AA Albany club and traveled by boat from Cuba to Key West. He spoke no English and knew nothing about the U.S. With a piece of paper that said only "Albany New York. Please deliver to the baseball park” he managed to travel across the country to his destination. When he arrived in Albany the manager treated him to a breakfast of ham and eggs. Innocently, he proceeded to have ham and eggs for every meal for several days, because he knew nothing else to do.

In September 1935, Estalella made his MLB debut with the Senators. In 15 games he hit .314/.485/.471 and became a fan favorite. His position was third base and reportedly he used every part of his anatomy except his gloved hand to stop balls. His defense kept him in the minors for most of a few years and he eventually was traded to the Browns. With the start of WWII the Senators reacquired him because -on a temporary visa as an entertainer -he could not be drafted. He was shifted to CF and became a star.

“Estalella, a squatty number built closer to the ground than a flat tire, wields one of the few big bats on the weak-hitting Washington squad. Bobby is the club’s ‘chatter guy" said one contemporaneous reporter. Estalella was flamboyant, exuberant and charismatic and he put people in the stands. His career stats are .282/.383/.421. He left MLB to join the Mexican League in 1946 and only reappeared briefly in 1949. On the JAWS rankings, he is ranked as the 213th best Center Fielder of all time.

Tony Phillips He played 18 years, and for a period of several years he was a productive starter for the Tigers. He played for 9 teams in his career, but his employers would persistently seek to "upgrade his position" by acquiring an established quality player to replace him. Philips eventually adopted the unusual uniform number of 73, because he became tired of being asked to give up his number to newly acquired players.

Among players who played in the all-star era and have never made an All Star team, Phillips is the all-time leader in games played and plate appearances.

The overarching picture is that he was a fairly good player who, for whatever reason, was not highly valued by his clubs and peers.

Russ Ford Russ Ford invented the Emery pitch. He kept an emery board hidden in his glove and scraped up the baseball on one side, causing it to curve at odd angles depending upon how he threw it. He kept his use of an emery board a secret from everyone using elaborate contrivances to hide it. He would make a big show of licking his fingers before he threw so that batters would assume he was throwing a spitball. He talked in the press about how he had 23 different spitball pitches, In his first full year, playing for the 1910 New York Highlanders, Ford won 26 games with only 6 losses; in 1911 he went 22-11, By 1913 the secret was out and the pitch was banned. Ford moved to the Federal League and went 21-6 in 1914, but in 1915 the Federal League banned it as well. Without his emery pitch Ford was ineffective and his career soon ended.

Advantage Player or Cheater? The accounts indicated that Ford did quite a bit of work for over two years in testing different ways of affecting a baseball surface and trajectory when thrown. The methods he discovered were otherwise unknown, so there was no restriction against them. But his elaborate deceptions clearly imply that he knew that his pitch would be banned if it's real nature became known. There's a good argument for excluding him from this April 25 team because he could only be a dominant pitcher in that one specific time period.

Tom Quinn When I have at least two catchers to choose from, I like to include a back-up catcher on the roster. So, I included Tom Quinn here. In 422 AB, he posted a slash of .185/.259/.232. It was the 1880's but I wonder if he deserves to be in the conversation for all-time worst career batting record?
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Apr 25, 2021
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
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April 26th, 2021 at 2:03:28 PM permalink
From the ridiculous (April 25) to the sublime (April 26). Of the seven birthdates I've looked at so far, this is the best team by far. Finally!

And yet, most of the stars of this team have in common a record of unrealized potential. But, as counterpoint, there is a little-known player on this team who fully realized all of his potential and became one of the stars of the deadball era; a player that history has seemingly lost.

Here's the April 26 birthdate team.

April 26

Lineup
1. Amos Otis, CF (1967- 1984) WAR= 42.8
2. Dale Alexander, 1B (1929- 1933) WAR= 13.8
3. Hack Wilson, LF (1923-1934) WAR= 38.2
4. Aaron Judge, RF (2016-2021) WAR = 20.3
5. Ron Northey, DH (1942 -1957) WAR= 13.3
6. Joe Crede, 3B (2000-2009) WAR= 14.7
7. Granny Hamner, 2B (1944-1962) WAR= 19.1
8. Jack Barry, SS (1908-1919) WAR= 8.5
9. Whitey Ritterson C (1876 ) WAR = -0.3

Pitching Staff
Virgil Trucks, (1941-1958) 177 - 135, WAR= 40.5
Ray Caldwell, (1910-1921) 134 - 120, WAR= 36.3
Sal Maglie (1945-1958) 119-62, WAR= 30.5
Mike Scott, (1979-1993) 124-108, WAR= 22.7
Brian Anderson, (1993-2005) 82-83, WAR= 10
Reliever
Shawn Kelley, (2009-2019) 32-35, 26 saves, WAR= 4.2

Bench
Sean Rodriguez, IF, OF, 1B (2008 - 2020) WAR= 9.0
Steve Lombardozzi, 2B (1985-1990) WAR= 4.4
Kosuke Fukudome, C (2008- 2012) WAR= -1.2
Geoff Blum, IF (1999-2012) WAR= 3.3
Nate Smith, C (1962) WAR= 0.0

Amos Otis Originally labeled as "untouchable" by the Mets organization, they inexplicably traded him and another player to the expansion Royals for Joe Foy. This was the first of three terrible trades by the Mets in the period in the two years after they won the 1969 World Series that crippled the team. (The other two were trading away Nolan Ryan and Ken Singleton and getting essentially nothing.) Otis was a very good player for a long time; baseball analyst Bill James wrote that Otis was one of his favorite players. "Famous Amos" was the player who made the one-hop throw to the plate on the play in the World Series All-Star Game in which Pete Rose crashed into Ray Fosse.

Dale Alexander A great natural hitter for Detroit, though he lacked home run power. He won an AL batting championship and his career slash is .331/.391/.512. His career was cut short after 5 years when his right leg was burned by a trainer who was using a "deep heat" treatment. The leg became permanently discolored and shriveled and Alexander's career was finished.

Hack Wilson You can't read two sentences about Hack Wilson without being told he was an alcoholic (including here, lol.) But he was an incredible hitter for five years from 1926-1930, leading the NL in home runs 4 times and RBIs twice. Of course his 1930 season was undeniable: 56 home runs and 191 RBIs. Additionally, he lost a home run and RBI in 1930 when he hit a ball into the stands that bounced back onto the field, the umpires missed it and ruled it was still in play. Wilson claimed that he never played a game drunk, just hung-over. His manager was Joe McCarthy who frequently bailed Wilson out of jail and was quoted as saying " “What could a manager say to such a loyal player who had a weakness he could not handle?"

After 1930, McCarty left to manage the Yankees and the Cubs hired Rogers Hornsby as manager. Hornsby hated the hard-drinking, partying Hack Wilson. In turn, Wilson grew to hate Hornsby as well. Wilson went into his decline and was traded for a minor-league pitcher after the 1931 season. He started to gain weight and began to look much older than his age. We all know that this story did not end well.

Wilson was a center fielder for 904 games, but is known for two defensive misplays in the 1930 World Series. For the April 26 team, I put him in left field, where he did play 204 games, in order to make room for Amos Otis in center.

Aaron Judge Judge has played 3 full seasons and a total of 64 games in three other seasons. His career slash is .289/.389/.553. That OBP and SLG is nearly identical to Hack Wilson's, though his batting average is 30 points lower. But, like Dale Alexander and Hack Wilson, his greatness is based on performance over a short period of time. He was not a principal contributor to the Yankees in 2019 and 2020 due in large part to a fractured rib, and he's off to a slow start in 2021. Clearly he's a great player, and I'm betting on him to return to form.

Virgil Trucks In 1938, pitching for a Class D minor league club, a 20-year-old Trucks struck out 418 batters, pitched two no-hitters and had 25 wins with an ERA of 1.25. I wonder why in bloody hell was Trucks allowed to spend that entire season in Class D and why it took Detroit 4 years - until the last few days of the 1941 season - to get him to the majors. In his first full season in 1942, at the age of 25, he went 14-6. He won 16 games in 1943 before he went into the Navy. He missed 1944 and almost all of 1945 only getting into a few games at the end of the season. In 1949, he led the American League in shutouts and strikeouts while winning 19 games and finishing 3rd in ERA.

In the 1952 season, at the age of 35, he threw two no- hitters and one one-hitter while going 5-19 for a Detroit team that went 50-109. He was traded to the 1953 St Louis Browns where he went 5-4 for a team that was 54-100. In 1954 (at the age of 37) he played for a good Chicago White Sox and went 15-6 and made the All-star team for only the 2nd time.

He had a great fastball and knew how to pitch but was wasted playing in the minors for four years and then had his career interrupted by WWII (not being able to play when he was 27-28 years old.) He had more bad luck by pitching for some terrible teams for a few years. I think he was probably a great pitcher and his stats would have been much better if life had only treated him fairly. But, as we all know, life is not fair.

Sal Maglie He was called "The Barber" because of his tendency to threw hard and inside, by a batter's chin. His countenance had a mean look to it, but in his personal life he was reportedly a very nice person. In 1946, the Mexican League was created as a rival to MLB. Maglie was one of 16 players who jumped out of American professional baseball into the Mexican League, where he played for 2 years. Commissioner Landis banned Maglie for 5 years as punishment, so Maglie did not return to MLB until 1950. This is another pitcher whose major league statistics would have been much better, except for circumstances.

Ray Caldwell In March 1915, the Washington Senators offered to trade Walter Johnson to the new owners of the New York Yankees for Roy Caldwell - a straight-up swap of the two pitchers. The Yankees turned the offer down! That's how highly the Yankees regard Caldwell! He was a dominating pitcher with amazing stuff. In 1914, Caldwell started the season with three consecutive shutouts. Incredibly, in April 1915, Caldwell hit three home runs on three consecutive days -once in a game in which he was the starting pitcher, and the other two days as a pinch-hitter. This, during the dead-ball era.

Yet, he was also a hard-drinker who liked to party and he had multiple scrapes with the law. In 1919, he left the Yankees in August during a pennant run without explaining his absence (he checked into a hospital for treatment of his alcoholism.) By August 19 1920 he returned to baseball, signing with the Cleveland Indians -it was heralded as his last chance in MLB. Five days later, in Cleveland on August 24, 1920, Caldwell led the Philadelphia Athletics by a score of 2-1, with two outs in the ninth when he was hit by lightning while standing on the mound! He was knocked unconscious. He was allowed to regain consciousness and then to continue pitching. He got the last out for a complete game and a win. The newspapers went crazy over this. Then, on September 10, Ray tossed a 3-0 no-hitter against his old team, the New York Yankees. Ray Caldwell seemed to be back!

Yet, in 1921, Caldwell kept 'breaking the team rules' and his effectiveness became highly variable. He was cut from the Indians and no other major league team would hire him ever again. He spent the next 14 years pitching for minor league teams. Overall, he won over 300 games in his career, but only 133 games in the majors, He had been expected to become the next Walter Johnson or Christy Mathewson but his many wild escapades and his alcoholism did him in.

Jack Barry The best shortstop that nobody knows anything about. He was a brainy hard-working (non-drinking) player who was a light hitter but excelled at defense and as a clutch hitter. He was part of Connie Mack's famous $100,000 infield for the Athletics: Stuffy McInnis at first, Eddie Collins at 2B, Frank Home-Run Baker at 3B and Jack Barry at SS. His range at SS was so great that Baker shifted closer to the line and Collins shifted closer to 1B. In Barry's career he batted only .243 with 10 homers so he has been overlooked. But look at what his contemporaries said about him:

- Philadelphia Inquirer writer Edgar Wolfe, in 1913, “Barry is the weakest hitter of the quartet, but his hits are always timely and his sensational fielding is something that cannot be computed in cold, soulless figures.”

- Ty Cobb: "the most feared hitter on the A’s "

- Hughie Jennings: “I’d rather have Barry than any .400 hitter in the business. . . In a pinch he hits better than anybody in our league outside of Cobb.”

- Stony McLinn of the Philadelphia Press: “If Barry’s batting average was only .119 and a hit was needed to win a game for the Athletics, it’s a cinch that 99 percent of the fans would rather have Barry at bat than any other man on Mack’s payroll,”

In the 1910 World Series against the Cubs, Eddie Collins batted .429, Home Run Baker .409, and Jack Barry .235. But several members of the Cubs said it was Barry who beat them with his glove, and Cubs manager Frank Chance called him the best shortstop he had ever seen, including Honus Wagner.

In 1917, he was the player-manager of the Boston Red Sox who he managed to a 2nd place finish.

Isn't it a shame that history has overlooked Jack Barry? Statistics don't seem to measure his greatness and his clutch hitting, but if I were to pick a captain for this April 26 team, it would be Jack Barry, hands down.
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Apr 26, 2021
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Hunterhill
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April 26th, 2021 at 2:59:59 PM permalink
I’m really enjoying this thread, thanks Gordon.
One minor note I think Pete Rose barreled into Fosse in the All star game not the World Series.
If it had been the series it might have been more understandable but during a meaningless All star game I thought it was a foolish play.
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billryan
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April 26th, 2021 at 3:22:37 PM permalink
Quote: Hunterhill

I’m really enjoying this thread, thanks Gordon.
One minor note I think Pete Rose barreled into Fosse in the All star game not the World Series.
If it had been the series it might have been more understandable but during a meaningless All star game I thought it was a foolish play.



It might have seemed like a meaningless game, but who knows how much Pete had on the game?
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Hunterhill
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April 26th, 2021 at 4:08:49 PM permalink
Quote: billryan

It might have seemed like a meaningless game, but who knows how much Pete had on the game?

Ha that’s a good point lol.
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gordonm888
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April 26th, 2021 at 4:45:46 PM permalink
Quote: Hunterhill

I’m really enjoying this thread, thanks Gordon.
One minor note I think Pete Rose barreled into Fosse in the All star game not the World Series.
If it had been the series it might have been more understandable but during a meaningless All star game I thought it was a foolish play.



Thanks, I fixed that in the text.
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April 26th, 2021 at 5:06:03 PM permalink
It took me 7 hours to research and write the April 26 post, and I could have done more research and written more. As an analyst, I would have liked to dig into the numbers more on Virgil Trucks, and Jack Barry - and even Roy Caldwell. The 400+ batters that Trucks struck-out in one season in D league is the all-time record at any level of professional (since 1887 before which the game gets different.) Given that minor league seasons are shorter than the majors, how did Trucks do that? Almost, 14 strikeouts a game for each of 30 games? Which is amazing even if he pitched 30/30 as complete games.

I would have liked to probe whether there are any statistical indications that Jack Barry was as good defensively and in the clutch as people say he was.

I would even like to go back and look at Taylor Douthit and see if I can find any other factors that might explain why he was able to make so many outfield putouts in a single season.

But what is really amazing to me is the high density of interesting stories I've uncovered, often on players that I have barely (or never) heard of. Writing this last post actually has affected me emotionally.

I plan to do the April 27 post tomorrow, and then I will evaluate what to do. It's too much to do this everyday for so many hours a day just for the love of writing and baseball. I need time to think and to be self-aware.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
DRich
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April 26th, 2021 at 6:44:26 PM permalink
Quote: billryan

It might have seemed like a meaningless game, but who knows how much Pete had on the game?



Awesome
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gordonm888
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April 27th, 2021 at 2:16:08 PM permalink
Well on April 27, my first decision was easy. I put Rogers Hornsby at 2B and batted him third in the lineup.

Here's the April 27 birthdate team.

April 27

Lineup
1. Hy Myers, CF (1909- 1924) WAR= 8.6
2. Enos Slaughter, RF (1938- 1959) WAR= 57.1__HOF
3. Rogers Hornsby, 2B (1915-1937) WAR= 126.9___HOF
4. Willie Upshaw, 1B (1978-1988) WAR = 13.0
5. Corey Seagar,, SS (2015 -2021) WAR= 18.1
6. Frank Catalanotto, LF (2000-2009) WAR= 14.5
7. J. D. Davis, DH (2017-2021) WAR= 1.0
8. Pedro Feliz, 3B (1908-1919) WAR= 5.6
9. Tony Eusebio C (1991-2001 ) WAR = 4.5

Pitching Staff
Chris Carpenter, (1997-2012) 144 - 94, WAR= 34.2
Allen Sothorton, (1914-1926) 91 - 99, WAR= 13.3
George Winter, (1901-1908) 83-102, WAR= 11
John Whitehead (1935-1942) 49-54, WAR= 10.8
Runelvys Hernandez, (1997-2012) 144-94, WAR= 3.3

Bench
Joey Gathrights, OF (2004 - 2011) WAR= 2.2

Players with an April 27 birthdate were a little sparse, but there were just enough decent players to fill out the above roster and happily, they were perfectly distributed into the defensive positions. I struggled with whether Upshaw or Seagar should bat clean-up. I believed Seagar is definitely the better player but at this point in time Upshaw has shown more power. I also wish I could have found a better 9th player to bat DH than J.D. Davis, although I notice that Davis has had a hot start in 2021. I hope he makes my choice of him for DH look good.

Rogers Hornsby Did Hornsby benefit from playing most of his career in Sportman's Park and Wrigley Field, which are reputed to be two of the most favorable parks ever for hitters? Here are Hornsby's batting average, split into home and away, for the years he played full-time
Year
Club
Home BA
Away BA
1916
Stl NL
.338
.291
1917
Stl NL
.322
.339
1918
Stl NL
.249
.312
1919
Stl NL
.344
.293
1920
Stl NL
.338
.291
1921
Stl NL
.338
.291
1922
Stl NL
.403
.400
1923
Stl NL
.402
.373
1924
Stl NL
.469
.370
1925
Stl NL
.478
.332
1925
Stl NL
.297
.337
1927
NYG
.348
.375
1928
Bos NL
.372
.401
1929
ChC
.355
.408
1930
ChC
.250
.375
1931
ChC
.263
.392
1932
ChC
.275
.111


The effect of banning the spitball and implementing a policy of repeatedly putting new balls into a game (In 1920 and 1921) is obvious in Hornsby's stats. Hornsby's first marriage was falling apart from 1920 to 1922, partly because he was having an affair with another woman. In 1923 Hornsby got divorced, as did the other woman. Hornsby and the other woman got married before the 1924 season and reportedly he transitioned from domestic Hell to domestic bliss. His home batting averages during those years appear to track his domestic situation. Perhaps newly-found wedded bliss was the secret ingredient that helped Hornsby to his 1924 and 1925 seasons in which he batted .469 and .478 at home.

It's a mystery to me why Hornsby's home batting averages were so poor in Wrigley Field after he was traded to the Cubs. I've never heard any baseball writer address this.

Hornsby was a difficult person and not much liked by his teammates, or by the players who he managed. He was hyper-focused on hitting, and incredibly blunt to the point of being nasty. Hornsby had “the coldest eyes I ever saw,” said Billy Herman who played for Hornsby when he managed the Cubs. Cardinals owner Sam Breadon was once quoted as saying that listening to Hornsby was like have the contents of a rock crusher emptied over his head. In 1927, after Hornsby had been traded to NY, a sportswriter asked him if he thought the Giants could win the pennant. “Not with Farrell playing shortstop,” was his answer. So, understandably, Hornsby was a bit of a loner on his teams.

Hornsby didn't care much about defense. He led the league in most errors at his position a number of times. But he averaged .403 over a five year period. In 1922 he won the triple crown in a dominating manner: he won the batting championship by almost 50 points, he hit the most home runs by a margin of 16, he led the league in RBIs by 20, his 250 hits were 35 more than the second best guy and his .722 slugging percentage was the highest in the league by .150 points. He was injured in 1923 resulting in a dip in his production (to a batting average of .384!) but in 1924 he batted .424 and in 1925 he won the triple crown for a second time . He was a different kind of hitter than Babe Ruth in that he hit towards the outfield gaps but he dominated almost as much as the Babe.

Enos Slaughter With the score tied in the bottom of the eighth inning of the seventh game of the 1946 World Series, Enos Slaughter started from first base and ran through the stop sign given by his third-base coach and scored from first on an ordinary single by teammate Harry Walker, He was always a very fast runner, and was reported to be even faster after returning from 3 years in the military. His memorable base-running feat was aided by an injury to Boston CF Dom DiMaggio in the top of the 8th inning that left a substitute in CF to field Harry Walker's hit.

Slaughter became known for that play, called the "Mad Dash." After he retired in 1959, he eventually acquired the reputation as the most deserving MLB player that had been left out of the Hall of Fame. He was continuously discussed in the baseball media as being unjustly excluded until 1985, when the Veteran's Committee finally put him into the Hall of Fame. Ironically, since then - without the HOF controversy to keep him in the public eye - Slaughter has progressively slipped into obscurity!

He had 2380 hits despite missing three prime years in WWII and his lifetime batting average over 19 years was .300. Casey Stengel said about Slaughter, "One of the best. He'd do anything to beat you."

Allen Sothorton He was sometimes referred to as "Southern" in the newspapers. Maybe they had spell-check back then? Hilariously, his baseball nickname became "Dixie" because his teammates thought he was from the South. He was from Ohio.

Sothorton was a brainy spit-ball pitcher who invented and used a number of tricky deliveries. In his second start in the majors he narrowly missed a no-hitter and settled for a one-hit shutout. His rookie season ERA was 2.83, and the following year (1918) his ERA plummeted to 1.94, third best in the league. But he pitched for the St. Louis Browns and offensive support and Wins were hard to come by. In 1919, he won 20 games and had a 2.20 ERA. However, in February 1920, MLB banned both the spitball and so-called "freak deliveries." Sothorton would sometimes cut the baseball with a razor to enable him to throw pitches that 'sailed' but inspections of the ball were also stepped up in frequency. In some games the opposing team challenged almost every pitch he threw to the umpires. His performance dropped off significantly from 1920 on.

But a career-long problem with fielding bunts finally did in his career. Pitching for Cleveland in a tight game in 1920, Sothorton fielded a bunt and threw it into the stands. He developed a mental block about throwing to first, and teams began mounting concerted bunting attacks against him. His wild heaves to first rattled Sotherton and often caused an early exit. In 1925 his fielding average was .864 and dropped to .778 in 1926. He could still pitch the occasional brilliant game but as a pitcher he literally was bunted out of baseball.

He pitched for the St Louis Browns and has now faded into obscurity, If anything, he may be remembered for this line in a newspaper article written by Bob Baer:

“Allen S. Sothoron pitched his initials off yesterday.”
Last edited by: gordonm888 on Apr 27, 2021
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
PokerGrinder
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April 27th, 2021 at 4:02:57 PM permalink
Loving this thread. Just a typo, you have Slaughters wrong years played in the lineup.
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gordonm888
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April 27th, 2021 at 5:11:51 PM permalink
Quote: PokerGrinder

Loving this thread. Just a typo, you have Slaughters wrong years played in the lineup.



Holy crap, people are actually looking at this stuff???

Thanks, I corrected it in the post.
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PokerGrinder
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April 27th, 2021 at 5:42:05 PM permalink
Well I’m a baseball nut job so you’ll have at least one reader every day.

In all seriousness this is a book that you should write.
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gordonm888
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April 28th, 2021 at 3:35:59 PM permalink
Quote: PokerGrinder

Well I’m a baseball nut job so you’ll have at least one reader every day.

In all seriousness this is a book that you should write.



I've exchanged messages with Mike S. (the Wizard) and he has graciously removed any concerns about WOV copyright issues. So I think I will take a shot at making this into a book. I'm working to expand my baseball history resources on-line and in my private library and I'll be upgrading a bit what I've already written and doing many more birthdates.

How to structure the notional book? 365 days x 4-8 pages/day is way too many pages for a single volume book, so I probably can't cover the entire year. Maybe I should concentrate on a 3-month season? Or even a single month, with more discussion of the players, for a slimmer less expensive book? Or should I do a non-sequential "best birthdates" book? Is the audience die-hard baseball fans? Yes, I think so. But I do need to make it more accessible to average people. My wife read this thread and was furious that she didn't understand what 422 AB meant. I sheepishly explained that it was 422 at bats.

I picked a good point to pause. April 28 has no catcher so their is no viable line-up to make from it. I need to figure out what to do about that kind of birthdate.

Thank you for your interest and support. I welcome any suggestions or opinions.
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Hunterhill
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April 28th, 2021 at 3:46:24 PM permalink
Well I guess you could include players from the Negro leagues. But I still didn’t find you a catcher for today’s roster.
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DRich
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April 28th, 2021 at 4:40:27 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888


How to structure the notional book? 365 days x 4-8 pages/day is way too many pages for a single volume book, so I probably can't cover the entire year. Maybe I should concentrate on a 3-month season?



Maybe just form it around baseball season of April to September.
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