Comments on: Karstens throws an 83-pitch shutout; Pirates alone in 1st place This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Autin Wed, 20 Jul 2011 04:07:42 +0000 JT, I have not heard the allegations you referenced about the 1914 World Series. Can you point me to a source?

As far as Mr. Mack's first great player sale, I don't think I agree with that characterization.

First ... As I understand it, Mack just couldn't handle the salary escalation and competition for fan attendance that had been brought by the Federal League. In 1914, as you know, the A's won their 4th pennant in 5 years, but their attendance fell to 5th in the AL, less than 4,500 per game. When pitchers Eddie Plank and Chief Bender jumped to the Federal League in early December 1914, I think that was the impetus for whatever else Mack did that year.

It's true that Eddie Collins was sold to the White Sox just a few days later. But I can't find evidence of a large-scale sale:

-- 3B Home Run Baker sat out the 1915 season in a contract dispute, then was sold to the Yanks for 1916. (I'm not sure why he wasn't a free agent, but never mind that.)

-- SS Jack Barry (certainly the least valuable of the famed "$100,000 Infield") was sold to the Red Sox midway through the 1915 season. B-R doesn't have the dollar amount, but if you look at the rest of Barry's career, it looks like Mack won that deal regardless.

-- C Wally Schang, 1B Stuffy McInnis and CF Amos Strunk stayed through 1917.

-- OF Rube Oldring stayed through 1915, was released during the '16 season and did very little the rest of his career.

-- OF Eddie Murphy, a good young hitter in 1913-14, hit terribly for the A's in the first half of 1915, then was sold to the White Sox and hit brilliantly the rest of the year. (Murphy couldn't stay healthy; he never again played 100 games, and was done before he turned 30.)

-- OF Jimmy Walsh, a good reserve in '14, stayed through 1915 but didn't hit much, and was traded late in 1916.

-- P Bob Shawkey (not yet a star) pitched poorly in the first half of 1915 and was sold to the Yankees for a mere $3,500.

-- P Bullet Joe Bush stayed through 1917 and pitched well the latter 2 years, then was "traded" (sold) to the Red Sox along with Schang and Strunk.

-- P Herb Pennock, still very green and years from stardom, pitched horribly early in 1915 and was put on waivers, whence the Red Sox claimed him. He didn't blossom until 1919.

-- P Rube Bressler was a successful 19-year-old rookie in 1914. He stayed with the A's, but his pitching went south, and by 1917 he was back in the minors, whence the Red took him in the Rule 5 draft; his conversion to successful hitter took until 1921.

I know I'm not deeply versed in the details of the first A's dynasty, but it doesn't really look like a "fire sale" to me. Can you add anything?

By: Johnny Twisto Wed, 20 Jul 2011 02:40:26 +0000 The '03 Giants received an influx of former Baltimore Orioles, including of course manager John McGraw.

The '15 Athletics were the victims of Connie Mack's first great player sale, both to raise funds and (perhaps) because the '14 team had thrown the Series.

The '80 Athletics got a cultural overhaul from Billy Martin.

Top of my head, not sure why the D-Backs improved so much in those seasons.

By: Kahuna Tuna Tue, 19 Jul 2011 20:28:06 +0000 Stan (##10, 16, 24): Early last season, I began tracking the 2010 Pirates' game results because I was interested in two things: first, how well they played against the Cubs versus how poorly they played against every other team, and second, how lopsided their Pythagorean record was compared to their actual record because they were losing nearly all the blowouts.

Predictably, both topics became less extreme as the season wore on. The Cubs topic became a complete non-issue. The Pythagorean-vs.-actual gap tailed off sharply in the second half, too, as the Pirates began to win a more normal proportion of one-run games and blowouts. Pittsburgh's 30-52 first-half record was more than seven games better than its Pythagorean record of 22.8-59.2. If you're losing all the blowouts, you're a historically bad team, and last year's Pirates certainly appeared to be heading in that direction. The team's record to that point in games decided by five or more runs was 2-23; in games decided by four or fewer runs, it was 28-29.

The Pirates' actual second-half record of 27-53 was 3½ games worse than its 30.5-49.5 Pythagorean record. The team's record in ≥5/≤4 games went from 2-23/28-29 to 9-16/18-37. They were a normal bad team, with better offense and better pitching than the first-half team but a worse actual record because they were playing in a bit of bad luck. Jeff Karstens' 2010 stats show a similar pattern: first half, 2-4, 4.87 ERA; second half, 1-6, 5.00 ERA, but an improvement over the first half in H/9, HR/9, BB/9, SO/9, and WHIP.

So it was apparent in the second half of 2010 that the Pirates were improving. Improving this much? Well, no . . . not that I could see, anyway. Then again, I live in San Diego, and the very same thing happened to our 2010 team that is happening to the 2011 Pirates.

The Pirates were minus 1.8 runs per game last year and are slightly positive this year. . . dramatic and perhaps unprecendented improvement.

Dramatic, yes, but not quite unprecedented. The 1999 Diamondbacks went from -147 (-0.9 R/G) to +232 (+1.4 R/G) for a season-over-season improvement of 2.34 R/G. (The 1902-03 Giants improved even a bit more, +2.55 R/G, but that was so long ago it's of questionable value now.) The largest season-over-season improvement in the AL was the 1979-80 A's, +2.04 R/G. Only one major-league team has ever dropped by more than 2.1 R/G from one season to the next: The 1914-15 Philadelphia Athletics, -3.70 R/G (yikes!).

By: Voomo Zanzibar Mon, 18 Jul 2011 21:20:58 +0000 I once traded a 1970 Hank Allen baseball card for three Canseco donruss rookies to a not-quite-literate kid on my block who i convinced it was Hank Aaron.

By: Daily Links – The Sixteen Inning Blues Edition | Red Sox Hub Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:20:40 +0000 [...] this reads like something from The [...]

By: John Autin Mon, 18 Jul 2011 04:03:26 +0000 DoubleDiamond, great idea!
But can't we squeeze Henry "Aron" into the mix somehow?

By: DoubleDiamond Mon, 18 Jul 2011 03:47:12 +0000 We have to find some way to pair up Alex Presley with Elvis Andrus. Since they are both position players, we can't likely have one homering off the other (unless the other makes a Wilson Valdez type of appearance) like Neil Walker becoming the 2nd player to homer off Thomas Diamond. Neil Walker and Thomas Diamond were picked back to back in the 1st round of the 2004 baseball draft, and I had been waiting for them to have some kind of encounter.

By: Voomo Zanzibar Sun, 17 Jul 2011 16:22:10 +0000 @40,
Nothing to add, that sounds about right.
I dont understand the subtle politics of 'saying the right things" be it in a major league clubhouse or in real life. Glad to see that both Kennedy and Karstens are doing well.

By: Johnny Twisto Sun, 17 Jul 2011 06:08:03 +0000 JA/39, I did, and gave it a cheer. Seemed like a tough play made to look easy, but I don't remember seeing any replays showing where he was set up or his route. (Of course, if he was set up right where the ball landed, maybe that's just brilliant positioning......)

By: Johnny Twisto Sun, 17 Jul 2011 06:05:20 +0000 For the record, as best I remember, Ian Kennedy's great sin as a Yankee was refusing to acknowledge he had pitched terribly when he had a bad result. He said something along the lines that he had made good pitches which got hit and just had some bad luck. Hopefully Voomo can supplement or correct that. I don't remember seeing the game(s) in question. But failing to "take responsibility" for his suckage would not be accepted by the NYC tabloids. Or, I guess, the Yankees themselves. A lot of times, I hate everything about the organization except the 9 guys on the field.

Anyway, I don't know if Kennedy would have succeeded as Yankee as he seems to be doing in Arizona, but I hadn't given up on him.