Posts Tagged ‘Bill Dahlen’

1908: Rucker’s Gem

September 5, 2018

Nap Rucker

In an otherwise dreadful season, Brooklyn had one ray of sunshine in 1908. On 5 September, Nap Rucker, their best pitcher, tossed a no hitter against Boston.

Rucker’s gem was game two of a Saturday double-header (Brooklyn lost game one). The Superbas (that’s Brooklyn) sent him to the mound with a 14-14 record. He’d pitched well but hadn’t gotten a lot of support from his hitters. The Boston Doves (who are now in Atlanta) parried with Patrick “Patsy” Flaherty, who was 10-14.

Brooklyn put up four runs in the second inning and two more in the eighth to post six runs. Clean up hitting first baseman Tim Jordan went three for three with two runs scored and an RBI and an eighth inning solo home run (his ninth of what would be a league leading 12). Second baseman Whitey Alperman had two hits and scored two runs, while catcher Bill Bergen knocked in two with a second inning double. Rucker, meanwhile struck out 14 while walking none.

The Doves (don’t you just love that nickname?) took advantage of three Brooklyn errors to put men on base, but had no hits. Shortstop Bill Dahlen struck out three times in as many trips to the plate. Flaherty allowed eight hits, walked two, and struck out two.

Flaherty ended the season 12-18 with more walks than strikeouts, while Rucker went 17-19 with a 2.08 ERA,199 strikeouts, and a league leading 125 walks. At the end of the day Boston would was 52-72 and in sixth place. Brooklyn, after this day was 44-78 and in seventh place (next-to-last), 31 games out of first.

It was a long season for both teams, but at least Brooklyn had a no-hitter to its credit.


The 2015 Veteran’s Committee Election: the Everyday Players

October 14, 2015

Continuing along with my look at the people appearing on this year’s Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee ballot, here’s the four everyday players.

Dahlen while with Brooklyn

Dahlen while with Brooklyn

Bill Dahlen played shortstop for the Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, and Braves between 1891 and 1911 inclusive. He was one of the better fielding shortstops of his era, an era noted for lousy fields, gloves that were a joke, and lots of errors. He hit .272 for his career with a .358 slugging percentage, .382 OBP, a .740 OPS, and an OPS+ of 110. He had 1234 RBIs, including a National League leading 80 in 1904. He managed 2461 hits, 413 of them for doubles, 163 for triples, and 84 home runs for 3452 total bases. He walked 1064 times, while striking out 759. All of which got him 75.2 WAR (BBREF version). He appeared in the 1905 World Series without getting a hit and his team won the 1904 NL pennant.



Marty Marion was a key component of the 1940s Cardinals pennant runs. As the shortstop he held down a key defensive position well and in 1944 pickup an MVP Award, mostly for his fielding and leadership. For his career, his triple slash line is .264/.323/.345/.668 with an OPS+ of 81. He had 1448 hits, 272 doubles, 37 triples, 36 home runs, for 1902 total bases and 31.6 WAR. Playing with the Cards from 1940 through 1950 inclusive he helped lead them to four pennants and three World Series championships. In Series play he hit .231 with two doubles, a triple, five runs scored, and 11 RBIs. In 1951 and 1952 he played a little bit with the Browns and finished his career there.

Frank McCormick

Frank McCormick

Frank McCormick was a stalwart of the late 1930s-early 1940s Cincinnati Reds, and as such was a teammate of fellow nominee Bucky Walters. While Walters won the 1939 NL MVP Award, McCormick won the 1940 Award. He was considered a good first baseman who played from 1937 through 1948 with a 12 game cup of coffee in 1934. Most of his career was with Cincinnati. His triple slash line reads .299/.348/.434./.781 (OPS+ 118). He had 1711 hits with 334 doubles, 26 triples, and 128 home runs for 2481 total bases and a 34.8 WAR. In 1939 he led the NL in RBIs (and had 954 total), and three times led the NL in hits (1938-1940), and picked up a doubles title in 1940. In postseason play (1939 and 1940) he hit .271 with an RBI and a pair of doubles. He scored three runs.

Harry Stovey

Harry Stovey

Harry Stovey played baseball in the 19th Century mostly in a league that no longer exists. His career began in 1880 with the Worcester Ruby Legs and ended in 1893 in Brooklyn. In between he played for Boston in the National League, the Boston Player’s League franchise, and most of his best years with the Philadelphia American Association team. He led the Player’s League in stolen bases in 1890 (the only year for the PL) and led the AA in stolen bases in 1886, the first year stolen bases totals are available for the league. It is important to note that stolen bases were figured differently in the era, but Stovey still led the league. He also won four triples titles, five home run titles, four runs scored titles, and an RBI title at various times in his career. His triple slash line reads .289/,361/.461/.822 (OPS+ 144). He managed 1771 hits (in much shorter seasons than the modern game), 347 doubles, 177 triples, and 122 home runs for 2832 total bases and 45.1 WAR. He scored 1492 runs, had 908 RBIs, and at least 509 stolen bases (the stolen base total is both incomplete and, as mentioned earlier, figured differently). He never played a postseason game.

So where do I stand on each for the Hall of Fame? If I had a vote I’d easily give one to both Dahlen and Stovey. McCormick I’d easily leave out. And Marion is a problem for me. On the one hand, he was one of my grandfather’s favorites (although I never saw or heard him play) so I have a tug toward him that I don’t have toward the other three. He’s also one of those guys who derives much value from his glove, and those guys never get much support for the Hall of Fame (although there are exceptions). He’s a major part of four pennant winners and three champions. But there just seems to be something missing here. So I guess I’m ambivalent towards Marion and in that case will err on the side of caution and not vote for him. I suppose it’s also fair to say that if you’re ambivalent about the Hall of Fame qualifications of a player, he probably isn’t a Hall of Famer.



2015 Veteran’s Ballot Announced

October 9, 2015

According to “This Week in SABR”, the email notification I get each weekend the 2015 Veteran’s ballot is out. Here’s the list in the order they give it:

Doc Adams, Sam Breaden, Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, August “Gerry” Hermann, Marty Marion, Frank McCormick, Harry Stovey, Chris von der Ahe, Bucky Walters.

Several are holdovers from the last Segregation Era ballot but some are new. FYI and commentary to follow at some point.

My Own Little Hall of Fame: Class of 1918

August 3, 2015

Time again for the monthly look at a Hall of Fame set up in 1901. As World War I comes to an end, this time one pretty obvious guy and one not so obvious get in. One is in the current Hall, the other isn’t.

Bill Dahlen

Bill Dahlen

Bill Dahlen was a shortstop with four teams in the National League. When he retired in 1911 he was a top ten all-time leader in walks, extra base hits, doubles, and RBIs. A superior fielder, he helped Brooklyn to two NL pennants and a victory in the Chronicle-Telegraph post season championship games. He helped the New York Giants to two pennants and the 1905 World Series championship.

Elmer Flick

Elmer Flick

After four years in the National League, including a season when he led the league in RBIs, Elmer Flick moved to the American League where he starred from 1902 through 1910. He led the AL triples three times, in batting once.

Now the commentary:

1. What took so long with Flick? Primarily Flick’s problem was that for most of his career he was the second best player on his team behind Nap LaJoie. He never seemed to get the press that LaJoie got and Cleveland never won while he was there. Worse, from our standpoint (but I never saw this in contemporary sources) he left the Philadelphia Athletics in 1902, the year they won the 2nd AL pennant. That makes it look like they were better without him (but he was only in 11 games with Philly). Perception sometimes needs to be examined more thoroughly.

2. Dahlen? Really? Well, yes, Dahlen. Really. First, I think the current Hall is making a big mistake by leaving him out (just as they are with near contemporaries like Jack Glasscock). He, in fact, makes more sense in 1918 than does George Davis, who is probably a better overall player. By now, Dahlen’s numbers don’t look all that great, but at the time he left baseball he was in the top 10 in the categories I mentioned above (although RBIs were neither official nor standardized at this point). In some ways, his election in 1918 makes more sense than it does now because just looking at his traditional statistics (which is all the 1918 guys would have), he’s not up to the cut against modern shortstops. But in context of his time, he’s really good. But, he wasn’t particularly well liked and that could hurt him in 1918 much more than it would hurt him today. Maybe it’s just a tradeoff.

3. With World War I in full swing for the US (Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel) and baseball having to cut its season there seems to be something of a mild nostalgia for the “good ole days” of the sport. That’s the kind of thing that would help both Dahlen and Flick. So I used it as a chance to put them in. A cursory look at 1919 through about 1922 (which is the year that will show up in December on this site) indicates that will fall off a lot as the disappointment of intervention in WWI and the Versailles settlement kicks into high gear. Also kicking into high gear are the “Roaring ’20s.” So any move to put in some guy from way, way far back is going to have to come into focus in the next year or two. Already, the 1860s-1880s are disappearing in the public mind. Barring a concerted effort on the part of fans or a group of writers, we seem to be at the end of a period when players prior to about 1890 have a legitimate shot at getting into a Hall of Fame. My guess is that will change in the 1930s when the Great Depression sends another wave of “good ole days” nostalgia through the public (but I haven’t checked that yet, so don’t bet on it).

4. The next couple of years don’t add much to the backlog of players, so it will be easier to take a few older players or players that might not otherwise make it (that “might not otherwise make it” sounds awful doesn’t it, but I think the ballot list has much to do with who gets elected). Another handful of Negro League players and executives (Bill Monroe, Frank Leland, Sol White) begin showing up and it will be a good time to add some of them in. Having said that, the rising racial tensions of the early 1920s (race riots in a lot of places and the rebirth of the KKK) make it much more problematic that a black member could get elected. I’ll have to decide whether to continue allowing them in despite what I know to be true of the era, or take this opportunity to do it more historically. I lean toward letting them in, but I’ll let you know.

5. The 1919 list of eligible everyday players looks like this: Cupid Childs, George Davis, Gene DeMontreville, Jack Doyle, George Gore, Dummy Hoy, Bill Joyce, Bill Lange, Herman Long, Johnny Kling, Tommy McCarthy, Cal McVey, Dave Orr, Hardy Richardson, Cy Seymour, Fred Tenney, Roy Thomas, Mike Tiernan, George Van Haltren. Not a bad list, but not a great one either (BTW if you notice I’ve obviously left someone off, don’t hesitate to tell me). Frank Chance and Mike Donlin are the biggest names coming in 1920. Interestingly enough both are quite famous, although much of Donlin’s glory lies in his Broadway efforts. I doubt that would help him get into a Hall of Fame (well, maybe an acting one), but when he wanted to play ball instead of act, he was pretty good  at swinging a bat.

6. The 1919 pitchers list looks like this: Bob Carruthers, Jack Chesbro, Dave Foutz, Brickyard Kennedy, Sam Leever, Tony Mullane, Deacon Phillippe, Jesse Tannehill, Doc White, Vic Willis. Willis probably has the best chance, although Chesbro’s 41 wins in 1904 still resonates with fans and writers and that makes him a better choice in 1919 than it does today. And the “if you notice…” comment above also holds true here. Clark Griffith shows up in 1920 strictly as a pitcher without reference to his managing or his ownership of the Senators (the managing aspects of his career come in 1921). His best chances of making a Hall of Fame probably lie in combining his managerial and pitching skills (and later as an owner).

7. And the contributors are: Bill Carrigan, Jim Creighton, Candy Cummings, Tim Hurst, Frank Leland, Lip Pike, Henry C. Pulliam, Al Reach, Jack Sheridan, John K. Tener, Chris von der Ahe, William R. Wheaton. Carrigan was a two-time World Series winning manager. Creighton, Cummings and Pike played in the 1860s and 1870s. Pulliam and Tener were NL Presidents, von der Ahe and Reach were owners. Hurst and Sheridan were both umps (and Hurst managed a little). Wheaton was the primary author of a 1830’s set of rules. Leland was an early Negro League executive. I’m also considering moving McVey from the everyday player list to this list. The contributors are the hardest to determine if they deserve Hall status. Fielder Jones shows up as a manager in 1920 as does Negro League old timer Bill Monroe (obviously not to be confused with the “Bluegrass” musician).

8. As a sort of follow-up to number four above, the period 1918-1920 and again from 1925 through 1927 are periods when the everyday players give us guys like Duffy Lewis and Larry Doyle, pitchers like Hippo Vaughn, and contributors like Pat Moran and Ben Shibe. It’s not really a bad list, but it’s nothing particularly special. It means that I’m going to have a handful of backlog players getting in (which kind of reminds me of the Veteran’s Committee situation) or that some very marginal players are going to slide in. Frankly, I’d prefer the former.

9. In 1926, the middle of the 1925-27 hiatus, the Black Sox begin to show up as well as guys like Hal Chase. Chase I know exactly what I’m going to do with him, but I want to think about the Sox a bit before making a final decision. I’m prone to toss all of them on the ash heap with Chase, but I’ve got until next year (2016, not 1919) to decide and may change my mind. Frankly, doing this based on what was known and accepted in the 1920s is going to make it very hard to see them elected. There’s not just a whole lot of support for them in the 1920s.

A Dozen Things You Should Know About Bill Lange

December 31, 2012
Bill Lange about 1898

Bill Lange about 1898

1. Bill Lange was born in San Francisco in 1871 to a career military man assigned to the Presidio.

2. He was a prodigy, winning a state tournament and becoming the best player on his local semi-pro team at age 19.

3. He played minor league ball on the West Coast until being signed by the Chicago Colts (now the Cubs) in 1893. In 117 games he stole 47 bases, had 88 RBIs, scored 92 runs, and for the only time in his career hit under .300 (.281).

4. By 1894 he was the team’s primary center fielder and lead off hitter. He stole 66 bases, , hit .325, and had an OPS+ of 99. It was his last OPS+ under 120.

5. Lange was leader of Chicago’s “Dawn Patrol” (Bill Dahlen was also a member). The “Patrol” was famous for skipping curfew, drinking all night, and being seen in the company of “loose women.” This brought him into conflict with manager Cap Anson. Anson’s career was on the wane, Lange was a rising star. As you might guess, the conflict ultimately resulted in Anson’s ouster as manager.

6. In 1895, Lange put up an OPS of 1.032 and an OPS+ of 157. His WAR was 5.1, a huge number for a position player  who got into only 123 games. The 123 games would be his career high.

7. In 1897, he scored 119 runs in 118 games and led the National League with 73 stolen bases.

8. By the end of the 1899 season his career numbers included a triple slash line of .330/.400/.458 for an OPS of .858 (OPS+ 123). In 813 games he had 1056 hits, 134 doubles, 39 home runs, and 1467 total bases. He also had 400 stolen bases, 579 RBIs, scored 691 runs, and had twice as many walks as strike outs.

9. At about this time he met Grace Anna Giselman. Lange fell in love and her father felt playing baseball was a waste of time. After the 1899 season, Lange and Grace married and he retired from baseball, taking over an insurance company. He was 28. He never went back to the Majors. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last. The couple divorced in 1915 (Lange was 44 and too old for baseball).

10. Lange died in 1950 in San Francisco.

11. He was the uncle of Hall of Famer George “Highpockets” Kelly. Playing only 7 years himself, Lange is ineligible for the Hall.

12. The most famous story about Lange has him pursuing a fly ball, breaking through the outfield wall, and catching the ball for an out. Some accounts say he got the ball back to the infield in time for a double play. The accounts disagree on when and where he did this. Most modern students of the game discount the tale, but it does make a great story.

And a HAPPY NEW YEAR to each of you.

The Hall of Fame is out to GET Me

December 9, 2012
Pete Browning about 1877. Is this the best 19th Century player not in Cooperstown?

Pete Browning about 1877. Is this the best 19th Century player not in Cooperstown?

Alright, I’ve had enough of this. I’ve decided the Hall of Fame is picking on me specifically. They chose Deacon White for the Hall of Fame. “But, wait,” I hear you say, “Didn’t you support White for the Hall? Didn’t you call him ‘The Best 19th Century Player not in the Hall’?”  That’s exactly the problem.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to pick a “Best 19th Century Player not in the Hall”? Do you? For 10 years I could wake up with the comfort of knowing I had White and the Hall didn’t. I wasn’t going to have to sweat over a big thick book of  stats or stare at long columns of numbers online. I wasn’t going to have to read florid journals written in 19th Century style about base ball (19th Century spelling). I was able to simply get up in the morning and go about my business.

But then the Hall of Fame struck. It aimed its barb directly at me and elected White. My God, Cooperstown, how fair was that? What were you thinking?

Now I have to go back to the books, the long columns of figures, the 19th Century journals, and start a new search for “The Best 19th Century Player not in the Hall.” Do you have any idea how hard that’s going to be? I’ve going to have to go over the career of the likes of  Tommy Bond and Bob Carruthers, of Mike Tiernan and Harry Stovey, of Pete Browning and Cal McVey. And that’s assuming I leave off guys like Bill Dahlen who spent about half their career in the 20th Century or guys like Joe Start who played for the Atlantic in the 1860s.

Curse you, Cooperstown, for complicating my world. I take it personally (there’s no paranoia in my family; I have it all).

2012 Veteran’s Committee Ballot: Everyday Players

November 5, 2012

The previous post gave a list of the persons appearing on the next Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee Ballot. I intend to do multiple posts on the election. This is the one on the everyday players.

First, a couple of  observations. Two of the nominees played so long ago there is no “eye” test (“Saw this guy. He was good.”) or “I” test (“I remember him.”) for them. No one alive today saw Deacon White play. We have a man in my town who is 100. Bill Dahlen last played the year before this guy was born. So for the two of them their stats will be paramount along with old newspaper articles. Marty Marion has the advantage of actually having played recently enough that some people still living actually saw him play. Heck, I was alive his last few years as a player (although I have no memory of ever seeing him play or hearing a radio broadcast of a game in which he played). I’m not sure how much, if  any, that will affect the voting, but I think this factor should be noted.

Now a quick look at each player chronologically:

The Deacon

James L. “Deacon” White played from 1871 through 1890, although apparently only his 1876-1890 numbers are to be considered. The category specifies the player represents the period 1876 (founding of the National League) through 1946 (the year before Jackie Robinson arrived in Brooklyn). I have no idea how much the loss of 1871-75 will hurt White’s chances. Whether they do or not, the Deacon was a heck of a player during his NL days. He hit .307, had an OBP of .341, a slugging percentage of .388, for an OPS of .729 (OPS+ of 126) over 4896 at bats. He 787 runs with 709 RBIs and 1901 total bases. He had 204 doubles, 18 home runs, and 69 triples to go with 225 walks and 185 strike outs. He began his NL career at age 28. He played for three pennant winners (1876, 1877, and 1887) holding down third base and catching while putting in just over 100 games at both first and in the outfield. He was a decent fielder for his era but nothing special. Both his black and gray ink numbers exceed Hall of  Fame Standards. All numbers quoted above are for White’s National League years only. His National Association numbers (1871-5) are not included. If I were on the Veteran’s Committee, I’d cast a ballot for White. I believe he is the finest 19th Century player not yet enshrined at Cooperstown.

Bad Bill

Bill Dahlen was a shortstop who made it to the big leagues in 1891 and stayed around through 1911. He hit .272, had an OBP of .358, slugged .382, for an OPS of .740 (OPS+ of 110). He scored 1590 runs, had 1234 RBIs (leading the NL in 1904), and 3452 total bases in 9036 at bats. He had 2461 hits, 413 doubles, 84 homers, and 163 triples while walking 1064 times and striking out only 759 times. He also had 548 stolen bases, but many of those came before the advent of the modern definition of the stolen base. He won pennants with the Giants in 1904 and 1905, participating in the ’05 World Series where he had no hits, three walks, scored a run, and had an RBI in a winning cause. In 1911 and 1912 he managed Brooklyn (not very successfully).  He was a better than average shortstop for the era, leading the league in assists and range factor multiple times. Neither his black nor gray ink numbers exceed Hall of Fame standards, although his gray ink in fairly close. But Dahlen would not appear on my ballot if I were on the Vet’s Committee.

“Slats” Marion

Marty Marion played from 1940 through 1953 (he was injured all of 1951) in St. Louis. From 1940 through 1950 he was with the Cardinals and with the Browns (now the Orioles) the last two seasons. He was known as a slick fielding shortstop who was one of the best of his era. He led the NL in assists, range factor, putouts, and fielding at various times during the 1940s. In 1944 he was league MVP. As a hitter he averaged .263, had an OBP of .323, and slugged .345 for an OPS of .668 (OPS+ of 81). He scored 602 runs, had 624 RBIs, and 1902 total bases in 5506 at bats. He managed 1448 hits, 272 doubles (leading the league in 1942), 36 home runs, and 37 triples while compiling 470 walks and 537 strike outs.  Neither his black nor gray ink numbers are very high. He appeared in four World Series (1942-44, 46) playing on the winning side three times (1942, 44, and 46). His best Series was the one they lost in 1943. He also managed the Browns (but not very sucessfully). He also died only last year. Marion creates a particular problem for me. The argument for him is essentially the Mazeroski argument. He’s easily the best defensive player at a primarily defensive position in his  era and one of the best defensive shortstops ever. That’s not a bad argument for a player. Additionally, he was a favorite of my grandfather so there is a certain bias when contemplating him. To err on the safe side, I think I’ll set him aside for this time.

2012 Veteran’s Committee Ballot

November 2, 2012

Just got a first look at the 2012 Veteran’s Committee ballot. It contains 10 names and covers the period 1876-1946. Here (alphabetically) are the names on the ballot:

1. Sam Breadon–Cardinals owner who hired Branch Rickey

2. Bill Dahlen–Deadball Era shortstop

3. Wes Ferrell–1930s AL pitcher

4. Marty Marion–1940s Cardinals shortstop and MVP

5. Tony Mullane–1880s American Association pitcher and later sports writer

6. Hank O’Day–Deadball Era umpire

7. Alfred Reach–“Reach Guide” founder and sporting goods magnate

8. Jacob Ruppert–owner of the New York Yankees 1920s and 1930s

9. Bucky Walters–1930s-40s National League pitcher who won both an MVP and 1940 World Series

10. Deacon White–19th Century bare handed catcher and third baseman.

That’s the list. Will comment on it later. Election day is 3 December.

1910: Superbas Postmortem

September 4, 2010

The 1910 Brooklyn Superbas , under rookie manager Bill Dahlen, went 64-90 for 1910 and finished sixth, 40 games back. They weren’t yet either the Boys of Summer  of the 1950s or the Daffiness Boys of the 1930s. They also weren’t very good (which is tough for a Dodgers fan to say).

Brooklyn in 1910 was dead last in hitting, slugging, RBIs, hits, and doubles. They were seventh in runs and walks, and first in striking out. Only first baseman Jake Daubert, third baseman Ed Lennox, and outfielder Zack Wheat managed to hit .250 while shortstop Tony Smith hit .181 and  catcher Bill Bergen made it all the way to .161. You know you’re in trouble if two of your starters don’t make it to the Mendoza line.

The problem with replacing some of these guys was that the bench was equally awful. A common theme of these posts is that teams who finish in the bottom part of the standings have terrible benches. Brooklyn was no exception. The highest average from the bench players was Al Burch’s .236. He also had one of the highest slugging percentages at .284. Tex Erwin, backup catcher, hit .188, not much of an improvement over Bergen, and Pryor McElveen’s .225 wasn’t that much better than Smith’s average. Outfielder Bob Coulson managed a .404 slugging percentage in 23 games. That led the team with Wheat second at .403.

Among the pitchers, knuckleballer Nap Rucker and Cy Barger had acceptable seasons. Rucker went 17-18 and led the NL in innings, hits, and shutouts with six. Barger was 15-15. It went south from there. George Bell was 10-27 and Doc Scanlan was 9-11. If you look down the list, there’s nobody below that even hints at solving the problems of the staff.

The Superbas have a little to look forward to in 1911. Daubert and Wheat are good players and will continue to improve. I know nothing about Bergen, but he must have been a heck of a catcher because in 1911 he will catch 84 games and hit all of .132 and slug .154. Both Hy Myers and Otto Miller come up in 1911. Neither are particularly good in ’11, but both will be significant contributors to the rise of the 1916 team to the NL pennant. Other than that, Oh, well.

Opening Day, 1910: Brooklyn

April 11, 2010

Zack Wheat

The Superbas were anything but superb in this era. They hadn’t finished out of the second division since 1902, had ended up dead last in 1905, and had not progressed beyond sixth by 1909. Not only were they not “The Boys of Summer”, it’s doubtful they were even the boys of winter.

Brooklyn finished the 1909 season in sixth place, 55.5 games out of first and 19 games out of fifth place. That meant major revision in the team. It started at the top, with manager-right fielder Harry Lumley losing his managerial job. He remained a part time right fielder, and I wonder how much tension existed between Lumley and new manager Bill Dahlen. Dahlen was 40 and something of a John McGraw clone. He won a World Series with New York in 1905. He was tough, fiery, intolerant of fools, and had never managed before.

The positional starters underwent major change in 1910. The day before the season began, Brooklyn picked up a new center fielder, Bill Davidson. He led off the first game, which must have been a trifle odd, even for Brooklyn. Rookie Jake Daubert was the new first baseman and hit second. Former first baseman Tim Jordan was still around but only got into five games in 1910 because of injuries. In 1909 a rookie named Zack Wheat got into 26 games. This season he would begin a Hall of Fame career by hitting third and holding down the left field spot. Second baseman Jerry Hummel, a bench player the year before,  took the clean up hole. Jack Dalton took former manager Lumley’s slot in rght field and hit fifth. Hold over third baseman Ed Lennox was in sixth and new guy Tony Smith was at short and hit seventh. Bill Bergen remained as catcher and eight hitter. Many of the old starters got bench roles. As mentioned, former first baseman Tim Jordan was hurt. Former manager Lumley got into only eight games, and 1909 shortstop Tommy McMillan was traded after 23 games. Ex-leadoff man Al Burch became the fourth outfielder. Gone entirely was ex-second baseman Whitey Alperman. Tex Erwin was the new backup catcher with Otto Miller getting spot duty as the third catcher. Pryor McElveen remained the backup middle infielder with Hap Smith doing a lot of pinch hitting.

The Superbas pitching in 1909 was nothing special. George Bell was 16-15 and everyone else, except Doc Scanlan (8-7) had a losing record.  At least all of them had more innings pitched than hits allowed. For 1910, Bell was back, so was potential ace Nap Rucker, along with Scanlan. Cy Barger who was over from the Yankees and Elmer Knetzer, a rookie who had pitched five games in ’09,  rounded out the starters. Gone was former starter Harry McIntire, and the final starter in 1909, Kaiser Wilhelm, was now the main man in the bullpen.

Brooklyn was in turmoil in 1910. They had done little to actually improve the team. Prospects of lifting in the standings were minimal. Having said that, new guys Daubert, and especially Wheat, held out prospects of a coming rise, but it was going to take a while.

Next: ST. Louis