Results tagged ‘ Louisville Colonels ’

Double dip: Reds and Pirates have history of multiple matchups

Berowski_90.jpgBy Freddy Berowski

On Monday, the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates played a day-night doubleheader. The two games were only one game short of the record for the most games played between these teams in one day. 

Like the day that the Reds and Pirates played three, this day began with consecutive losses for the Bucs. But that’s where the similarities between this Pirates team and the 1920s squad, one that had four future Hall of Famers on its roster, end. 

9-1-09-Berowski_Traynor.jpgIt was the next to last day of the season, Oct. 2, 1920, and third place, as well as a share of the World Series receipts, was on the line. Four future Hall of Famers would compete in Major League Baseball’s last triple-header, including a little-known 21-year-old shortstop named Pie Traynor – who was 1-for-7 with a run scored and a hit by pitch in two games.  

Going into the day, the Pirates sat three and a half games behind the Reds in the standings and needed a sweep in order to have a shot at securing third place on the season’s final day.  By the end of the first game, third place was decided. The Reds’ clean-up hitter, future Hall of Famer Edd Roush, was 2-for-6 with a double in Cincinnati’s 13-4 rout of Pittsburgh. Roush would get the rest of the day off, but the Reds would still take the second game 7-3, a game in which the Reds started two pitchers in the outfield and one at first base. The Pirates won game three, a six-inning affair that was called due to darkness. The three games took exactly five hours to play. Future Hall of Famers Max Carey and Billy Southworth also saw action in the triple-header.   

Ironically, all three tripleheaders in Major League history have a Pittsburgh Pirates connection. The first one, played on Labor Day 1890, saw Brooklyn sweep Pittsburgh.  The second took place on Labor Day 1896 and saw the Baltimore Orioles sweep the Louisville Colonels, the team that would merge with the Pirates in 1900.

Freddy Berowski is a library associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Of dogs and baseballs

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By Jim Gates

Sometimes when searching for the answer to a question, we come across something else that just can’t be left alone. I was recently conducting some research on the history of Ladies’ Day at ballparks, an innovative event often attributed to Abner Powell.

Powell was a part-owner and manager of the New Orleans Pelicans during the late 1880s, and he initiated such baseball institutions as Ladies’ Day, rain checks and the infield tarpaulin. These are concepts which are still a regular part of baseball.

5-7-09-Gates_Powell.jpgHowever, in the process of reading about his impact on baseball history, I came across a little story which simply must be shared, one that you can really sink your teeth into.

It was during the dog days of summer in 1886, Aug. 22 to be exact, that Powell was playing outfield for the Cincinnati Red Stockings when William Van Winkle “Chicken” Wolf of the Louisville Colonels came to bat. Wolf lofted a fly ball in Powell’s direction, but before he could collect the ball to return to the infield, he was attacked by a dog that heretofore had been snoozing in the outfield grass.

The dog, perhaps vaguely aware of some canine kinship to a player named Wolf, took hold of Powell’s leg and would not let go, making it possible for Wolf to round the bases. Wolf was credited with a home run, but it is not known whether the dog recorded an RBI assist.

Talk about your dog day afternoon! As immediately noted by a colleague of mine, this would make Powell part of another baseball first, the “inside-the-bark” home run! For Powell, it was clearly a case of ribbies versus rabies.

Now that is something to chew on.

Jim Gates is librarian of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

Get thee a denominator

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4-23-09-Gates_Urdaneta.jpgBy Jim Gates

Perhaps one of the most exclusive clubs in baseball belongs to a group of pitchers who each appeared in only one Major League game in his career, gave up at least one run but never recorded an out. Therefore, their ERAs are ?, also known as the lemniscate, the mathematical symbol for infinity.

Surely it must have been frustrating to have earned your big league cup of coffee but never to have achieved the basic arithmetic feature that every pitcher desires most — an out. Fortunately for us, the statisticians of the game have kept the data we need to track this select group, so without further ceremony, here is “The Brotherhood of the Lemniscate”:

4-23-09-Gates_LemniscateChart.jpgOf the 8,188 players who have pitched in a Major League game (as of April 21, 2009, according to David Smith at Project Retrosheet) only 13 meet the criteria for this group. One of the interesting things about this list (as if we need to take this any further) is that two members (Bruckbauer and Hamann) were born in New Ulm, Minn. (population 13,500 in 2000). Such an august group needs a club motto, something to hang over its clubhouse door, so to speak, and a colleague of mine would propose the following: “He who lemniscates is lost.”

Ah, where would we be without such obscurities?

Jim Gates is librarian of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

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