Archive for Old News

The Box Score of a Wiffleball Game Played by the Children at My Elementary School, in the Minds of Said Children

(Author’s note: This article was originally published on my personal (and now-defunct) website on May 26, 2011, which astute readers will fail to recognize as four days before my inaugural post at NotGraphs. It received, and I wish I were making this up, 7 pageviews. So despite the fact that this is, in fact, technically recycled material, and that one C. Cistulli has already long ago in private conversation inferred that I am an immoral cad for even suggesting to plagiarize my own published work, I am doing so. I am doing so because these are desperate times, 1565 Malta times, the edge of reason where survival, not etiquette and adorable moral codes, apply. Cry Rick Reilly if you must. Cry GamerGate. I will embrace all the necessary daggers in order to provide you, dear readers, with the maximum entertainment value that this dying vehicle can perform.)

With that said, please enjoy the box score of a wiffleball game played by children at my elementary school (as of May 26, 2011), in the minds of said children.

Fig 1 (left): this morning’s wiffleball game, as imagined by pure-hearted children. Fig. 2 (right): this morning’s wiffleball game, as actually transpired under the baleful light of cold, heartless truth.


Senseless Early Century Baseball Murders, Continued

Crane 1

Sam Crane was a major-league shortstop with Philadelphia and other assorted clubs at varying points between 1914 and 1922, during which interval he produced something fewer than a replacement number of wins over 549 plate appearances.

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Three Mere Paragraphs Concerning Jim Thorpe’s Whole Life

It was neither the best, nor entirely worst, of times for Jim Thorpe.

A brief inspection of the internet — in particular the Baseball Reference part of it — reveals that today (May 28th) is the birth anniversary of famous and dead Native American athlete Jim Thorpe. A slightly less brief inspection of the internet reveals that Jim Thorpe endured probably both a miserable life and also not the most miserable life.

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Senseless 19th Century Baseball Deaths: Lew Brown

Lew Brown Obit Done

Lew Brown played for Providence, at least two Boston clubs, and assorted other teams during a seven-year career. He retired, it would seem, following his age-26 season. In January of 1889, just weeks short of his 31st birthday, he somehow broke his kneepan (an antiquated word for kneecap) on a stone cuspiodor (i.e. a spittoon) whilst wrestling. Then, somehow, he immediately contracted pneumonia, became delirious, and then died.

Cause of death, ultimately: the 19th century.

Click image to embiggen. Notice of death care of Boston Globe. Credit to Deadball Era for data, as well.

Players Accidentally Shot and Killed by a Policeman Whilst Being Protected from an Actual Lynch Mob: A Brief List


The 19th century was marked by much unpleasantness in these United States that would have been ideally avoided. Like widespread outbreaks of diptheria among children, for example. Or like the conception — if not necessarily the birth — of future (and now late) senator Strom Thurmond.

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Orotund Sentences from Historical Recaps: New York, 1897

Recently, in these pages, the author reproduced for the reader’s consideration a small collection of excerpts from a game recap that appeared originally in the July 1, 1897, edition of the New York Evening World — which recap, one will have noted, features sentences that are both alien and also “like magic” to the modern ear.

This post features three more examples of that engaging prose — in this case, from the July 15, 1897, edition of the Evening World and all concerning a game from the previous day between the New York Giants and Louisville Colonels which took place at the latter club’s Base Ball Grounds.

Regarding the aforementioned contest, one learns that, in the first inning, “Cunny couldn’t find the coal hole cover” — a sentence which almost certainly appeared in more than Victorian-era erotic novel, as well.


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Orotund Sentences from Historical Recaps: New York, 1897

Mostly for the reason that it’s nearly part of his job description, is why the present author has spent much of the past two hours idly surveying game recaps from century-old newspapers.

Below are three excerpts from that search — all courtesy the July 1, 1897, edition of the New York Evening World and all concerning a game from the previous day between the Boston Beaneaters and New York Giants which took place at the Polo Grounds.

Each selection features examples of written English that, when uttered aloud, force the reader to affect the voice and manner of the late George Plimpton. One finds, for example, that, in the first inning, Ducky Holmes was compelled to get “solid with his burghers on the clutch” whilst tracking down a fly ball hit by Boston’s Chick Stahl.


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John Axford Finishes Off Mexico

Must have missed this bit of news from the Brewers’ trip to Texas a couple weeks back…

While I missed that, the always spying Investigative Reporting Investigation Team did not. Found this in the IRIT’s photo archive from August 13:

Mexico, post-Axfordian appetite.

You can’t even eat [an entire country] without someone’s Google Glasses capturing you these days!

On The 125th Anniversary of The Mighty Casey

My good friend that also sent this letter to Clayton Kershaw has penned another work of complicated genius. Even if you don’t agree with the main treatise of the new version, you have to admit it is of our time:

Before the time of MLB,
And sans ESPN,
They took the field at Mudville
To cheer the Mudville men
5000 voices yelling
A throng for way back when
The legend lives until this day
From even way back then
They cheered for mighty Casey
The legend’s famous name
Some still say they saw him
Now forever cloaked in fame
And as you all have heard by now
The game was pretty tight
Mudville fell behind by two
By the bottom of the last
Then got two outs and two men on
Awaiting Casey’s blast.
But as you know he watched two strikes
Then swung with all his might
Deflating the Mudville faithful
As he whiffed that fateful night.
Now looking back on Monday
From 125 years away
The commentators have gathered
To review Vin Scully’s play by play.
It now seems elementary
I hesitate to say
But with men at third and second
Intentionally walking Casey was the percentage play.
Casey lead the league that year
He always had come thru
The pitcher was just lucky
Casey had ‘nt hit him too.
So know we’ll never know the score
Had they played game our way,
And because first base was open
Put Casey on that day.
It makes a better story
A legend ’til this day
To pitch to mighty Casey
Is not the percentage play.

Highlights: Milwaukee Brewers Design a YOUniform Contest

Over the off-season, the Milwaukee Brewers asked fans to submit uniform designs. The contest winner would have her/his design made into actual uniforms, which the Brewers would then wear in a couple of spring exhibition games. NotGraphs demigod Dayn Perry covered the winning selection in an article at CBS’s Eye On Baseball; sadly, Dayn’s own “unique” entry was not selected as the winner.

The winning entry, by Ben of Richfield, MN

The Barrel Man head on the cap is awesome, even if the rest of the uniform is pretty bland. I do like the single stripe on the sleeve — a simple but classy touch. And, after slogging through all of the entries, I feel confident in saying that the winning entry was easily one of the best complete designs.

Most of the other entries were slight variations on Brewers uniforms past and present, and aren’t worth parsing here. But as I scrolled through the entries, I noticed some interesting themes emerge.

For instance, a number of erstwhile designers really wanted to incorporate depictions of beer into their uniforms:

Tri-dong: not appealing.

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