Baseball History for February 25th

<— FEBRUARY 24     FEBRUARY 26 —>


1854 Ed Cogswell
1856 Jim Britt
1863 Hezekiah Allen
1872 “Rabbit” Bob McHale
1883 Jack Hannifin
1884 Bob Bescher
1889 Dave Morey
1889 Elmer Rieger
1893 Phil Slattery
1897 Bob Vines
1899 Stan Rees
1900 Joe Burns
1900 Duke (Silent John) Gillespie
1908 Al “Boots” Hollingsworth
1911 Roy Weir
1912 Jim “Whitey” Hayes
1915 Roy “Stormy” Weatherly
1918 George Diehl
1919 Monte Irvin

Recently left us, but for a very long time was as influential a person as there was in baseball.

1921 Andy Pafko
1924 Jack “Lucky” Lohrke
1931 Jim Dunn
1934 Johnny Schaive
1939 Denny Lemaster
1940 Danny Cater
1940 Ron Santo

That for a decade, he was a GREAT third baseman cannot be denied. That he loved Chicago and especially being a Cub cannot be denied. That, for whatever reason, the baseball writers didn’t seem to elect a lot of third basement to the Hall of Fame cannot be denied.

But the Cubs had Williams, and Jenkins, and Banks (who was older, I get it) and Santo, and a few guys who could help out and NEVER won the division; never won a pennant… That is what kept Santo out of the Hall of Fame. You can’t have four Hall of Fame talents on a team at the same time and NOT win something.

(I did a report on this – need to write it up and share… Teams with the most Hall of Famers and their lack of success.)

1941 Dave Vineyard
1944 Stump Merrill

Never played, only managed… Spent forever in the minors, too.

1947 Ken Szotkiewicz
1951 Cesar Cedeno

Thought to be the next Willie Mays, but it wasn’t to be. I still think he was awesome. Power killed by playing in Houston, fast as lighting, and later might have been the best late season pick up when he hit, like, .600 for the Cardinals down the stretch in 1987.

1954 Bob Brenly

I liked him as a catcher and manager but don’t understand how there are thousands of former Cubs players – some with excellent deliveries and the ability to form interesting sentences and yet this guy (and now Joe Magrane) got a color commentary gig with WGN.

1956 Kevin Hickey
1956 Ed Lynch

Marginal middle reliever type, later a front office guy with the Cubs, I think.

1959 Ken Dayley

Cards swingman of the 1980s.

1961 Dana Kiecker
1963 Larry Arndt
1963 Paul O’Neill

Effective hitter and outfielder for the Reds and Yankees. I once saw him walking a mall in Kansas City one day when the Yankees were in town. He was intimidating looking.

1963 Joel McKeon
1964 Rich Rowland
1968 David Hulse
1969 Les Norman
1969 Huck Flener
1974 Shannon Stewart
1979 Josh Labandeira
1983 Jay Marshall
1985 Xavier Paul
1987 Henry Rodriguez
1987 Andrew Werner
1987 Phil Irwin
1988 Nate Adcock
1988 Conor Mullee
1990 Felix Pena
1992 Jorge Soler
1993 Erick Fedde
1996 Aaron Fletcher
1999 Rafael Marchan


1891 Jeremiah Reardon
1898 Tom Power
1899 Shorty Wetzel
1916 Art Allison
1926 Otto Hess
1934 John McGraw

I know in New York and to most who have a basic knowledge of baseball history John McGraw is generally beloved as one of the early greats of the game. I would like to present an opposite view.

As a player, McGraw was dirty – he cheated at every turn; on offense he was cutting bases and distracting umpires and on defense he was blocking base runners and distracting umpires. The reason we have four umpires monitoring games is because of guys like John McGraw.

As a manager, he was thrown out of more games than anyone of his period. It was 90 years before Bobby Cox finally passed his record.

As part owner of the Baltimore franchise in the American League, he conspired with owners in the National League to raid players from the Orioles in hopes of destroying that franchise and harming the whole of the American League.

Out of fear that his team would lose to the 1904 AL Champs (an embarrassment he was not prepared to handle – given what he had done to the AL two years earlier), he chose not to play in the World Series. Until the owners and players fought in the 1990s, it was the only time since 1903 that the World Series was not held.

As a person, he associated with gamblers and shady characters most of his adult life. He was ownership partners in gaming halls and horse tracks and casinos.

He was accused of getting help to win pennants during the 1910s because his former players were managing other teams then and throwing games to the Giants to help the cause.  McGraw likely returned the favor for Wilbert Robertson in 1916, the second of the two games that were “thrown” turned into a farce.  Still, he helped Robertson get his pennant.

When his own players were being solicited to throw games by Hal Chase, he chose to look the other way. After one hearing, even testifying that Chase had offered to pay off his pitcher to throw a game, he soon went out and signed Hal Chase to play for the Giants anyway.

The 1919 World Series was thrown because players on McGraw’s New York Giants put gamblers in touch with White Sox players. These were guys signed by McGraw (Chase, Zimmerman) for his business partner, Arnold Rothstein, the money behind the throwing of the World Series.

In the 1920s, he was so jealous of the fame of Babe Ruth and how the Yankees were more beloved than the Giants especially in the park he was renting to the Yankees, he threw the Yankees out of the Polo Grounds – leading to the creation of Yankee Stadium.

When he died, he left his wife in a financial lurch.

Is this the type of person that should be in the Hall of Fame?

He needs to be removed, and his plaque melted and turned into something more beneficial to mankind. Like a big ashtray.

1937 George Darby
1944 Bill Knowlton
1951 Joe Williams
1955 Ike Kamp
1956 Jack Lewis
1962 Tink Turner
1963 Bill Hughes
1966 Garland Braxton
1969 Russ Wrightstone
1981 Frank McCrea
1986 George Susce
1997 Cal Abrams
1998 Joe Gallagher
1999 Earl Huckleberry
2000 Culley Rikard
2001 Bitsy Mott
2005 Don LeJohn
2008 Roy Wise
2012 Dave Cheadle
2020 George Yankowski


1933 Using his inheritance, Tom Yawkey purchases the Boston Red Sox from Robert Quinn. Yawkey’s price? $1.2 million…


1916 Cleveland sells Chick Gandil (Crook!) to the White Sox for $3500.

1941 The Yankees sold Babe Dahlgren to the Boston Braves.

1967 Atlanta sends Sandy Alomar to Houston to complete the trade that sent Eddie Matthews and Arnold Umbach to the Astros for Dave “Swish” Nicholson and Bob Bruce.

1972 The Phillies send Rick Wise to St. Louis for Steve Carlton.

1975 Cleveland sends Dave Duncan and Alvin McGrew to Baltimore for Boog Powell and Don Hood. Also Cleveland traded Milt Wilcox to the Cubs for Dave LaRoche (and Brock Davis). I remember being disappointed that LaRoche was dealt, but barely remember Wilcox with the Cubs. That’s because he was awful that year.

1979 San Diego signed free agent pitcher Al Fitzmorris. That didn’t workout… Al never got to the mound.

1981 Boston signed free agent pitcher Mark Fidrych. He was done, but what the hey.

1988 Jose Cruz signed a free agent contract with the Yankees.

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