Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Chase for the "Triples Crown"

The Spring 2018 issue of the American Association Almanac was published a few weeks ago, the fiftieth edition of the publication which began as the American Association Newsletter in 2001. The subject for this hallmark issue revolves around the top triples hitting teams of the Association. Spanning the years of the "original" American Association, 1902 to 1962, this survey presents a detailed statistical view of the trends and highlights of triples production for the league as a whole. The content develops into a focus on the triples production for each team, highlighting the seasons during which each team led the circuit in three-baggers. Key player performances are illuminated allowing the reader to make connections between names both familiar and unfamiliar.

The cover for the Spring 2018 edition of the American Association Almanac features an interior view of Milwaukee's ancient Borchert Field, built in 1888, from a postcard originally published around 1950.


This 30,000-word issue contains a variety of highlights for fans of minor league baseball history. For example, three teams shared the spotlight as leaders of the league's "triples crown." These three teams led the league in triples production for 13 seasons, each with its own unique "footprint" which provides insight into the evolution of the team's offensive production. It was found that each of the league's eight clubs had its own phases, often distinct, which formed a pattern. These patterns are useful for historians to identify those "feast or famine" periods which can be studied. This Almanac breaks new ground with respect to the topic of triples production with respect to minor league history. The author is unaware of any previous such treatment covering the topic of triples production at the major league level.

The table of contents for the Spring 2018 edition of the American Association Almanac. The extensive use of graphics for this issue helps illuminate the statistical depth explored within its pages.


In order to get a better idea of the contents of this ground-breaking issue, a few sample pages are provided below. Each page shows a unique feature of the treatment for the subject matter and gives a sense of how the data are organized and presented. Most notable is the summary for each team's history as a triples hitter, shown in the final example of the team history for Columbus.

This sample provides an example of general content, allowing the reader to get a sense of how the layout is handled for the presentation of the subject matter. A total of 17 footnotes appear throughout this issue.





This sample provides examples of the numerous graphics, tables and charts, used for highlighting key information.


The sample shown here gives the reader an idea of how the subject matter introduces each team's triples-hitting history.

Notable here is the team history's summary of triples hitting employed for each team.

Keep your head in the game! Please consider subscribing to the American Association Almanac. 

In order to maintain this advertising-free baseball history journal, subscriptions supply the lifeline that ensures the best possible research and writing continues. If your interest lies in the regional minor leagues that formed the bedrock of the system of professional baseball we enjoy today, consider subscribing to this unique venue for historical research. Makes a great gift!

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The American Association Almanac is a one-man show. The entirety of its contents is written and researched by:

Rex Hamann
14201 Crosstown Blvd. NW
Andover, Minn.   55304

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The American Association Almanac
Bringing the best of baseball history from the bleachers to the box seats!

Friday, January 12, 2018

The American Association Playoffs, 1933 to 1941

The American Association Almanac
Volume 13, No. 2
Fall 2017

The 49th issue of the American Association Almanac was released in early September, 2017. It provides a comprehensive look at the American Association playoffs which began in 1933 when the first-place Columbus Red Birds (101-51), led by Ray Blades, vied for the league championship against the second-place Minneapolis Millers (86-67) under the leadership of future Hall of Famer Dave Bancroft. As explained in the official league manual (pub. 1969), "Under the playoff plan whereby the highest standing Eastern team met the highest standing Western Club, Columbus beat Minneapolis four out of six games to win the official league championship..." There was no beef about the outcome with the possible exception of a handful of Columbus fans who thought their team, with its clearly superior record, shouldn't have to prove itself twice. The following year, Minneapolis fans had the beef as the same two teams met in the playoffs again, this time after the Millers claimed the top spot with a record of 85-64. Columbus finished second, just a sliver behind with 85 wins and 68 losses. After Columbus came away with the championship in a rugged seven-game battle, critics were all over the place. The system was scrapped for the 1935 season, and in 1936 a two-tier plan named after the originator of the playoff system employed in the East, Frank Shaughnessy, went into effect. It allowed allowed the first-place team to cop the championship while vying for the Governor's Cup and the honor of meeting the International League's top representative in the Junior World Series. This system proved itself over the next three decades.

This volume exceeds 30,000 words in a 56-page format. It includes a color cover (see below), a prominent back-cover reproduction of a 1939 Louisville Colonels team photo, a table of contents (see below), and a table summarizing the head-to-head play between each playoff contestant from 1933 to 1941, in addition to narratives for each game. Copies are available at $15.00 postpaid. For those interested in starting a subscription (one- or two-year options available; see below), this issue can be included at a discount.


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Content is organized by season. This sample page provides a look at how each section unfolds. Here is an excerpt of the content from this issue:

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Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this issue is the clear delineation of playoff records. Each season's leader board is encapsulated within a listing of statistical achievements for the customary categories, such as which player claimed the most runs scored, the most hits, the most home runs, etc. But readers will also find statistics from more obscure categories which include averages, such as team batting average and runs per game. Here is a sample page:


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A final sample page:


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I've been editing and publishing the Almanac since Fall 2001 and have made it my life's work. If you are interested in comprehensive baseball history with a regional flavor, strong statistical backbone and a concise writing style, this may be your best option. Readers are encouraged to write to me, Rex Hamann, with questions about how to subscribe to the American Association Almanac. One-year subscription: $24.00 for two issues. Two-years: $42.00 for four issues. Lifetime subscriptions: $200.00 (non-refundable). Institutional subscriptions: $60.00/yr. Checks can be mailed to me at 14201 crosstown Blvd. NW, Andover, MN   55304, or sent to my Paypal account via my email address (pureout@msn.com).

Monday, April 3, 2017

Opening Day, 1902 to 1931

It's Opening Day!

The latest issue of the ad-free American Association Almanac was published last week. It contains a balanced look at the opening day statistics compiled from a 30-year period including the years from 1902 to 1931.

This 32,000 word article is organized into three sections, each one pertaining to a period of one decade, and each of which contain essentially the same topics. For example, in the first section for the period 1902 to 1911, the introduction contains a description of each of the first four contests (there were eight teams) which took place on April 23, 1902. An emphasis was placed on these games because of their historical importance as "firsts" and so they receive more attention than in the other sections. Here is an excerpt from this section:

Mike (Elmer) Smith, the Kansas City left fielder, took top honors
for providing Kansas City’s first home run of the American Association
era, making the score 16-4. The additional fireworks came off Dunkle in the
sixth after a triple by Nance, netting the Blues their final two runs.
Both clubs had 39 at-bats and yielded three errors.
The blood-letting was complete in two hours, 15 minutes,
quite lengthy for a nine-inning game of this period.

Next, a section on team records answers the most basic questions concerning which teams were the most successful during this decade, containing the following table entitled "Combined Opening Day Records, 1902-1911." The table below shows how each team performed at home (H) and on the road (R) in terms of its wins and losses.


A sub-section describing the results of contests involving Eastern vs. Western teams (defined in the text) wraps up this introductory portion of the section.

Shutouts are covered next. Each the eight entries contains a summary of the game, as shown in the following excerpt:

6. John Halla, lhp. April 13, 1910: Louisville 6 at Columbus 0.
Giving up just four hits, John “Jack” Halla, 26, wins his third straight opener
(two are home openers) before a Neil Park assemblage of 9,900. Glenn Liebhardt, 27,
the Columbus starter, goes the distance, giving up 11 hits. Louisville scores three runs in the fourth. 
Suter “Scooter” Sullivan (3b) walks to lead off the frame, and moves up on shortstop Bill Moriarty’s sacrifice. 
Larry Quinlan (ss) boots keystone sacker Gus Soffel’s tough grounder to short, setting the table for Heinie Peitz (c/mgr.) whose hit-and-run scores Sullivan for the season’s first tally and the deciding run of the game. 
Halla contributes a single to load the bases before Joe Stanley (cf) drives in Soffel and Peitz. 
Halla strikes out three and walked two, aided by an error-free defense. 
Louisville bats .306 as only Peitz takes the collar. 
The fielding of Moriarty at short is a feature. 
The contest takes one hour, 58 minutes.
William J. Guthrie and Charles E. Van Syckle officiate.

A section entitled "Pitching Survey" is next in which a statistical breakdown of the entire sample of 77 pitchers to perform in a season opener is presented. Here, a comparison between left-handers and right-handers is offered. This is followed by the a section entitled "Advantage Pitcher" which discusses games in which one team had a sizeable early advantage.

The section "Season Opener Scoring Records: 1902 to 1911" follows. This includes run totals, in cluding averages, highs and lows, combined game totals, single-game totals and highlights of "per inning" scoring, including extra-inning games. Discussed as part of this section is the topic of scoring patterns. For example, lead changes is discussed in some depth, and the results for teams which scored first in each game is presented as a table. Finally, a survey of games which resulted in late decisions is presented. 

A substantial section on hitting records of the decade is laid out in great detail, including leader boards for teams and players. Here is an excerpt:

Hitting Records by Team: 1902-1911

    Hi Hits: 21 - St. Paul, April 18, 1906 at IND; score: STP 15, IND 5
    Lo Hits: 2 - Minneapolis, April 17, 1907 at IND
    
Hi Hits for Host Team: 18 - Louisville, April 18, 1906, defeating MIN, 11-7
    Lo Hits for Host Team: 3 - Columbus, April 23, 1902 hosting MIN
   
    Hi Batting Avg.: .467 - St. Paul, April 18, 1906 at IND (noted above)
    Hi Batting Avg./Host: .464 - Toledo, April 17, 1907 defeating STP, 8-0
    
Lo Batting Avg.: .071 - Minneapolis, April 17, 1907 losing to IND, 4-0
    Lo Batting Avg./Host: .088 - Louisville, April 22, 1903 losing to IND, 4-2

Eleven home runs were hit during this decade, and each one is documented in considerable detail, as shown in this excerpt: 

8. Barry McCormick (2b), Milwaukee (vs. STP), April 14, 1909.
The Brewers made it a 6-0 lead over the Saints in the seventh after 
McCormick’s three-run jolt off “Little Chief” Louis LeRoy  at Athletic Park. 
Some 6,000 fans craned their necks skyward as “the pill floated serenely over 
he 8th Street fence for a homer,” driving in Dan McGann (1b) and Pep Clark (3b). 
Batting sixth in the order, McCormick had himself a day at the plate,
with three hits and seven total bases in addition to scoring a pair of runs. 
Milwaukee won, 9-5.


The decade section wraps up with a comparison of attendance data showing which teams led the league in which years, cumulative totals, and rankings for season totals.

The same pattern for the presentation of the data for the next two decades is used.

Here is a look at the cover for this issue, showing the front cover (right) and the back cover (left).



For more information on this fascinating issue
and how you can subscribe to the
American Association Almanac,
please contact the editor
at this email address:

pureout@msn.com

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Just for fun: It stood for over 50 years as host to the American Association's Milwaukee Brewers. Built in 1888, Borchert Field, originally Milwaukee Athletic Park, had a storied past. This photographic image served as the basis for one of the most attractive ballpark postcards of the pre-War era. Here is the photo, followed by the postcard.



This little item can cost you big time if it's a seller's market. Just ask me. It appears on the back of my book, The American Association Milwaukee Brewers, published by Arcadia in 2004.



And always remember: The past did not take place in black and white....

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Colorful Firsts (...names, that is)

Just for Fun

After finishing up the task of compiling the complete player roster for each Season Opener for American Association teams from 1902 to 1911, the notion of doing something "light" crossed my mind. It occurred to me that the first names of this era were often colorful ones. Here is a sampling of some of a handful of them. All told, 438 players (pitcher included) comprised the Opening Day rosters for the eight teams comprising the American Association during the league's first decade. (Please note: each name appears as it is listed on baseball-reference.com):

Chick, Jap, Shad, Quait, Heinie, Rivington, Bruno, Sylvester, Rip, Chappie, Pep, Boileryard, Bunk, Gavvy, Dode, Jiggs, She, Hobe (HO-bee), Peaches and Steamer.

The corresponding surnames: Chick Autry (see photo below), Jap Barbeau, Quait Bateman, Heinie Peitz, Rivington Bisland, Bruno Block, Sylvester Loucks, Rip Cannell, Chappie Charles, Pep (Harry) Clark, Boileryard Clarke, Bunk Congalton, Gavvy Cravath, Dode Criss, Jiggs Donahue, She Donahue, Hobe Ferris, Peaches Graham, Steamer Flannigan.   

What's YOUR favorite? 

Chick Autry, appearing for the first time in the uniform of the Minneapolis Millers in 1915. Prior to that he was long associated as a first baseman for the St. Paul Saints. A goodly handful of player from either St. Paul or Minneapolis later joined the Millers or Saints, respectively, choosing to play for the crosstown rival team and earning what has been dubbed the dubious moniker of "Twin Cities Turncoat." (photo courtesy of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections)

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Season Openers: 1902 to 1931

Work began in September for the Spring 2017 issue of the American Association Almanac (paper; $24/yr or $42/2 yrs by subscription). It will present a detailed analysis of both the player records and team records for 120 American Association Season Openers during the period 1902 to 1931. The following 30 years will be published the following year. Here is a listing of the results of those contests, followed by a sample section from the main database.

American Association Results of Season Openers:
1902 to 1931*


April 23, 1902
Columbus 5 vs. Minneapolis 0
Indianapolis 5 vs. Milwaukee 4
Kansas City 16 @ Louisville 6
Toledo 8 vs. St. Paul 7 (10.5.2)

April 22, 1903
Columbus 2 @ Toledo 0
Indianapolis 4 @ Louisville 2 (10)
Kansas City 8 vs. Minneapolis 4
Milwaukee 10 vs. St. Paul 7

April 20, 1904
Indianapolis 6 vs. Kansas City 3
Louisville 9 vs. Milwaukee 1
Minneapolis 5 @ Toledo 4
St. Paul 7 @ Columbus 1

April 19, 1905
Columbus 6 vs. Minneapolis 1
Kansas City 8 @ Toledo 3
Louisville 10 vs. St. Paul 3
Milwaukee 5 @ Indianapolis 4

April 18, 1906
Kansas City 6 @ Columbus 2
Louisville 11 vs. Minneapolis 7
St. Paul 15 @ Indianapolis 5
Toledo 7 vs. Milwaukee 2

April 17, 1907
Columbus 6 vs. Milwaukee 4
Indianapolis 4 vs. Minneapolis 0
Louisville 6 vs. Kansas City 4
Toledo 8 vs. St. Paul 0

April 15, 1908
Columbus 5 vs. St. Paul 4
Indianapolis 4 vs. Kansas City 2
Milwaukee 2 @ Louisville 1
April 16, 1908
Toledo 5 vs. Minneapolis 4

April 14, 1909
Indianapolis 4 vs. Toledo 2
Louisville 6 vs. Columbus 1
Milwaukee 9 vs. St. Paul 5
Minneapolis 2 @ Kansas City 0

April 13, 1910
Kansas City 10 @ Minneapolis 5
Louisville 6 @ Columbus 0
Milwaukee 2 @ St. Paul 1
Toledo 5 @ Indianapolis 0

April 12, 1911
Indianapolis 1 vs. Milwaukee 0
Kansas City 4 @ Louisville 3
Minneapolis 7 @ Toledo 4 (10)
April 15, 1911
Columbus 2 vs. Minneapolis 1 (9.5.1)

April 10, 1912
Columbus 10 vs. Kansas City 8
Minneapolis 6 @ Louisville 4
St. Paul 7 @ Indianapolis 6
Toledo 6 vs. Milwaukee 5

April 10, 1913
Indianapolis 21 @ St. Paul 13 

Louisville 7 @ Kansas City 1
Minneapolis 8 vs. Columbus 1
April 12, 1913
Milwaukee 2 vs. Toledo 0 (8.5.1)
 

April 14, 1914
Indianapolis 4 vs. Cleveland 0**
Kansas City 6 vs. Minneapolis 3 

Milwaukee 4 vs. St. Paul 0
April 15, 1914
Louisville 7 vs. Columbus 2

April 15, 1915
Indianapolis 10 @ Cleveland 1**
Louisville 3 @ Columbus 0
Milwaukee 6 vs. Minneapolis 4
St. Paul 11 @ Kansas City 5

April 18, 1916
Columbus 4 vs. Kansas City 0
Minneapolis 2 @ Louisville 1
St. Paul 4 @ Indianapolis 1
Toledo 4 vs. Milwaukee 2

April 11, 1917
Indianapolis 6 vs. Toledo 5 (10.5.0)
Kansas City 3 vs. Minneapolis 0
Louisville 4 vs. Columbus 2
Milwaukee 4 vs. St. Paul 0

May 1, 1918
Indianapolis 9 @ Columbus 0
Minneapolis 3 @ Kansas City 2
St. Paul 10 @ Milwaukee 1
Toledo 3 vs. Louisville 2

April 23, 1919
Columbus 1 vs. Kansas City 0 

Indianapolis 2 vs. St. Paul 1
Louisville 14 vs. Milwaukee 2
April 26, 1919
Minneapolis 10 @ Toledo 2

April 14, 1920
Columbus 6 @ Louisville 1
Minneapolis 8 @ Kansas City 2
St. Paul 3 @ Milwaukee 2 (10)
Toledo 1 @ Indianapolis 0

April 13, 1921
Indianapolis 3 vs. Columbus 2 (8.5.2) 

Louisville 5 vs. Toledo 4
Milwaukee 6 vs. St. Paul 1
April 14, 1921
Minneapolis 2 @ Kansas City 1

April 12, 1922
Columbus 5 vs. Milwaukee 4 (13.5.2)
Kansas City 5 @ Toledo 4 (10) 

Minneapolis 9 @ Louisville 8 (12)
St. Paul 3 @ Indianapolis 0

April 19, 1923
Columbus 3 @ Toledo 2 (10)
Louisville 4 @ Indianapolis 0
Minneapolis 10 @ Milwaukee 3
St. Paul 8 @ Kansas City 5

April 15, 1924
Columbus 6 vs. Kansas City 2 

Indianapolis 10 vs. Minneapolis 8
Louisville 6 vs. St. Paul 4
Toledo 5 vs. Milwaukee 3
 

April 14, 1925
Columbus 7, St. Paul 0
Kansas City 6 @ Indianapolis 1
Louisville 3 vs. Milwaukee 2
Toledo 3, Minneapolis 1

April 13, 1926
Indianapolis 5 @ Kansas City 4
Minneapolis 6 vs. Columbus 5
Toledo 12 @ St. Paul 4
April 14, 1926
Louisville 10 @ Milwaukee 5

April 12, 1927
Kansas City 8 @ Columbus 5
Milwaukee 9 @ Toledo 2
Minneapolis 1 @ Louisville 0 (12)
St. Paul 1 @ Indianapolis 0

April 10, 1928
Indianapolis 5 vs. Minneapolis 4 (12.5.2)
Milwaukee 11 @ Columbus 10 (10)
St. Paul 3 @ Louisville 2 (12)
Toledo 2 vs. Kansas City 2 (12)

April 16, 1929
Indianapolis 10 vs. Milwaukee 6 

Kansas City 8 @ Louisville 2
Minneapolis 21 @ Columbus 4
Toledo 5 vs. St. Paul 3 (11.5.2)

April 15, 1930
Columbus 8 vs. St. Paul 2
Indianapolis 3 vs. Kansas City 2
Louisville 11 vs. Milwaukee 2
Toledo 9 vs. Minneapolis 1

April 14, 1931
Milwaukee 15 @ Columbus 10
Minneapolis 10 @ Louisville 4
St. Paul 8 @ Indianapolis 3
Toledo 4 vs. Kansas City 0


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*Please note the following:

Winner Listed First

“@” - at

Extra-innings stated in parentheses and expressed in decimal form, e.g., 10.5.2 = game ended with two out in bottom of 11th inning

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**The Toledo Mud Hens moved to Cleveland for the 1914 and 1915 seasons. 






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JUST FOR FUN: Here are a few suggestions for developing these data to become more familiar with the early history of the American Association:

1. Develop a won-loss record for each team, and separate it by decade.

2. Compare Eastern teams vs. Western teams. Eastern teams included Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville and Toledo. Western teams included Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

3. Compare scoring within each of the three decades.

4. Find the five team’s greatest run totals.

5. Find the top five game’s run differentials.

6. List each extra-inning game by year and by team.

7. List each shutout game.

8. Identify various intra-season and inter-scoring patterns, such as when each home team won its season opener, or when one team scored the same number of runs in subsequent seasons.



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Team Names:
Columbus Senators
Indianapolis Indians
Kansas City Blues
Louisville Colonels
Milwaukee Brewers
Minneapolis Millers
St. Paul Saints
Toledo Mud Hens (1902-1913; 1916-1931); 

known as the Cleveland Spiders (1914) and Cleveland Bear Cats (1915)

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This record was created in preparation for the Spring 2017 issue of the American Association Almanac which will present a complete analysis, including team records and player records, of each of the American Association’s first 30 season openers.



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ballparks of Indianapolis, Part 3

Hot off the presses! (actually, just my faithful -- usually -- little laser-jet printer) This issue of the American Association Almanac breaks new ground, offering a statistical record of the American Association games played at West Washington Street Park, home of the Indianapolis Indians from 1905 to 1931. Three back pages are dedicated to the all-time records achieved at Washington Park. Finally, a "Gone With the Great Majority" section provides a brief necrology of former American Association players.

Here's a pair of sample pages which accurately represent the entire contents:

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And here's a look at the front cover:

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The back cover is informative as well, with a focus on the role played by the Indianapolis Indians in the very first American Association night game:

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The introduction to this issue provides a framework for
how this issue fits into the realm of baseball history:

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For information on how to order your copy of this comprehensive volume,
available only through the author,
contact Rex Hamann at
pureout@msn.com

ONE FREE COPY OF THE ALMANAC FOR EACH NEW SUBSCRIPTION

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