12 December 2010

the miracle man as a bridegroom

gentleman george stallings looks the part of a bridegroom on his 1990 target dodgers card, doesn't he?
stallings was an original 'dodger', in that he appeared for the franchise in 1890, it's first season in the national league.  a catcher, stallings played in 4 games and came to bat 13 times.  he walked once, was hit by a pitch once, and struck out 3 times while failing to get a base hit.  he wouldn't return to the big leagues until 1897.  that was the year he took over as manager of the phillies, and he inserted  himself into the lineup a few times.  he got his only two big league hits that season, and then in 1898, after 7 total major league games, stallings was finished as a player, and as the phillies' manager. 

stallings, who had managed the tigers (then in the western league) in 1896, returned to his old role in detroit for the latter part of their 1898 season.  he remained their manager through 1900 and then led them into the american league in 1901.  he later managed the new york highlanders for a couple of seasons prior to their becoming the yankees.

it was in boston, however, that stallings made his mark.  in his second year as manager of the braves, he turned a team that had lost 82 games in 1913 into a 94 game winner in 1914.  that 1914 team went 52-14 in their final 66 games of the season to win the pennant.  facing the philadelphia a's in the world series, the underdog braves won all 4 games, and stallings became known as 'the miracle man'.  never mind that the rest of his managing days resulted in mediocre braves finishes.  as an aside, stallings is apparently the guy who put platooning on the map, so lance berkman should be thanking him these days.

here's to you miracle man!  too bad you couldn't have worked your magic on the dodgers.

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