12 October 2014

sunday morning target dodgers - the old perfessor holds court

sundays come around too quickly lately.  here's another sheet of 15 cards from the 1990 target set that features most of the players who played for the brooklyn/los angeles franchise during it's first 100 years in the national league.  managers are included in the set, too, including the old perfessor, casey stengel.
stengel also qualifies for this set as a player, but didn't get a separate card.  he began his big league career as an outfielder with the robins, playing for brooklyn from 1912-1917.  following his retirement in 1925, he became a manager in the minor leagues and was brought back to brooklyn as a big league coach in the early 1930's.  stengel took over as the team's manager in 1934 and held that post through the 1936 season.  stengel's best finish as the brooklyn manager was in 1935 when the dodgers were 5th in the national league, but they did not post a winning record under his leadership.  in fact, among the 9 teams stengel managed prior to taking over the yankees in 1949 (he managed the boston braves following his sting with the dodgers) only the 1938 boston braves finished over .500 with stengel at the helm.  with the bronx bombers, of course, stengel's teams won five straight world series titles in his first five years as their manager and he was on his way to the hall of fame. 

whitey alperman
alperman played all four of his big league seasons as a brooklyn superba, from 1906-1909.  he led the league in triples with 16 in 1907 but, as a career .237 hitter with a disdain for walks, he didn't get on base much.  his career obp was .268, and in fact, alperman was hit by a pitch more often in his career (39 times) than he drew a walk (only 30 bases on balls in 1758 plate appearances).

john butler
there were two john/johnny butlers who played for brooklyn - one was a catcher and one was a pitcher.  this card is for john butler, the backup catcher, but features a photo of johnny butler, the pitcher.  i'll write about the catcher john butler and maybe get to the pitcher johnny butler in a later post.  following a couple cups of coffee with milwaukee and saint louis, john butler appeared in one game for the 1906 brooklyn superbas, and then 30 games in 1907 for the club.  he hit .127 with an on-base percentage of .216 that year and his big league career was over.

leo callahan
callahan was a member of the 1913 brooklyn superbas.  he appeared in 33 games and hit .171.  he also played for the phillies in 1919.

bull durham
durham's real name was louis, but people called him bull, i guess.  he was from pennsylvania, not north carolina, but perhaps the name stems from the bull durham tobacco that was popular in the late 1800's.  at any rate, durham pitched for the brooklyn superbas of 1904, winning both of his starts - the only games in which he appeared as a superba.  he took his perfect big league record to the washington senators and later, the new york giants, and did not spoil it.  he didn't pick up any additional victories, but he did  not suffer any losses, either.

mike hechinger
hechinger was 2 for 11 in his 9 games as a brooklyn superba in 1913.  he had previously played for the cubs in 1912 and earlier in the 1913 season, but was out of the majors following his stint with brooklyn.

ed householder
householder appeared in 12 games for the 1903 superbas, hitting .209 (9 for 43) in his only major league action.

jimmy johnston
johnston spent a decade in brooklyn (1916-1925) playing pretty much all over the diamond for the robins.  he was one of their primary outfielders early in his tenure, and then was their primary third baseman for a couple of seasons, shades of pedro guerrero.  johnston was obviously part of the robins' pennant winning teams in 1916 and 1920, and was one of the few players to manage a hit off of babe ruth in game 2 of the 1916 world series.  he hit over .300 three times for the robins, and had over 200 hits in a season twice.  in 1923, he had a streak of 6 consecutive games with 3 or more hits, tying for the big league record with sam thompson and george brett.

elmer knetzer
knetzer began his major league career with 4 seasons in brooklyn - 1909 through 1912.  in that time, he was 26-29 for the superbas/dodgers with a 3.67 era.  he later found greater success pitching in the federal league for a couple of seasons (winning 20 and 18 games in those seasons) before returning to the national league in 1916.

jack quinn
quinn enjoyed a 23-year big league career, pitching until the age of 50 in 1933.  his time with the brooklyn franchise came in 1931 and '32, when he was one of the best relievers in the league despite his advanced (for baseball) age.  in those two seasons with the robins, he was 8-11 with a 3.03 era and 22 'saves' (saves were not an official statistic back then, but he would have led the league in both of his seasons as a robin).  he even got some mvp votes in 1931.  quinn was one of the last 'legal' spitball pitchers, and holds a number of age-related records: the oldest american league player to homer, the oldest pitcher to start a world series game, and the oldest player to have more than 1 hit in a season among others.  he had also been the oldest pitcher to record a win until jamie moyer won a game in april of 2012.

jack radtke
radtke had 3 hits in 31 at bats in the 33 late-season games that he played in for the 1936 brooklyn dodgers.  he was traded to the senators in 1937, but did not appear in the big leagues beyond those 33 contests with the dodgers.

frank robinson
robinson spent just one season in dodger blue - 1972 - following a trade with the orioles.  the future hall of famer hit 19 home runs (one a walk-off and two in one game against the giants) in 103 games and then was dealt to the angels.  the dodgers gave up, among others, doyle alexander to acquire robinson.  alexander, later in his career, was the guy the braves traded to the tigers to get john smoltz.  while a dodger, robinson passed mel ott, eddie mathews, ernie banks, and ted williams on the all-time home run leader board.

jim romano
romano, shown in his saint paul saints cap, was one of several young pitchers hurling for the 1950 dodgers.  he pitched in 3 games, including one start, but had no record. in the end, the dodgers went with the likes of don newcombe, carl erskine, ralph branca, and clem labine over romano, and he did not pitch in the big leagues again.

george sharrott
sharrott pitched for the brooklyn grooms in 1893 and 1894.  he had a record of 4-7 in his 16 games played.

zeke wrigley
there was some controversy surrounding wrigley back in 1899 when he hit .204 in his 15 games played for the superbas.  as far as i can tell, he had previously played for syracuse in the eastern league, and then for the new york giants, but brooklyn purchased his contract from syracuse before he played for them.  whatever the issue, wrigley was returned to syracuse and the major league games in which he played were vacated by brooklyn, forfeiting all of the games in which he appeared and/or was on the roster.  the superbas again (legitimately this time, i assume) purchased his contract from syracuse in 1900, but he did not appear in a game for the club.  this all came to light earlier this season when the dodgers won their 10,000th game, and there were questions as to whether they had already reached that milestone previously or had yet to attain it.

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