Archive for June, 2009

Preseason Prognostications

June 28, 2009

It’s a Two-Club Race in the National League, say the baseball writers in the AP’s annual preseason poll, with the Cardinals and Cubs battling it out for the top spot.  Most writers think that St. Louis will prevail.  They like the Card’s formidable pitching, led by Dean and his brother, together with new addition Roy (Bud) Parmalee.  The writers say the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates are also in the hunt but that the rest of the clubs will be also-ran’s for ’36.  The writers are not impressed with Boston’s name change or new uniforms;  the vast majority pick the Bees to come in last.

It’s the Tigers By A Mile in The AL, the writers say in the same poll for the junior circuit, believing that Detroit will accomplish a three-peat.  They like Al Simmon’s addition to the club.  Everyone else is battling for second, with the Red Sox, Indians and Yanks the serious combatants for that spot.  Just about all of the writers pick Connie Mack’s Athletics for the cellar.

Prelude to the Season

June 28, 2009
Dizzy Dean in Spring Training

Dizzy Dean in Spring Training

In the months and weeks leading up to the 1936 season, some things are new and noteworthy and somethings never change in the world of major league baseball:

Round Up The Usual Suspects— As in earlier seasons, several of the marquee major leaguers are slow to sign their contracts and come to spring training camp.  The most notorious of these is Dizzy Dean, who muses at one point that he may just go into the furniture business if things don’t work out. New York Times sports columnist John Kieran observes that last season Dizzy threatened to become a peanut farmer. There are no players’ unions yet, so it is each man and Hold Out for himself; Kieran notes that Dizzy cannot even marshal his brother Daffy’s support in a campaign for higher wages against management.  Players invariably re-sign.  It is the Great Depression, after all. Not that things are all that together amongst the baseball owners.  As Kieran further notes, it is not like “the capitalists are [   ] in a position to use strike-breakers to any noticeable extent. … When a Dizzy Dean or a Hank Greenberg holds out, no club owner can step around the corner and bring in a strike-breaker who can fill the bill temporarily,” although they sometimes try.

 

 

 

 

  There’s A New Kid In Town— And his name is Joe DiMaggio, a  21 year old Pacific Coast League phenom slated to start with the Yankees.  Brooklyn feels slighted,  notes columnist Kieran; the Dodgers’ not so  young rookie prospect, Oscar George “Ox” Eckhardt, actually hit several points higher than Joey D in 1935, besting him to take the Pacific Coast batting title that year, but does anyone note that? Does anyone care?  (In the real world 1936 season, Eckhardt will play only 16 games for Brooklyn, ending his major league career.  Let’s see how he does in this Sim.)

Iron Horse with the New Kid

Iron Horse with the New Kid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 From Braves to Bees — New Owners, New Name, New Uniforms … New Team?  That is how the new owners of Boston’s National League franchise are hoping  things work.  After a dismal 1935 season, seeing them  winning less than 40 games, the Boston Braves new owners think a make-over is in order.  They hold a contest in the Boston Globe for fans to submit a new name for the club, and get over 1,300 suggested names, covering every letter of the alphabet but X.  Most stink, says the New York Times, but a commission of 29 baseball writers and cartoonist choose the “Bees” as the team’s new moniker in January 1936.  Sportswriters quickly dub the team’s park, formerly known as National League Park, the “Bee Hive” or simply the “Hive.”  Ownership is cool to the idea. (Let’s see in this Replay what the make-over does for the hapless former Braves.)