The Mount Rushmore of the Baltimore Orioles

1983 O-Pee-Chee #163 Cal Ripken – It is absolutely impossible not to love this card with an absolute passion.

This Mount Rushmore takes a look at the original Milwaukee Brewers. After joining the American League in 1901, the Brewers relocated to St. Louis for the next season and re-branded themselves as the Browns. Following the 1953 season, the franchise moved one last time, this time moving to Baltimore. They took the name of a previous franchise that played there (and later moved to New York…) and called themselves the Orioles.

For years, this was a pretty bad franchise. From 1901 to 1943, they didn’t have a single first-place finish (in just an 8-team league!) They had only 2 second-place finishes in that time too. After finishing first and losing the World Series in 1944, the team embarked on another went another 21 years without another top finish. Then, in 1966, their fortunes changes. The Orioles won the World Series that year, made 3 more finals in 1969-1971 (including another win in 1970) and proceeded to make the playoffs 4 more times from 1973-1983, capping off with yet another World Series win in that final season.

Since 1983, the pickings have been pretty slim. They’ve made the playoffs just twice (in 1996 and 1997, losing in the  ALCS each time) and are way under .500 for that period. So far, 2012 has been the best season in years for the team, with them clinging to 2nd place in the AL East.

Anyway, the franchise has had some pretty awesome players over the years. Let’s dig in.

Here are the leaders for the franchise in WAR among batters:

Rk Player WAR/pos From To
1 Cal Ripken 90.9 1981 2001
2 Brooks Robinson 72.7 1955 1977
3 Eddie Murray 53.2 1977 1996
4 George Sisler 49.6 1915 1927
5 Bobby Wallace 45.2 1902 1916
6 Ken Williams 37.7 1918 1927
7 Mark Belanger 37.5 1965 1981
8 Paul Blair 36.4 1964 1976
9 Harlond Clift 34.9 1934 1943
10 Bobby Grich 34.4 1970 1976
11 Brady Anderson 32.2 1988 2001
12 Boog Powell 31.8 1961 1974
13 Frank Robinson 30.4 1966 1971
14 Ken Singleton 27.5 1975 1984
15 Melvin Mora 26.9 2000 2009
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/15/2012.

Well, let’s see. Is it possible to leave off any of those top 4 Hall of Famers? I guess. maybe if they’ve had no decent pitchers…heh. (Paging Mr. Palmer, Mr. Jim Palmer.)

Cal Ripken–well I don’t really know what to say about him that hasn’t already been said. Inner-circle Hall of Famer. Brooks Robinson is generally regarded as the second-greatest 3rd baseman  of all time. Eddie Muray is the second-best switch-hitter of all time. Gorgeous George is probably the weakest of the 4, despite having the 16th-highest batting average of all time.

It’s pretty hard to ignore some other players who were key contributors during playoff years: Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, Bobby Grich, Brady Anderson. Boog Powell, and Frank Robinson.

Among pitchers here are the top 15 among WAR:

Rk Player WAR From To
1 Jim Palmer 63.2 1965 1984
2 Mike Mussina 45.0 1991 2000
3 Urban Shocker 35.9 1918 1924
4 Jack Powell 29.4 1902 1912
5 Ned Garver 22.5 1948 1952
6 Carl Weilman 22.3 1912 1920
7 Dave McNally 22.2 1962 1974
8 Barney Pelty 21.3 1903 1912
9 Harry Howell 21.2 1904 1910
10 Milt Pappas 20.3 1957 1965
11 Mike Flanagan 19.3 1975 1992
12 Lefty Stewart 19.0 1927 1932
13 George Blaeholder 18.4 1925 1935
14 Nels Potter 17.7 1943 1948
15 Scott McGregor 17.7 1976 1988
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/15/2012.

These are surprisingly low totals, aren’t they? Jim Palmer’s the bees knees, and Mike Mussina did really well in his 10 years with the club. Shocker and Powell put up nice totals too but during years when the team was bad.

We also must mention Earl Weaver, the manager who made such a massive imprint on the franchise.

Please choose four candidates:


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83 Comments on "The Mount Rushmore of the Baltimore Orioles"

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Dan McCloskey
Guest

I voted for Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Murray and Palmer, but I’d like to chime in with my St. Louis Browns Mount Rushmore: George Sisler, Bobby Wallace, Ken Williams, Urban Shocker.

Steven Page
Guest

The O’s were such a powerhouse during my teenage years.They provided a great rivalry for my A’s.Cal, Brooks and Palmer were automatic for me. The tough decision was between Earl Weaver,Frank Robinson and Bobby Grich. Earl got the nod,as he exemplifies,to me,the manager who could win with a decent team,and win it all with a good one. BTW the sculpt of Earl MUST have his cap on backwards and flecks of granite spittle aimed at the Rushmore of Umpires.

brp
Guest

I always knew the STL Browns were a terrible franchise but to see that the entire history of the franchise pre-1960 won’t be represented (a few years of the Vacuum Cleaner) is pretty astonishing. Hard to go against Ripken-Palmer-Brooks-Murray; I think only dropping Murray for someone else is an option. That’s the only reason I picked Sisler.

Brent
Guest
My four (relunctantly) were Ripken, B. Robinson, Palmer and Murray. I desperately wanted a Brown and actually really desperately wanted a 1944 Brown, but there is no one on that team that even remotely can be considered an all timer Oriole/Brown. Vern Stephens was a really nice player, but unfortunately the Brownies decided to donate him to the BoSox for the second half of his career. And Nels Potter (from Walnut Grove, perhaps?) really was a war time pitcher who did nothing before WWII and nothing after. I do dispute the veracity of this statement: “Brooks Robinson is generally regarded… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

If you were desperate for a 1944 Brownie and read my article of a few months ago you could have considered George McQuinn who was the only member of the Browns to hit a World Series HR. 🙂

Dan McCloskey
Guest

I’d say 5th or 6th:

1. Mike Schmidt
2. Eddie Mathews
3. Wade Boggs
4. George Brett
5. Chipper Jones
6. Brooks Robinson

Putting Chipper Jones ahead of Robinson is debatable, but I think a lot of people put those other four guys ahead of him.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
“Brooks Robinson is generally regarded as the second-greatest 3rd baseman of all time.” We’ve had this discussion before, the evolution of “The Greatest Third Baseman Ever (TGTBE)” designation (somewhat shortened version): Up until the early 70s, Pie Traynor was usually regarded as TGTBE (Eddie Mathews and his 512 HR don’t seem to have made much of an impression). By the mid/late 70s, Brooks gradually assumed the role of TGTBE. Schmidt began to get support as TGTBE by the early 80s, and was the consensus TGTBE by his retirement in 1989, with Brett #2 and Mathews getting more recognition. With the… Read more »
K&J
Guest

I love Ron Santo. But in front of Brooks??? Please.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

K&J,

I didn’t say that Santo was clearly better than Brooks, merely that “maybe some people” might consider Santo equal to or better than Brooks.

Santo was clearly a much better offensive player than Brooks (edges of 62.4-42.3 in oWAR, and 125 to 104 in OPS+, for starters), and an excellent defensive player himself, so I don’t think it’s completely ludicrous to consider Santo the equal of Brooks.

tag
Guest

I would be one of those people taking Santo over Brooks, because I place more emphasis on peak over career value. Santo’s peak was ridiculously good (even in Brooks’ MVP year Ron was easily the better player), and the extra doubles that Brooks swallowed up with his glove (and there weren’t all that many more; Ronnie was a five-time Gold Glover himself), Santo more than made up for with the markedly more homers he hit, as well as the many many many more walks he drew.

MikeD
Guest
I’m with you. Santo benefited from Wrigley. His road stats triple slash at .257/.342/.406/.747, with a 160 OPS home-road swing for Santo. That .747 OPS is still greater than Robinson’s .723, but considering the rapid end of Santo’s career preventing a decline from dragging down his numbers, and the great length of Robinson’s which did drag his down, the gap is even less. For the time period, Santo’s road stats are quite solid, but his overall numbers were enhanced by Wrigley to the point where if Brooks played his career as a Cub and Santo an Oriole, I’m positive there… Read more »
tag
Guest
I think the Wrigley Field explanation here is a little too facile. Most people don’t realize that Wrigley didn’t play like a big hitter’s park in the 1960s, for the most part. If you compare its park factor with Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium during Santo’s peak, they’re not too different (104/100, 102/102, 101/99, 105/100, 107/100). It wasn’t Coors or even Fenway during this time. What I think Santo benefited from most in being at home, was being at home. As a diabetic, he had to deal with factors that 99% of other ballplayers don’t, and, while I could be wrong, I… Read more »
tag
Guest
This is not to discount in any way that Brooks had the better career because it was so much longer. As I said above, I was only comparing their peaks. And while no one denies that Brooks was better defensively, how do we quantify that? He made spectacular plays, we all saw them, but his and Santo’s assist and DP totals are comparable. He put up two spectacular Rdef seasons (30+) in 1968 and 1969 (Ronnie’s topped out in the teens), but sandwiching these seasons are ones of 4 and 5 Rdef. I just have a difficult time taking Rdef… Read more »
Forrest
Guest

Interesting. As of right now, Ripken (40), Br Robinson (38), Palmer (38), and then it looks like Murray (19) & Weaver (14) are splitting the 4th spot between them. After that, nobody’s even got 7.

Hartvig
Guest

I generally try to follow at least a very rough span of the franchise when picking but I’m having a really hard time with the concept of picking Sisler over Murray. I finally did go that way however since even though Sisler is over-rated since without his sinus related vision problems- which very likely would have be relatively easily treatable now- he may rank only behind Lou Gehrig as the greatest first baseman of all time.

I ended up going Ripken, B Robinson, Palmer & Sisler with the Boog running the concessions stand and Paul “Motormouth” Blair as the tour guide.

Tmckelv
Guest
Mil/STL/Balt eras. 1) ST. Louis years were pretty bad with really only George Sisler and the War years peaking with the 1944 pennant team – George Sisler, Urban Shocker, Bobby Wallace, Ken Williams, Harland Clift, Baby Doll Jacobson, George McQuinn, Vern Stephens, Jack Powell, Ned Garver, Nels Potter 2) Move to Baltimore – some better success in the early 1960’s – Gus Triandos, Milt Pappas 3) 1966 thru 1974 consistently in WS and playoffs – Brooks Roninson, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, Don Buford, Davey Johnson, Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, Earl Weaver 4) 1979 thru… Read more »
Tmckelv
Guest

So after I was done voting, there were 208 total votes (52 voters perhaps? – it will accept less than 4 votes from a voter, right?)

Cal Ripkin “only” has 50 votes – so (at least) 2 people did not vote for him.

Also looks like Urban Shocker’s mom rose from the grave to cast an online vote for her son. 🙂

Seems like Everyone loves Ripkin(50 votes), B.Robby(48), and Palmer (47), then it depends on if you want a Brown (Sisler – 11), or a manager (Weaver – 16). If no to either of those scenarios, then it is Murray (24).

Tmckelv
Guest

I really do spell Ripken wrong every single time. It is not like I ever looked at “Ripken” and even thought it was incorrect. I guess it is just wrong in my brain database.

Tmckelv
Guest

As for the card, 1983 Topps design is always great. And O-PEE-CHEE adds just the right amount of French.

Phil
Guest

Hate leaving off Murray and Frank Robinson, but Palmer, Brooks, Weaver, and Ripken. Only one pitcher seems wrong too.

PP
Guest

“Brooks Robinson is generally regarded as the second greatest third baseman of all time?” I must have missed those articles. Ahead of Brett and Mathews, not to mention Jones and Boggs?

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
This is yet another team that just cries out for multiple Mt Rushmore’s. The time periods below are not equal, but that’s so I can have a somewhat equal balance of players: MIL/ST LOUIS BROWNS (1901-1953): -Bobby Wallace -George Sisler -Ken Williams (late-bloomer, one of the semi-forgotten sluggers of the 20’s) -Urban Shocker (love that name…) TOUGH to LEAVE OUT: Powell, Harlond Clift BALTIMORE ORIOLES, pre-DH (1954-1972): -Earl Weaver -Brooks -Boog -Frank Robinson TOUGH to LEAVE OUT: Belanger, Grich, Blair, McNally (where’s Mike Ceullar in the poll? – I understand his WAR is a little short, but he did win… Read more »
Chad
Guest

I don’t think Brooks’ mom would consider him the 2nd best of all time.

kds
Guest
1) One reason the Palmer’s WAR is not as impressive as his reputation, and even more so for Cuellar and McNally etc is that the Orioles were one of the greatest defensive teams ever. Palmer’s WAR calculations figure his defense was worth .33 runs per 9IP. His ERA+ is 125. If we add .33 to his ERA and that drops his ERA+ to 112. 2) Please stop saying that the Orioles were named for the AL team that moved to NY and later became the Yankees. The NL Orioles in the 1890’s were probably the most famous team in 19th… Read more »
Ed
Guest

Must have been fun to be a pitcher for Baltimore in the early 70s and have Belanger, Robinson, Grich and Blair backing you up. Wonder if that’s why Palmer wasn’t a big time strikeout guy….why bother bearing down and tiring yourself out with that defense behind you?

Tmckelv
Guest

The O’s 1971 starting pitchers could have their own mini-Mount Rushmore: McNally, Palmer, Cuellar and Pat Dobson all with 20 wins.

McNally’s season is of note becuse he made just 30 starts (no relief appearances), whereas the others made at least 37 starts (Dobson had 1 relief appearance).

There have only been 12 such seasons (20+ Win in 30 or less Games), and only 4 since 1943 (Beckett 2007, Pedro 2002, Big Unit 1997 and McNally 1971).

Jason Z
Guest

good call. I actually thought about advocating for
the 1971 staff to be one of my four.

I would say that their record of four 20-game winners
on one staff in one year may stand for a long time.

John Autin
Editor

True for now. Meanwhile, how about the 1998 Braves with FIVE 16-game winners (and 4 with 17+), all the in the rotation? Matched only by the 1923 Yankees. (What? The 5-man rotation started 90 years ago? Actually, John McGraw used 5 starters as early as 1906.)

e pluribus munu
Guest

The record had already stood for 50 years before the O’s tied it: the ’20 ChiSox starting four won 87 total, over 20 each, and didn’t even win the pennant. Half the staff never again even won a single game.

Doug
Editor

The 1904 Giants got 89 wins from their top 3 starters, and 102 from their top 4. McGraw even used a 5th starter (Red Ames) in 13 games.

Doug
Editor

Also check out the 1930 Senators. The ace (Bump Hadley) had 34 starts, 4 others ranged from 22 to 25 starts, and a 6th had 16 starts. All of the top 5 won 15 times (and all were over .500), but only one won 16, and none 17.

The Sens, under manager Walter Johnson, placed second at 94-60 with their unorthodox pitching approach.

Chris
Guest

I agree with the general consensus of Ripken, Murray, Palmer, and Brooks Robinson, though I’m a bit surprised Frank Robinson doesn’t have more support. Is he more closely associated with the Reds?

Jason Z
Guest
Good to have the Mt. Rushmore series back. Thanks Andy. I also agree with the consensus. I did think long and hard about Frank Robinson however. His career with the Orioles from 66-71 encompasses perfectly their best six year run. I would love to hear memories from some of our more experienced readers about that trade. Public sentiment at the time, that sort of thing. The problem with a Frank Robinson candidacy is who do you remove? In the end I cannot remove any of the four. In this order they are Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and Eddie… Read more »
Jason Z
Guest

In regards to the vote totals, what does Urban Shocker’s mom
have against Ripken.

Steven
Guest

Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken and Harlond Clift.

Richard Chester
Guest

Perhaps it is appropriate to mention here that when Harlond Clift hit 29 homers in 1937 it established a seasonal record for third-basemen. The next year he became the first full-time third-baseman to hit more than 30. Mel Ott also had more than 30 that year but not all of his games were as a third-baseman.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

You can count me as one who never really thought Ripken was deserving of all the attention he got. A good steady player who played forever, sure, and there’s a lot to be said for that no doubt, but I really don’t see him as much more than that, and certainly not as an “inner circle” HOFer. Fairly similar for Brooks Robinson, although at least he had the ability to make spectacular defensive plays that would make you sit up and take notice (unlike Ripken).

My picks:
Frank Robinson–the only “gotta be in there” in my book.
Jim Palmer
George Sisler
Eddie Murray

Michael Sullivan
Guest
yeah, Ripken was just a “really good” defender, at an even more difficult position, but since he didn’t make you “sit up and take notice”, his defense was obviously worth little. I guess being third all time for rfield from the 6 doesn’t really mean much? Take a look at Cal’s 1991. He led the league in TB, as a SHORTSTOP. That was completely unheard of at the time. I think Ripken’s streak was overblown, but he was an incredible baseball player. If anything, all the media harping on the streak has perhaps some fans to overlook just how good… Read more »
Jason Z
Guest

George Will’s 1988 book, Men at Work, examined Cal Ripken as a defender. As I recall he postulated that what made Cal such a great defender, was how he positioned himself. In fact, as I recall, he made the case, before new stat defensive metrics came into vogue, that he was quite valuable defensively.

Without checking the stats, I wonder how George Will’s theories on Cal’s defense are supported by the stats??

It’s been almost 25 years since I read it, and yet I vividly
recall enjoying it.

John Autin
Editor

Ripken’s ’91 was great, but let’s keep some historical perspective.

Honus Wagner led the league in TB 5 times as a SS. Others before Cal: Robin Yount in 1982, Zoilo Versalles in ’65, Ernie Banks in ’58 (with 379 TB, the SS record until 1996), Charlie Hollocher in ’18 and Rogers Hornsby in ’17.

John Autin
Editor

Outside of the Total Bases claim, I generally agree with your points about Ripken. For his first 10 years, he was very consistent at a very high level; he’s one of 5 players with six 6-WAR seasons, which all came by age 30.

And while I think the streak was grossly overcelebrated, the fact that he was available to play every day was quite valuable.

tag
Guest

This is one of the reasons I prefer Santo to Brooks, to go off topic. Although I think WAR remains very sketchy and hardly accurate enough to quote to decimal points, Santo also had six 6 WAR seasons and a very high and consistent peak.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

I’m more than willing to admit that I probably committed a classic knee jerk reaction regarding Ripken and really should examine his numbers, which I’ll try to do if I get some time.

Thomas Court
Guest

A knee jerk reaction keeps Cal Ripken off of your Oriole Mt. Rushmore? Examining his numbers is something you should have done before you cast your ballot.

Please tell me you are not voting in elections that matter.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

Twas dumb no question. I hear they’re considering taking my HOF vote away because of it. Besides, I don’t believe the stone cutters have shown up yet, so surely there’s some slack time here no?

PP
Guest

8 real HOF voters kept him off their ballot too, 16 left Schmidt off, 5 Seaver, 81 Morgan, 9 Hammer, 45 Robby, 43 Mantle, heck it took Mathews 5 tries to get in, and so on

no statistician but
Guest
Walter Johnson got 83 % and Cy Young 76% of the vote in their respective early years. Nolan Ryan—I may be alone in thinking he’s a lower tier HOFer, but no one in his right mind would call him one of the truly elite (except in one department)—received the highest level of approval by the BBWAA, 98.8%. Ripken is highest among position players at 98.5. It all depends on who’s running for office in a given year, who’s voting, who has an ax to grind, who thinks a player shouldn’t get in on his first ballot. I’m no student of… Read more »
Chad
Guest
There are some candidates soon to be put on the ballot that could challenge those voting numbers. Clemens and Bonds, based on performance, could do so – but add in the steroid issues surrounding both, not to mention their prickly personalities, and neither is even a lock to get voted in. However, 2 guys I think that will get as close as anyone to being unanimous (though, of course somebody will not vote for them) are Derek Jeter and Greg Maddux, with an honorable mention to Griffey Jr. Jeter still has to finish his career, and how he does so… Read more »
Nash Bruce
Guest

I could not imagine anyone not voting for Maddux. State your case!

e pluribus munu
Guest
I gave my vote to Sisler over Murray, with Ripken, Brooks, and Palmer for the O’s – special nooks for Pete Gray and Eddie Gaedel, physically the most unusual ballplayers ever to appear in the Majors. Voting for Sisler wasn’t just nostalgia for the Browns – a team I don’t actually remember. Sisler was a spectacular athlete – an outstanding pitching prospect who started well in the Majors – he became famous for outduelling Walter johnson twice – but was converted because his bat was too good (as Ruth later was). At his peak he was significantly greater than Murray,… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Sisler may not be one of the four most important people in franchise history, but I also voted for him, to “represent” the 50+ years of the Browns.

If he hadn’t suffered from sinusitis, and had a normal career progression from ages 30-38, he might have finished with over 3,500 career hits, a career BA about the same as Hornsby (.358), and a reputation closer to Cobb and Speaker. It all speculative, of course.

Jason Z
Guest
@39-half the 1920 Chisox staff was Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams who never played again after being suspended for life due to their roles in the previous years Black Sox scandal. Also, while they did have four SP win at least 20 games each, Dickie Kerr as the fourth starter only started 27 games, and appeared in 18 more finishing 14. Kerr won 21 games that season, and a quick check of his game logs, reveals that four of his wins came in relief. Meanwhile the Orioles quartet of 20 game winners did indeed garner all their wins as starting… Read more »
MikeD
Guest

Iron Man, Underwear guy, and the two Robinsons.

Yes, I dared to leave the steady one off the list.

Nash Bruce
Guest

Earl Weaver’s vote % currently stands at 8.27%. Would that be the highest% for a manager thus far?
Wanted to give Earl my vote, but I accidentally clicked ‘vote’, without Earl’s box checked. Murray got my vote instead 🙁

(In an effort to correct my mistake, I found out that, unlike Chicago, one cannot ‘vote early, and often’ on this site…..damn.)

bstar
Guest

I went with Weaver, breaking my own rule of not voting for managers. That left Murray out, which I feel bad about but I just think Earl Weaver was that good. Ripken, Brooks, Palmer, Weaver.

Gabriel
Guest

Connie Mack made it on to the A’s Mt Rushmore (10.56% of the vote). I voted for Weaver as well. I don’t think any other non-players have done better than Weaver off the top of my head and I’m not sure we’ll see any more — it takes the right combination of not having 4 clear-cut amazing players plus also having a non-player who really was a face and a force in the franchise.

Phil
Guest

I voted for Weaver simply because there’s nobody I more automatically think of in an Orioles cap–not even Ripken or Brooks Robinson.

kds
Guest

Maybe we’ll have special rules when we get to the Chi Sox. Pay Andy enough and you can have multiple votes, pay him even more and some of your opponents will be eliminated. Don’t pay him enough and you better pack your instrument case for San Diego.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

Were one in a rash state of mind, one might be tempted to go with Palmer, McNally, Cuellar, and Dobson, the 4 20 game winners of 1969.

tag
Guest

Jim, that was suggested above and is certainly not the worst idea ever.

You could also go with Brooks, Ripken, Grich and Murray and – heh heh – cover every base. I mean, that’s one hell of an infield, especially defensively.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

That is an infield for the ages Tag, no question about it. It hadn’t even occurred to me.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

…except that the last two are not listed on the ballot (see my #21 above).

tag
Guest

I wanted to vote for Veeck again (I voted for him with the White Sox) and indeed would have had he succeeded in forcing the Cardinals out of St. Louis. Since he didn’t, I’ll go with Ripken, Brooks, Palmer and Earl.

Earl’s sound and fury (and his discussions with Thomas Boswell) were franchise defining, and he was the baseball mind of his generation. I also loved Mark Belanger, who I still maintain was better defensively than Ozzie.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

Veeck tried to force the Cardinals out of St Louis? Tell more!

This post has gotten me thinking about those Orioles teams from 1969 to 1971. Man those were those good baseball teams. I was fortunate enough to see game 2 of the 1970 WS against the Reds, the only series they won out of the 3 attempts in those years, but they were very clearly the best team in baseball at that time.

no statistician but
Guest
When I was in grade school in the 1950s I came across a book in the school library, published in 1943 (there’s some irony for you) that had a chapter about each franchise’s greatest pennant winner. I still remember the title of the chapter on the Browns, “Close, but No Cigar,” in which the 1922 team was chronicled. They lost to the Yankees that year by one game, but if the BR-Ref pythagorean rating decided things they would have won by seven. Several thoughts come to mind: If they had won that pennant would the history of the franchise have… Read more »
Doug
Guest
The Browns benefited from a 23 game home stand to close out the 1922 season. They went 16-7 but ultimately ended up a game short. That key series of that home stand was a 3 game set with the Yankees on Sep 16-18. The Browns took the first two games to pull within a half game of New York, and took a 2-1 lead into the 9th inning of the 3rd game, but couldn’t hold it as the Yanks pulled off a 3-2 comeback win that would turn out to be the difference in the race. (Reliever Hub Pruett came… Read more »
Steven
Guest

When I was a kid, writers for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Globe-Democrat (mainly Bob Broeg and Bob Burnes) would periodically get nostalgic for the “Old Brownies,” and talk about the 1922 team, in particular. In addition to Sisler, they had an outstanding outfield consisting of Jack Tobin, Ken Williams and Baby Doll (now there’s a nickname) Jacobson. Sisler hit .420, led the league in stolen bases, and Ken Williams led in homers (39) and RBI (155).

Brent
Guest

I think the Browns letting Branch Rickey go to the Cardinals in 1920 was a bigger reason than the 1922 pennant that the Cardinals ended up owning St. Louis. He built the “captive” farm system for the Cardinals and the teams that understood and used that innovation (the Cardinals, the Yankees), thrived for the next 25 to 30 years (and beyond). The teams that didn’t (like the Browns) eventually were run out of town.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Veeck described his goals and strategy in “Veeck, as in Wreck,” one of the best baseball books ever. He was counting on exploiting the stupidity of the Cards’ owner, Fred Saigh. Veeck describes various clever tactics he used and the progress he had made in his campaign when Saigh completely screwed up the plan by going to jail and selling the Cardinals to August Busch and his endless bankroll.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
Belanger indeed may have been a better defensive SS than Ozzie, but his career wasn’t quite long enough (2,573 to 2,016 games) to earn in the general public’s mind the title “Greatest Defensive Shortstop of All-Time”. I know many people here don’t like WAR, but Rfield does make a case for Belanger’s defensive peak (six best years) being better: BELANGER: 32, 27, 26, 26, 24, 24 OZZIE:… 32, 21, 21, 20, 18, 16 It is logically inconsistent that because Ozzie was a better hitter, he was able to play longer and increase his defensive reputation. I don’t know how to… Read more »
tag
Guest

Belanger, of course, played on all grass/dirt infields until relatively late in his career, and did so back when baseball fields were less meticulously manicured and more all-purpose, especially during the late summer/early fall when several of them hosted football games. (I remember seeing the Cubs at Wrigley Field a couple of days after the Bears had played on it; my high school field never looked so bad.)

Ozzie was quick and acrobatic and the avatar SS on artificial turf – he was born for the highlight reel – but I thought Belanger was more well-rounded defensively.

BryanM
Guest
Brooks , Palmer, Ripken and Weaver — Maybe Brooks wasn’t the second best 3rd baseman ever, but he sure was fun to watch on defense; and I think I’d rather have him on my team than any other except Schmidt – he made the people around him better — not something you could say about Palmer – who , if someone else called him an egotistical jerk, that someone would not be likely to get into a fistfight with me but he could sure pitch. Easiest call is Weaver — one of the very few managerial greats of the game… Read more »
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