The Mr. Journeyman Derby

Bobo Newsom

Bobo Newsom

If you’ve ever wondered about who are the most well-traveled ballplayers, well you’ve come to the right post.

My favorite journeyman is good ol’ boy Bobo Newsom on the left, there. His career spanned 25 years during which he played on 9 clubs, switched teams 16 times, and never stayed on the same club for more than 3 consecutive seasons. He even had multiple stints with 4 different organizations, and was once traded for two brothers, one (the wrong one) a future HOFer.

After the jump, I’ll introduce you to a number of other journeymen, some unfamiliar and some who need no introduction.

WARNING: what follows is entirely for fun and written 100% tongue in cheek. Remember, you were warned.

On B-R (and other sites, no doubt), you can find lists of the most teams that a player has played for. That’s fine for a career journeyman measure. But, a real journeyman ALWAYS has his bags packed, never knowing where he may be headed next.

This post is a 5-round race to determine Mr. Journeyman, the player to play for the most franchises in a 5-year period. We’ll go one round at a time, so you can see the guys who jump out to a fast start and then fade, and others with more staying power. But, don’t forget about the guys who hang back, waiting to make a final charge to the finish line.

Round 1

It’s a perfect evening at the track for today’s running of the Mr. Journeyman Derby. It’s a grueling 5 round event in quest of the prestigious Mr. Journeyman Cup.

We’re just about ready and, yes, they’re off and running, as we look for players with the most teams in a single season.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 George Strief 4 1884 1884 27-27 86 342 .189 .237 .273 .510 /*74583 STL-CLV-CPI-KCC
2 Harry Wheeler 4 1884 1884 26-26 73 316 .244 .263 .305 .568 /*8971 KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
3 Tom Dowse 4 1892 1892 25-25 65 238 .165 .193 .178 .372 /*23947 CIN-LOU-PHI-WHS
4 Frank Huelsman 4 1904 1904 30-30 112 438 .245 .311 .343 .654 /*798 CHW-DET-SLB-WSH
5 Willis Hudlin 4 1940 1940 34-34 19 24 .143 .182 .143 .325 /*1 CLE-WSH-NYG-SLB
6 Paul Lehner 4 1951 1951 30-30 65 203 .172 .247 .250 .497 /879 SLB-PHA-CLE-CHW
7 Ted Gray 4 1955 1955 30-30 14 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 NYY-CLE-CHW-BAL
8 Wes Covington 4 1961 1961 29-29 105 321 .270 .329 .433 .762 /97 PHI-MLN-KCA-CHW
9 Mike Kilkenny 4 1972 1972 27-27 29 16 .071 .071 .071 .143 /*1 CLE-DET-OAK-SDP
10 Dave Kingman 4 1977 1977 28-28 132 481 .221 .276 .444 .720 /739D5 CAL-NYY-NYM-SDP
11 Dave Martinez 4 2000 2000 35-35 132 513 .274 .346 .370 .716 *9/378 CHC-TOR-TEX-TBD
12 Dan Miceli 4 2003 2003 32-32 57 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 HOU-COL-NYY-CLE
13 Jose Bautista 4 2004 2004 23-23 64 96 .205 .263 .239 .502 /9578D PIT-TBD-KCR-BAL
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

As you can see, everyone from Cap Anson to Bryce Harper is eligible. I’ve highlighted number 4, Frank Huelsman because it appears that his four teams were really equivalent to a season playing for five teams. His B-R page appears to indicate that he went from Chicago to Detroit, back to Chicago, then to St. Louis and finally Washington. Watch out for the powerful  Joey Bats in round 2.

Round 2

Now we’re looking at most teams played for in any two consecutive seasons.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 5 1881 1882 24-25 47 180 .093 .183 .093 .276 /546897 BUF-WOR-CLV-PHA-LOU
2 Harry Wheeler 5 1883 1884 25-26 155 693 .234 .250 .292 .541 /*78914 COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
3 George Strief 5 1884 1885 27-28 130 526 .219 .262 .310 .572 /7456893 KCC-CPI-CLV-STL-PHA
4 Tom Dowse 5 1891 1892 24-25 120 454 .193 .233 .216 .449 /*23974 COL-WHS-LOU-CIN-PHI
5 Paul Lehner 5 1951 1952 30-31 68 208 .180 .261 .257 .518 /879 SLB-PHA-CLE-CHW-BOS
6 Hoot Evers 5 1954 1955 33-34 147 365 .227 .286 .385 .671 /798 NYG-DET-BOS-CLE-BAL
7 Ted Gray 5 1954 1955 29-30 33 25 .040 .040 .040 .080 /*1 DET-NYY-CLE-CHW-BAL
8 Eddie Robinson 5 1956 1957 35-36 137 310 .196 .304 .321 .625 /*3 NYY-KCA-DET-CLE-BAL
9 Bob Miller 5 1970 1971 31-32 94 48 .125 .222 .125 .347 /*1 CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT
10 Willie Horton 5 1977 1978 34-35 255 998 .273 .322 .413 .735 *D/7 TEX-DET-TOR-OAK-CLE
11 Dave Kingman 5 1977 1978 28-29 251 929 .242 .305 .490 .796 *7/39D5 SDP-NYM-NYY-CAL-CHC
12 Steve Carlton 5 1986 1987 41-42 64 47 .200 .217 .289 .506 /*1 SFG-PHI-CHW-MIN-CLE
13 Pat Borders 5 1995 1996 32-33 139 421 .246 .279 .357 .636 *2/D3 HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL
14 Dave Martinez 5 2000 2001 35-36 252 772 .278 .346 .375 .721 *9/738D CHC-TOR-TEX-TBD-ATL
15 Bruce Chen 5 2002 2003 25-26 71 18 .313 .313 .375 .688 /*1 NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
16 Dan Miceli 5 2002 2003 31-32 66 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 TEX-HOU-COL-NYY-CLE
17 Octavio Dotel 5 2010 2011 36-37 133 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Wow, lots of rabbits in round 1. Only the 19th century guys and a couple of Daves, Kingman(!) and Martinez, carried over from round 1. But, the race is still wide open, including the last guy on the list who, with 13 teams on his resume, figures to have some staying power. Also nice to see Eddie Robinson here to represent the Kansas City-New York shuttle. And with World Series MVP Pat Borders and HOFer Steve Carlton, this is really shaping up as an interesting race.

Round 3

On we go to 3 seasons. It’s still anybody’s race.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 6 1880 1882 23-25 130 520 .169 .208 .226 .433 /*456897 CIN-CLV-WOR-BUF-PHA-LOU
2 Pop Smith 6 1881 1883 24-26 144 607 .213 .265 .319 .584 /*4568917 BUF-CLV-WOR-LOU-PHA-COL
3 Harry Wheeler 6 1882 1884 24-26 231 1044 .239 .255 .313 .568 /798314 CIN-COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
4 Tom Dowse 6 1890 1892 23-25 160 626 .197 .243 .220 .463 *2/937841 CLV-COL-WHS-PHI-LOU-CIN
5 Bob Johnson 6 1967 1969 31-33 239 569 .307 .342 .388 .730 /5436 NYM-BAL-CIN-ATL-STL-OAK
6 Bob Miller 6 1969 1971 30-32 142 82 .070 .143 .070 .213 *1 MIN-CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT
7 Willie Horton 6 1977 1979 34-36 417 1694 .275 .324 .431 .755 *D/7 TEX-DET-TOR-OAK-CLE-SEA
8 Pat Borders 6 1994 1996 31-33 224 732 .247 .281 .345 .626 *2/D3 TOR-HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL
9 Pat Borders 6 1995 1997 32-34 194 591 .260 .297 .377 .674 *2/D3 HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL-CLE
10 Terry Clark 6 1995 1997 34-36 71 1 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 /*1 ATL-BAL-HOU-KCR-TEX-CLE
11 Danny Darwin 6 1995 1997 39-41 85 75 .164 .164 .284 .448 /*1 TOR-TEX-PIT-HOU-SFG-CHW
12 Shawon Dunston 6 1997 1999 34-36 334 987 .288 .306 .440 .746 6/7849D35 PIT-CHC-SFG-CLE-STL-NYM
13 Jorge Fabregas 6 1997 1999 27-29 279 854 .226 .276 .313 .589 *2/3 CHW-ANA-NYM-ARI-FLA-ATL
14 John Mabry 6 2000 2002 29-31 293 652 .242 .299 .428 .727 9/375D81 SDP-SEA-STL-FLA-PHI-OAK
15 Dan Miceli 6 2001 2003 30-32 117 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 FLA-COL-TEX-HOU-NYY-CLE
16 Bruce Chen 6 2001 2003 24-26 98 70 .175 .175 .190 .365 /*1 PHI-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
17 Bruce Chen 6 2002 2004 25-27 79 18 .313 .313 .375 .688 /*1 NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
18 Jorge Julio 6 2006 2008 27-29 157 3 .000 .667 .000 .667 *1 NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE
19 Octavio Dotel 6 2009 2011 35-37 195 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
20 Octavio Dotel 6 2010 2012 36-38 190 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
21 Chad Qualls 6 2010 2012 31-33 207 0 *1 TBR-ARI-SDP-PIT-PHI-NYY
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Whoa! Didn’t even notice old Pop Smith sneak in there in round 2. And with two entries, he looks really good for the next round, too. Same goes for Pat Borders, Bruce Chen and (I warned you about him) Octavio Dotel.

Round 4

So, we know we’ll get 7 teams in 4 years, but do I hear 8?

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 7 1880 1883 23-26 227 947 .211 .249 .309 .558 *4/568917 CIN-BUF-CLV-WOR-LOU-PHA-COL
2 Bob Miller 7 1970 1973 31-34 171 55 .109 .196 .109 .305 *1 CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT-NYM-DET
3 Pat Borders 7 1994 1997 31-34 279 902 .256 .292 .360 .653 *2/D3 TOR-HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL-CLE
4 Danny Darwin 7 1994 1997 38-41 98 75 .164 .164 .284 .448 /*1 BOS-TOR-TEX-PIT-HOU-SFG-CHW
5 Todd Zeile 7 1995 1998 29-32 594 2502 .263 .345 .435 .780 *5/37 STL-CHC-PHI-BAL-LAD-FLA-TEX
6 Jorge Fabregas 7 1997 2000 27-30 322 1006 .235 .283 .322 .605 *2/3D CHW-ANA-NYM-ARI-FLA-ATL-KCR
7 Bruce Chen 7 2000 2003 23-26 135 108 .129 .138 .140 .278 *1 PHI-ATL-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
8 Bruce Chen 7 2001 2004 24-27 106 70 .175 .175 .190 .365 *1 PHI-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
9 Jorge Julio 7 2005 2008 26-29 224 3 .000 .667 .000 .667 *1 BAL-NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE
10 Jorge Julio 7 2006 2009 27-30 172 4 .000 .500 .000 .500 *1 NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE-MIL
11 Kip Wells 7 2006 2009 29-32 102 89 .238 .238 .288 .525 *1 PIT-TEX-STL-COL-KCR-WSN-CIN
12 Octavio Dotel 7 2009 2012 35-38 252 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Guess not. But, there’s Todd Zeile coming out of nowhere. And with 2500 PA, no less. This must make Todd the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball. Yes, we want you in the lineup everyday. Until we don’t, that is. Bruce Chen is still looking strong, and now Jorge Julio has moved up to challenge. Still too close to call, though.

Round 5

Last round to determine Mr. Journeyman. All wagers in, and we’re off.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Harry Wheeler 8 1880 1884 22-26 249 1113 .231 .245 .301 .547 7/98314 CLV-CIN-COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
2 Bob Miller 8 1969 1973 30-34 219 89 .065 .133 .065 .197 *1 MIN-CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT-NYM-DET
3 Bruce Chen 8 2000 2004 23-27 143 108 .129 .138 .140 .278 *1 PHI-ATL-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
4 Rick White 8 2002 2006 33-37 304 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
5 Jorge Julio 8 2005 2009 26-30 239 4 .000 .500 .000 .500 *1 BAL-NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE-MIL
6 Russell Branyan 8 2007 2011 31-35 432 1425 .234 .330 .488 .818 3/5D7 STL-SDP-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
7 Octavio Dotel 8 2007 2011 33-37 300 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

There you have it. A dead heat. Harry Wheeler, among the early leaders, made it all the way back. And look at that – Rick White and Russell Branyan have come out of the pack in the final round. With his 300+ appearances in 5 years, White is definitely another in the Rodney Dangerfield class.

We’ll have to go to a tie-breaker. But, wait! What’s this? Yes, a challenge flag has been thrown. Just hang on a moment while I sort this out. ……. Indeed, the challenge is that I can’t count. Harry Wheeler is showing as playing for 8 teams, but only 7 are shown. This one is going upstairs for further review. ….. Upon further review, the ruling on the track stands – 8 teams for Harry Wheeler. But, how can it be? It seems that Harry played for both the NL and AA Cincinnati clubs, and both are shown in B-R as CIN (memo to Sean Forman: let’s get that fixed).

Anyway, back to the tie-breaker. It’s a sudden death round as we go to 6 seasons for only these qualifiers. Unfortunately, Harry Wheeler, Bob Miller, Bruce Chen and Jorge Julio cannot improve on 8 teams, so they’re out.

So, it’s down to the final three of Rick White, Russell Branyan and Octavio Dotel. The tension is excruciating as P-I churns through the permutations. But, yes I believe we have a result. Yes, here it is.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Rick White 9 2001 2006 32-37 359 6 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 NYM-STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
2 Rick White 9 2002 2007 33-38 333 4 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN-SEA
3 Kenny Lofton 9 2002 2007 35-40 737 3021 .293 .360 .418 .779 *8/79D SFG-CHW-PIT-CHC-NYY-PHI-LAD-TEX-CLE
4 Russell Branyan 9 2006 2011 30-35 523 1707 .233 .330 .490 .820 35/D97 SDP-TBD-STL-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
5 Octavio Dotel 9 2006 2011 32-37 314 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 NYY-ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
6 Octavio Dotel 9 2007 2012 33-38 357 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 KCR-ATL-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

I was afraid this might happen. We’re still tied. But wait, what’s this? A late entry for Kenny Lofton? The judges are looking into this. …. sorry Kenny, you have been disqualified, as you weren’t among the top finishers at the end of the regulation 5 rounds.

So, for the second tie-breaker, it’s down to the battle of the pluses. It’s Russell Branyan’s OPS+ against ERA+ for Rick White and Octavio Dotel (I think that gulping sound you just heard was Rick White).

So, here it is, our final result.

Rk Player Count Plus From To Age Pos Teams
1 Rick White 9 95 2001 2006 32-37 *1 NYM-STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
2 Rick White 9 88 2002 2007 33-38 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN-SEA
3 Russell Branyan 9 119 2006 2011 30-35 35/D97 SDP-TBD-STL-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
4 Octavio Dotel 9 111 2006 2011 32-37 *1 NYY-ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
5 Octavio Dotel 9 118 2007 2012 33-38 *1 KCR-ATL-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

What a squeaker. Russell Branyan just edges Octavio Dotel by the slimmest of margins, 119 to 118. Rick White is well back and will have to settle for 3rd place (did White really get 350+ appearances with that ERA+ ?)

We’re going down now to our trackside reporter. He’s trying to make his way through the crowd and get a few words with our winner.

HHS: “Russell, congratulations! What a race.”

RB: “Wow. Was that ever close. I was really worried when it got to the second tie-breaker. Thought I might have blown it with that 84 OPS+ in my last year. But, what can I say. It all worked out.”

HHS: “You almost didn’t make it into the playoff. You just squeaked in on the last round.”

RB: “Right. Arizona picked me up for that 2011 season, and I was like 0 for May and wondering if I still had it. But I broke out of it in that win over the Braves with the big hit in the 11th off Craig Kimbrel, and I guess that was all the Angels needed to see. Compared to Vernon Wells, I suppose I looked pretty hot. Anyway, that was the move that got me into the playoff round, so thank you Angels.”

HHS: “Thanks Russell. Enjoy the moment. Back to you, Doug.”

Well, there you have it folks. Big upset tonight, with Rusell Branyan edging out favorite Octavio Dotel. Good night, everyone.

53 thoughts on “The Mr. Journeyman Derby

  1. 1
    Richard Chester says:

    Since 1901 Newsom is one of two players to lose 20 games in a season for three different teams. Chick Fraser is the other.

    • 2
      Doug says:

      Fraser gets the tie-break for losing 20 in 3 consecutive seasons. Irv Young and Casey Patten are the only others to lose 20 three years running.

      Also an honorable mention for Tom Hughes. He lost 20 for the Cubs and Sens and had a third 20-loss season in which his split time between the Sens and Highlanders.

  2. 3
    John Autin says:

    We have a lotta fun with ol’ Bobo, and that’s right and just.

    But in 1940, he damn near carried Detroit to a championship. After a 21-5 season (and MLB ERA+ title), he started 3 WS games and won the first 2. Game 7, on one day’s rest, he had a 1-0 lead, nine outs away from 2nd straight shutout. But the Reds had other plans.

    Bobo is one of 8 pitchers to throw 3 CGs of 2 runs or less in a single WS. He’s also the only guy to lose a sudden-death WS CG of 2 runs or less.

    • 4
      Doug says:

      Indeed, John.

      That game 7 was a rematch of game 1 when Newsom outclassed Paul Derringer. But, revenge is sweet.

      Derringer also made his 3rd start in game 7, and his 2nd straight on 2 days rest (evidently Cincinnati to Detroit was considered an easy road trip – there were no off days in the series).

      Cincinnati had a loaded pitching staff, with Derringer and Bucky Walters both winning 20 and the next two starters combining for 30 more wins. Detroit had Schoolboy Rowe and Tommy Bridges behind Bobo, and a couple of really young kids (19 year-old Hal Newhouser and 20 year-old Fred Hutchinson), who contributed 30 starts during the season but only one inning of relief in the series.

    • 11
      Doug says:

      John, I took a closer look at that game 7, and there was some interesting managerial moves there. Probably quite different from how the same scenario would play out today.

      The Reds had just tied the game in the home 7th and had a runner on 2nd with nobody out and the number 6 hitter coming up. Reds manager Bill McKechnie chooses to sacrifice the runner to 3rd, a move I doubt any manager would make today. In the 9th inning certainly, and possibly in the 8th, but, unless it was the #8 or #9 hitter coming up, the 7th just seems too early to try a one-run gambit.

      Next, Tigers manager Del Baker (first time I’ve heard that name, I think) responds by intentionally walking the number 7 hitter, but NOT doing the same with the number 8 hitter. Today, managers would likely make the same move, preferring, in most cases, to pitch to the number 8 hitter instead of whoever might pinch-hit for the pitcher. But, in 1940, you know the pitcher in a 1-1 game is going to hit for himself, so why not also walk the number 8 hitter?

      I suspect Baker reasoned that, with one out, Reds’ pitcher Derringer would not move the bat off his shoulder and Newsom would either walk him or strike him out. Either way, Newsom would then have to face leadoff hitter Billy Werber (12 HR, .361 OBP) with the bases loaded. With those choices, I can see Baker preferring to pitch with one out to the #8 man Billy Myers (the quintessential SS whose defensive flair can’t make you forget he’s hitting .203, or however that ditty went, except that Myers actually hit .202), than to pitch to Werber with two out. So, despite the fact that Myers came through with the sac fly, I like Baker’s move which, ironically, is the same one that many times would be made today, but for quite different reasons.

      • 13
        John Autin says:

        Doug, I’d guess that you’re 100% right about Del Baker preferring to face Billy Myers — who, besides hitting an uncharacteristic .202 that year, was also 3 for 22 in the Series so far — plus pitcher Derringer, rather than Derringer plus (unless a DP) leadoff man Werber.

        And I agree that Derringer likely would have hit for himself had the game still been tied when he came up. In the ’39 Series, game 1, tied 1-1 after 8 innings, Derringer led off the top of the 9th and made out.

        BTW, the Yanks won that game in the bottom of the 9th, another inning that’s ripe for analysis. Keller tripled with 1 out, and McKechnie IBB’d DiMaggio but not Dickey, who singled to win it.

        Hitting behind Dickey was George Selkirk, a darn good hitter himself, very similar to Dickey both that year and carer. Both were lefties, and Dickey was probably the better DP candidate, so I wouldn’t second-guess the decision not to walk Dickey.

        But what about a lefty to face Dickey and Selkirk? Neither had hit lefties well that year, and Selkirk was somewhat of a platoon guy throughout his career. And I don’t think Joe McCarthy had any good RHBs on his bench.

        • 17
          DOug says:


          You’re right that the Yanks had very little on the bench. Only Jake Powell and rookie backup catcher Buddy Rosar from the right side and Tommy Henrich from the left. Possibly their best option might have been Wes Ferrell, but they released him in mid-season.

          The Reds had Milt Shoffner as their lefty reliever. They picked him up late in the year and he had been reasonably effective with a 117 ERA+, although he wasn’t going to blow it by anybody with a 1.4 SO/9.

          So, going to Shoffner might have been the move to make. Possibly, McCarthy sends up Rosar to hit for Dickey, but somehow I doubt it. So, would have made for a more uncomfortable AB for Dickey, if nothing else.

          • 19
            Richard Chester says:

            Rosar PHing for Dickey would be like sending Charlie Silvera in to PH for Yogi.

          • 23
            Doug says:

            That bad, huh!

            The Yankees certainly used Rosar more than a typical backup. Started 26 games as a rookie, and would start over 50 in each of his next 3 seasons. No power but a decent on-base guy, over .350 OBP in ’39, ’40 and ’41.

          • 26
            Richard Chester says:

            Doug: Rosar and Silvera were similar batters with similar career slash stats. Rosar joined the Yankees towards the end of Dickey’s career and he (Dickey)was rested frequently. Silvera, on the other hand, joined the Yankees just as Berra was approaching his peak years so he (Silvera) got little playing time. Silvera was one of those guys who was happy just to wear the Yankee uniform.

        • 20
          Ed says:

          John A. (#13)

          “But what about a lefty to face Dickey and Selkirk? Neither had hit lefties well that year,”

          But how would anyone have known that? I’m sure that in 1939 they would have had general knowledge of platoon advantages but I’m quite doubtful that anyone had detailed platoon info for batters.

          Beyond that, Derringer finished #3 in the MVP race that year. Shoffner, the only lefty in the pen according to Doug, was a journeyman who was picked up off of waivers in mid-August and had only pitched 10 games for Cincinnati (as a starter and in middle relief). Also, Shoffner hadn’t pitched in about 11 days.

          So I think McKechnie made the right move there. In a crucial situation, stick with your ace over someone without much of a track record who may be a bit rusty.

          • 24
            Ed says:

            Actually I think McKechnie made a really poor decision in game 4. The Reds were down 3 games to zero so their backs were against the wall. They fell behind 2-0 in game 4, but rallied in the 7th to take a 3-2 lead. That rally included pinch hitting for Derringer. So they needed a new pitcher for the 8th inning. McKechnie brought in Bucky Walters. (In post #20, I referred to Derringer as the staff ace but really it was Walters who won the MVP that year.)

            I really don’t understand bringing Walters into the game. For one thing, he had pitched 8 innings a few days before so he likely was tired. Secondly he was slated to start game 5, if the series went that far. I realize the Reds needed to win game 4 to get to game 5 but I also think you need to look a little bit ahead. Walters was by far the Reds best option for game 5 but now you’re using him up to close out game 4.

            Walters pitches a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th and the Reds score a run in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-2. So what happens in the 9th? McKechnie sends Walters back out there! Why??? You now have a two run lead (much safer), and Walters has only thrown to 3 batters so he’s probably still good to go for the hypothetical game 5. Walters proceeds to give up two runs (with a little help from the defense) making it 4-4. The Reds fail to score in the 9th so the game goes to the 10th. McKechnie sends Walters out AGAIN! This time he gives up 3 runs (again with some help from the defense) and the series is over.

          • 27
            Doug says:

            Yes, it does seem Shoffner was their only lefty. I’m guessing they may have picked him up anticipating facing the Yankees. But, the Reds never used him in the World Series, in ’39 or in ’40.

          • 31
            Ed says:

            Speaking of the 1940 Reds….they had a pitcher named Jim Turner who had an interesting career. Turner’s minor league career began in 1923 at the age of 19. Turner won over 200 minor league games before finally reaching the majors at age 33.

            And what a first year he had! Pitching for the Boston Bees/Braves, Turner went 20-11, finishing 4th in the MVP race and leading the league in ERA, complete games, shutouts, WHIP, ERA+, and WAR for pitchers. Turner never duplicated his first year but continued pitching in the majors till age 41, finishing with a career 69-60 record.

            The following year, at age 42, Turner was back in the minors, going 11-3 with a 1.94 ERA at AA. Should I mention that he also managed the team?

            A few years later Turner became the Yankees pitching coach, serving in that capacity from 1949-1959 and also from 1966-1973. Between those two stints, he was the Reds pitching coach from 1961-1965. Overall he was the pitching coach for 10 pennant winners.

            I really think the HOF needs to find a way to honor guys like Jim Turner. Maybe not in the traditional sense. But there has to be room somewhere in the HOF for guys like Turner, who dedicate over 50 years of their lives to professional baseball and who never give up on their dream of being a major leaguer.

    • 18
      Doug says:

      Despite the disappointment in 1940, Bobo did eventually get a WS ring with the 1947 Yankees, albeit in a support role. I read that the Yankees voted Newsom only a half-share of their WS check, as Bobo had been picked up at mid-season. Newsom wasn’t pleased and demanded his release (as he did at the end of just about every season at the end of his career).

      Newsom reasoned he could command better offers from a team that didn’t have to give up anything to get him, than take a contract offer from his current team who would undoubtedly cite his limited role to justify their minimal offer. Who says there were no free agents before Andy Messersmith? Newosm signed on as a free agent 4 times, all after age 38 and the last just shy of his 45th birthday.

    • 30
      bstar says:

      Man oh man, if you’ve never indulged yourself in the SABR bio of Bobo the Bombastic, you’re in for a fun ride:

      • 32
        PP says:

        Was wondering why I couldn’t figure out the other pitcher besides Bobo who had 200 wins with more losses. Had to look it up. Jack Powell 245 – 254. I thought it was Hough (216 – 216) or Friend (197 – 230). Tanana was 240 – 236. 45 pitchers with 200 losses, 111 with 200 wins. My guess is half of those with 200 losses have 300 wins or close to it.

        • 34
          bstar says:

          Your guess looks about right, PP. 17 of the 200-loss guys are 300-game winners and 24 of the 45 have 280+ wins.

          Excluding dead-ballers Cy Young and Pud Galvin, PP, care to guess who has the most losses in the live-ball era?

  3. 5
    Luis Gomez says:

    “Compared to Vernon Wells, I suppose I looked pretty hot.”

    Hey Doug, you made me spit my coffee all over my wife´s laptop. That line was hillarious!

  4. 6
    Jimbo says:

    The whole time I was wondering when lofting would show up.

  5. 7
    GrandyMan says:

    Is it possible to do a P-I search that will return all players who have played at least a certain number of seasons?

    This comment may seem off-topic, but if I can do such a search, then I could write a comment that is on-topic.

    • 8
      Doug says:

      Sure. That one is easy.

      On the Batting or Pitching Season Finder, just set whatever date range you want and no other parameters, and select Find Players with Most Seasons Matching Criteria.

      • 12
        GrandyMan says:

        Looking at Bobo Newsom’s career, I noticed that he had five stints with the Washington Senators which began in three different decades.

        I was going to make a list of players who had played three different stints with one team beginning in three different decades, but I just realized that to accomplish this, a player only needs to play at least 12 consecutive seasons, or 3 non-consecutive seasons. There goes that idea…

        However, along the way, I found out that Tim Raines played for one team in four different decades (Montreal; 1979-90, 2001), which surprised me. The other players to do this, of course, were Williams, Collins, and Minoso.

        • 14
          Richard Chester says:

          Concerning three different stints with a team in three different decades:
          If you consider the start of a decade with a year that ends in 1 then Al Simmons did it with the A’s. His three stints began in 1924, 1940 and 1944.
          If you consider the start of a decade with a year that ends in 0 then Luis Polonia did it with the Yankees. His three stints began in 1989, 1994 and 2000.

          • 15
            mosc says:

            You can count ricky too. 1979 with the A’s, then his next one was 1989 and then in 1994. He came back AGAIN in 1998, nearly four decades covered. If the A’s had brought him back to “finish his career” like some guys get to do say instead of a few at bats for the 2003 padres, he could have started stints with the A’s in 4 different decades. As it stood, 4 different stints in three different decades is pretty crazy already.

          • 21
            GrandyMan says:

            Before I aborted my mission, I also came across Harold Baines. He had three different stints in three decades with the Pale Hose that all ended in the same decade they began (1980-89, 1996-97, and 2000-01).

          • 22
            GrandyMan says:

            And, for good measure, Baines and Minoso played together in both of Minoso’s games in 1980 – a connection that spans six decades of White Sox baseball.

          • 25
            Doug says:

            Tony Fernandez had four stints with Toronto, 1983-90, 1993, 1998-99 and 2001.

          • 29
            Doug says:

            Darren Oliver played in Texas 1993-98, 2000-01 and 2010-11.

            Of course, Minnie Minoso had 5 stints with the White Sox, in the 50s, two in the 60s, and the cameos in 1976 and 1980.

        • 16
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          Bobo Newsom – someone needs to add the obligatory “He had almost as many terms as a Senator as Strom Thurmond”.

          Totally gratuitous and off-subject, but it was 49 years ago today that the Beatles landed in NYC for their legendary first Ed Sullivan TV appearance. The four Ed Sullivan’s in B-R were minor leaguers, and none were playing in 1964,though 🙁 .

          • 28
            Doug says:

            John Lennon played a couple of seasons in the Giants organization in the mid-fifties. Batted .273 for Muskogee, OK in the Sooner State League and St. Cloud MN in the Northern League.

            George Harrison went 1-4, 5.74 foe Greenville NC in the Coastal Plain League in 1948.

  6. 9
    bstar says:

    Enjoyed the format of this one, Doug, although I was expecting Mike Morgan to show up sooner or later on one of the lists.

    • 10
      Doug says:

      Thanks, bstar. It really didn’t start out this way, but by the time I had run 600 or 700 queries or whatever it was, well it was enough to make anyone a little silly.

      I’m just glad I could finally answer the question of the most teams played for in a single season. I had been frustrated that the Franchise Count field was only available for careers until I realized (duh!!!) that I could control the length of “careers” to whatever I wanted. After that, this was easy to do, though rather monotonous.

      As for Morgan, he played for lots of teams, but over 22 seasons, so his team changes weren’t as compressed in time as some others. Nonetheless, he did split time between two teams in 3 of 4 seasons (1995-98), but in two of those instances he started the season with the same team he had finished up with the year before. So, that hurt his team count.

  7. 33
    TheGoof says:

    But wouldn’t the LOWER plus be more indicative of a journeyman?

  8. 35
    JasonZ says:

    BStar-could you be talking about the highly overrated Nolan Ryan??

  9. 39
    JasonZ says:

    Nolan Ryan…

    Old stat…
    14-13 WL record per 162 games

    New stat…

    Career ERA+ 112, helped by the Texas years.

  10. 40
    JasonZ says:

    Nolan Ryan pitched 27 seasons.

    7 times he had an ERA plus of greater than 120.

    His HOF vote percentage is a joke.

    I am a huge Tom Seaver fan and spent countless
    hours the last 25 years debating a friend who thinks Ryan was better.

    I never will convince him.

    • 41
      mosc says:

      It’s not the hall of stats. There are certainly people on here who want it to be. Ryan sold tickets, created interest, was an ambassador for the game (hell, he STIL is), and an inspiration to millions (I don’t think that’s an exaggeration). Ryan’s HOF credentials are not about peak dominance, though he did have a few very good years in there. He was an important face of baseball for 25 years! He threw in front of thousands for 5386 innings of flamethrowing wonder. He’s an inspiration to young phenoms trying to duplicate his miracle mets success and to 46 year olds feeling like they’re on the wrong side of life to stop looking back. Look at Ryan saying “I won 5 games for the Texas f-ing Rangers at age 46. You can get off your ass and walk the dog at least”.

      • 42
        mosc says:

        Also, longevity is a stat worth noting. Milestones are just about lasting effects on the W/L record of your team, they’re about relishing in the fortitude of our heros. They have value! Is Ryan’s 5000th strikeout really that irrelevant to you?

        If Ryan were a single WAR better per season he pitched, his career total would be drastically better. His ERA would be better. His win/lost record would be better. His teams would have won what? A game or two more? He goes from a 77 WAR “compiler borderline” to a 102 WAR monster. Probably wins a Cy Young or two in there as well. But does it make him any more memorable? Would his impact in the game really have been 33% larger? Nonsense. Records matter, milestones matter, just as stats matter, just as teams w/l matter, just as winning championships matters. A valuable career does not WAR make. You think there’s a ballplayer ever born that would trade a championship for an extra 5 or 10 career WAR? Or that little kids want to know which pitcher had the highest WAR/start over their career compared to total strikeouts?

        I would not pay money to walk through the hall of WAR.

        • 44
          birtelcom says:

          Unquestionably, Nolan Ryan had one of the most unique and astounding careers in the history of baseball. His place in the annals of the game as a player who performed with an unusual style for an amazingly long time is secure. I think of him as the baseball equivalent of the novelist Joyce Carol Oates — not a crafter of the most elegant prose, but producing work at an astoundingly prolific pace and always with a signature perspective that is unique in literature.

          WAR is a stat that tries to answer a particular question: how much did a player help his team win? For Ryan the answer is, a lot, but perhaps not as much as astounding career numbers such as his strikeout or no-hitter total, looked at in isolation, might suggest. His unusual approach was not always the ideal one for maximizing team wins.

          But as you point out, mosc, counting wins is not all there is to baseball (thank goodness!). A thousand other stats are avaiable to help us mark out a player’s personal profile, his individual style if you will, the particular manner in which he played the game , the particular combination of skills and weaknesses he brought to the field. With respect to particular strengths and flaws, Ryan’s was one of the most fascinating careers ever. He belongs in the core, inner circle of the Hall of the Most Interesting Players.

          • 45
            mosc says:

            I don’t have a problem with WAR as a concept (except for the dWAR part which is a whole separate issue). I do think it is an important tool in improving our understanding of the game. Especially in keeping the history of baseball fresh and relevant. WAR is wonderful for crossing eras, skill sets, positions, even the offense/defense line of pitching vs hitting. All that said, I completely reject it’s use as a value tool. It doesn’t define value, it defines contribution towards the production or prevention of runs. They are very different. Run differential wins ballgames, which leads to good seasons, which leads to championships. But it takes a lot of players and a lot of randomness to go from WAR to championships and the contributions (good or bad) of many will have no effect at all on who the final victors are. Value is a different equation altogether. Value to me is about positive impact. Making a great pitch or a great swing helps the team, but so do many other things.

            I think the Hall of Fame is about remembering the remarkable value added to the game by those who came before. Stats should play an important role in helping us understand a player’s value but we should not lose sight of what they do not measure. WAR has a long list of assumptions that are not right. It’s not WAR’s fault, it’s just the nature of the beast. I don’t blame the tool for it’s misuse, I blame those who wield it with disregard for it’s purpose. Remembering the contributions of those who came before helps make Baseball a stronger game. Remembering only the statistical contributions of those who came before treats the greats like shadows showing only the echos of their presence and not capturing the image of who they were.

            To remember any player only by his WAR contributions is disrespectful. To call into question those who chose to remember by voting him overwhelmingly into the hall, based on a flawed tool shows a loss of perspective. Ryan’s WAR was not nearly as legendary as the ballplayer that he was. I watch ballgames, not stat lines.

            I sure hope this soap box holds together…

          • 49
            birtelcom says:

            I guess, mosc, that I’m not sure what about Ryan makes him more “valuable” in your estimation than pitchers who are less famous but who, the numbers suggest, were more successful in preventing opponent runs from being scored (say Mike Mussina, or Robin Roberts or Bert Blyleven). If it’s the extreme numbers of Ks, no-hitters and seasons pitched, well, those are just stats, too, aren’t they, the value of which presumably derives again from the extent to which they help prevent opponents from scoring runs. And if not stat-driven at all than what is it? Ryan’s charisma, compared to Mussina or Roberts or Blyleven? Personally, as a blue state city boy myself, the whole cowboy/Texas/red state image Ryan has going for him doesn’t do a thing for me. I guess I’m still at a loss as to what attributes (unrelated to preventing opponents runs) that Ryan had that others did not that somehow for you jump him ahead of those who did a better job preventing opponent runs. He was certainly a more memorable pitcher than, say, Blyleven or Mussina, but more “valuable”? I don’t really get it.

  11. 43
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    It’s possible for a player (Ryan) be a no-doubt HOFer, even an all-time great, and still be considerably overrated, as Ryan is.

    In Cy Young voting, he never won, but did finish 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 8th, and 9th. That’s impressive, but only the 30th best CYA-share of all-time. Yet – in 1999/2000, he is voted “greatest pitcher” of all-time in several fan polls. I’d say that’s a pretty massive disconnect between contemporary and post-career opinion.

    If you eliminate the sizzle of all the strikeouts and no-hitters, and just focus on the actual RESULTS, several of his career numbers bear an uncanny resemblance to Don Sutton – both had 324 wins in about 5300 IP. Ryan WAS better, as reflected by the 112/108 ERA+ and 77.4/62.9 WAR advantages – but not by a lot, and nothing like the huge difference in attention between Ryan and Suton. Sutton, of course, is no one’s idea of an all-time great.

    THIS THEN, is the reason for the disparagement of Nolan Ryan – it’s not that he’s not a deserving HOFer. It’s that he was a very very good (sometimes great) pitcher for an absurdly long period of time, but does not deserve to be ranked with the very greatest pitchers ever, such as Walter Johnson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, or Greg Maddux (for starters).

    • 47
      mosc says:

      Well, I mostly agree. The constant jockeying for position of ballpalyers in the baseball pantheon is the core of what makes baseball such a great sport. It’s history is the context and framework for each and every pitch.

      I do think Ryan was one of the greatest pitchers ever. But maybe we’re just looking a little differently. Take Roger Clemens. You didn’t list him, and not because of his WAR, ERA+, career innings, wins, or anything else. You didn’t list him as a all time great because you are using outside value judgments not based on statistical analysis of his results during baseball games. Amazingly similar to what I am doing by saying Ryan was a better baseball player than his WAR.

      • 48
        Lawrence Azrin says:


        I didn’t list Clemens because my post was already too long and I had listed enough names, _not_ because I do not think Clemens is clearly better than Nolan Ryan. Clemens is a MUCH BETTER pitcher than Nolan Ryan, especially on peak.

        I could also have listed:

        -Cy Young
        -Christy Mathewson
        -Bob Feller
        -Robin Roberts
        -Bob Gibson
        -Steve Carlton
        -Randy Johnson
        -Pedro Martinez

        as pitchers that I think are better than Ryan. The list is not definitive.

        Ryan is 17th in EloRater and 23rd in Pitcher’s WAR; somewhere in between these two are where I think he belongs for all-time ratings. How to balance career vs. peak for Ryan, I’m not sure.

      • 50
        Doug says:

        So, in Ryan’s case,
        HoF and popular stature as all-time great =
        a) Reaching a career milestone (300 wins) +
        b) pitching forever at above average level (but not way above average) +
        c) all-time great at one specific and highly visible aspect of play (strikeouts).

        Whereas, in contrast, assuming that Omar Vizquel had reached 3000 hits and assuming he met (b) instead of being average (at best) or below average, he still would not have been popularly regarded as an all-time great because he did not have a (c).

        Incidentally, the last two players Vizquel passed on the Hits list were a couple of all-time greats, Babe Ruth and Mel Ott. So, Vizquel stands 40th on the list, where he will stay at least until 2014 or 2015 (passed by Ichiro) or, if not Ichiro, then Pujols in 2016 or 2017.

        • 51
          mosc says:

          To make a similar case for Vizquel, you’d have to make him the all time leader at assists or games played, or give him the ironman record. Ryan holds the strikeout record which like it or not is one of the few people really care about. Ryan hit milestones, he also set records.

          • 52
            mosc says:

            Top 10 records in baseball (in some rough order):

            1) career WAR. No, that’s a joke.

            1) Career HR
            2) Single Season HR
            3) Career Hits
            4) Career Wins
            5) Career Steals
            6) Hit streak
            7) Consecutive games played
            8) Career batting average
            9) Career Strikeouts
            10) Career Saves

            Other notables, career and single season Runs, RBI’s, single season hits, consecutive saves converted, Total innings pitched.

            Like it or not, Strikeouts are on there. Ryan’s single season strikeout record is probably not too far down that list either.

          • 53
            Doug says:

            Since you mentioned it, mosc, Vizquel is indeed the all-time leader in games started at shortstop. But his mantle is likely short-lived – assuming Jeter is back in form this year, Derek should pass Omar sometime in July.

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