|2009-06-24 13:00:00 (link to chat)||Since I got you here now, I'll bring up my other question I had for you. When I think of good bench, I'm thinking of a Tim Raines or a Darryl Strawberry- guys who can platoon, start in a pinch, that kind of thing- maybe a Rueben Rivera- I mean even Girardi and Leyritz were better offense backups then Molina is at this point, right? I mean even going back to the glory days, and I'm talking 47-64 here, we had Enos Slaughter on our bench for most of the 50s, the future HOFer and Cardinal great. We had Bob Cerv, Johnny Mize, Jerry Coleman. Every year before the season I read Dynasty: The New York Yankees from 1949-1964 by Peter Golenbock which is my favorite Yankee book. He has some great interviews with forgotten YAnkee legends, I think my favorite is with Allie Reynolds. Have you ever read it? Yeah I know the game was really different then with how everything worked but its just an example.|
(seanp from Los Angeles )
|Dynasty is a valuable book, though something of a missed opportunity for all the uncorrected factual errors. It also misses input from Casey, who was still around when Golenbock was writing it but might have been too ill or borderline senescent to participate. Since a lot of the players take shots at Casey, his inability to respond unbalances the thing, and the author makes no effort to provide that balance himself... The late 1990s Yankees had a terrific bench, though that might have been something of a unique circumstance. The 50s bench definitely was, the combination of a productive farm system and a Kansas City team willing to store players the Yankees weren't using until they needed them back. (Steven Goldman)|
|2008-09-16 13:00:00 (link to chat)||I'm sure you remember that Bill James writes that the Yankees were able to lead the league in double plays so many times in the 50s, despite a constantly shifting middle infield, because "Gid McDougald could do anything."
Of course, if most teams had a player like gil McDougald, he'd be starting somwhere in the infield, if they were smart.
Then again, some teams and players think that 60 innings of good pitching is worth more than 175...|
(Matt from Mt. Albert, ON)
|Well, Gil did start. The thing was, he was good enough that if, say, Phil Rizzuto's bat died of old age and they needed a shortstop, he started at shortstop. If it turned out that Rizzuto could hit a little bit and Billy Martin had been drafted and Jerry Coleman was hurt, he could play second. If the Yankees couldn't come up with a better third baseman than Andy Carey, and they never could, then McDougald could pick it at third. It wasn't that he wasn't starting, it's that he was starting everywhere, depending on need. It's a very smart way of doing things if you have that kind of flexibility -- kind of like what Tony LaRussa did with Tony Phillips, except you have to imagine Phillips as a gold glover instead of a butcher. (Steven Goldman)|
|2008-03-14 13:00:00 (link to chat)||In your first, and very moving, article at BP (yes, I should have asked you this 4 years ago) you wrote:
"There's Joe McCarthy, a manager who never ripped a player in public...until the day he did."
I've always wondered who that player was. This can't be Babe Dahlgren is it?
(JimmyJack from Newcastle, WA)
|No... It was Joe Page, future ace reliever. He had great stuff but was highly undisciplined off the field. Jerry Coleman told me he was self-destructive, a guy who couldn't let himself succeed. Later, of course, he had a couple of Cy Young-type years as the Yankees' fireman (closer would be the wrong word), but at that time he was still a starter, and failing. McCarthy was under a lot of pressure - drinking, dealing with wartime ballplayers, dealing with Larry MacPhail, who himself was a highly erratic personality due to alcohol, and something about Page just made him snap. While the team was waiting for a flight to take off (and McCarthy didn't like flying either - that was a MacPhail thing), McCarthy sat down next to Page and tore into him in front of the whole team. McCarthy resigned the next day. (Steven Goldman)|