Friday, December 1, 2017

12/1 Through the 20s: DH; Sked; HBD Cookie, Mike, Eppie, Jake & Paddy

  • 1868 - 1B/C George “Paddy” Fox was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He played for Louisville in 1891 and then took a long hiatus from the show before making it to Pittsburgh in 1899, hitting .244 in 13 games. He did have some value, though - he was sent, along with Jack Chesbro and a couple of other guys to Louisville for the bulk of their roster, a master move by owner Barney Dreyfuss to pick up the nucleus (Honus Wagner, Deacon Phillippe, Tommy Leach, Fred Clarke & Claude Ritchey w/nine others) of his powerhouse turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh clubs. Paddy finished his playing career in Louisville. 
Paddy was part of the "Big Deal" (Pgh Press 12/9/1899)
  • 1895 - OF Jake (Muenzing) Miller was born in Baltimore. Jake was a minor league lifer who played on various farm clubs from 1913-30. His taste of the high life came in 1922 when he got into three games in two days for the Pirates, going 1-for-11. 
  • 1900 - IF Everett “Eppie” Barnes was born in Ossining, New York. A basketball and baseball star at Colgate, he got seven at-bats for the Pirates with a hit during 1923-24, but had a long and distinguished athletic career afterward. A noted semi-pro player, he was later the athletic director at his alma mater and the baseball coach, along with being the president of the NCAA for three years and Director of the 1968 US Olympic Committee. Eppie was named to the American Association of Baseball Coaches, United Savings-Helms Athletic Foundation and Colgate Halls of Fame. Barnes was also a member of the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues set up by the Hall of Fame from 1971-77 to elect Negro League players to the Hall. 
  • 1900 - LHP Mike Cvengros was born in Pana, Illinois. Mike had a long and solid career in the minors, toiling from 1921-37 on the farm, but in six big league seasons, his 1927 campaign with the Pirates was the only year he finished with an ERA under four (2-1-1, 3.35). As a bonus, he got to toss a couple of frames against the Yankees in the WS, holding his own. The Pirates apparently weren’t that impressed (he had more walks than Ks) and traded him to minor league Wichita Falls for another lefty, Fred Fussell. Mike got one more shot in the show with the Cubs in 1929, then spent the next eight years in the bushes before retiring to the life of an small town Illinois barkeeper. 
Mike Cvengros 1927 (photo Harwell Collection/Detroit Public Library)
  • 1912 - IF Attilio Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto was born in Oakland, California. He started his MLB career as a Bucco bench player, batting .249 from 1934-36. He was then traded to the Dodgers, where he blossomed into a four time All-Star before losing the next four years to WW2, then returning to Brooklyn for two more campaigns. In 1961, he became the Minnesota Twins first manager and was a coach for the New York Mets (1962-63) and San Francisco Giants (1964-67). He got his nickname as an Oakland Oak farm hand early in his career as a hand-me-down from team owner Cookie DeVincenzi, who was fond of the young Lavagetto. 
  • 1927 - The coming year’s schedule was finalized by the leagues at the William Penn Hotel. It was a departure from the norm as the schedules were usually drawn up at the winter meetings, but the AL passed a resolution that their dates be already prepared and voted on at the get-together. The NL wasn’t under the gun but decided to set the games ahead of time too, with Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss being the lead man, assisted by Senior Circuit President John Heydler and his aide Harvey Traband. Junior Circuit prez Ernest Barnard and his secretary William Harridge were also at the William Penn doing the AL honors. 
  • 1928 - During the winter meetings, NL President John Heydler proposed a “ten man team” that included a designated hitter in place of the pitcher. The senior circuit voted in favor of the proposal, but the AL nixed it, more because the NL proposed it than on its merits. The DH in one form or another had popped up on occasion going back to the 1890s but didn’t see the light of day until the junior circuit adopted it in 1973.

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