While We’re Waiting… Walk Down History Street

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A little history on a Wednesday morning– “50 years ago today, the last man standing from the worst team ever fielded finally passed on. It was July 17, 1962 when Sport McAllister passed away at the ripe old age of 87 in Wyandotte, Michigan. 63 years previously, he’d been a young outfielder for the Cleveland Spiders, a team famous for finishing the season with an impossibly bad record of 20-134.

They weren’t that bad by accident. In the 1898-99 off-season, the owners of the Spiders purchased the St. Louis franchise, and decided to move all their best players, including a star pitcher named Cy Young to St. Louis. Cleveland got the dregs. Cy Young would win more games that year than all his former teammates put together. McAllister, a part-time player in years past, played in 113 teams for Cleveland’s castoffs, more than he would play in any other season. At the end of 1899, the Spiders were contracted out of existence.

The Spiders were so bad that midway through the year they opted to play all their remaining games on the road. Hey – they weren’t even drawing flies at home, so they’d take the bigger gate elsewhere. As the season wore on, their spirits dipped ever further. They dropped 40 of their last 41, including a 24 game losing streak. In their season ending doubleheader, they had a clerk from the hotel they were starting at pitch one of their games.” [Jaffe/Hardball Times]


And another blast from the past. Ali weighs in live in Cleveland at the Coliseum for his fight against Chuck Wepner. [Youtube/ESPN Classic]


May be too high of a percentage actually– “Mitchell had a glimmer of home at making the team this year up until last week when Josh Gordon arrived. A sixth-round pick by the Browns back in 2010, Mitchell has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to shine. He did not play in his rookie season, and his playing time was limited at the beginning of last season after he had surgery on one of his fingers. Mitchell finished the season with 3 catches for 31 yards, all of which came over the final two games of the season.

Mitchell has gained somewhat of a cult following due to the humor he has expressed on his Twitter account, as well as the fact that some fans have felt that he has breakout potential. He has some of the same physical tools that Gordon has, but you have to imagine the coaches won’t think twice about getting Gordon into the lineup over Mitchell. This is Mitchell’s third and possibly final year to try to make an impact in training camp. Unfortunately, the numbers aren’t in his favor this time around, and he is no longer eligible to make the practice squad. Final Roster Odds: 5%” [Pokorny/Dawgs by Nature]


“About 15 years ago Ohio State provided a different kind of negative association against its academic integrity, via football – the easiest OSU association to make. The Buckeyes were the consensus preseason #1 team in the first-ever BCS campaign and Sports Illustrated assigned an asterisk to its top ranking, basing it on Andy Katzenmoyer’s pending eligibility.

Katzenmoyer’s eligibility cocktail, as it turned out, was a summer GPA-booster that included Golf, Music Appreciation and AIDS: What Every College Student Should Know (that Golf class was over-registered, but Katzenmoyer was conveniently squeezed onto the roster right before the term started). Loading up on cake courses is hardly an exclusively-Ohio State eligibility phenomenon, but Katzenmoyer was regularly a sub-2.0 student and the twilight of the John Cooper era saw numerous players failing to stay academically afloat on an annual basis.

He ended up making the grade after winning the Butkus the previous season and was a first-team All American linebacker. But the damage was done: Golf, Music Appreciation and AIDS Awareness. There probably wasn’t a single bar in Chicago that televised Buckeye games that season where opposing fans wouldn’t joyfully announce Katzenmoyer’s summer class schedule, unsolicited.” [Ramzy/Eleven Warriors]

  • “Fun” with Indians numbers:

    The Indians have played 90 games, as of last night. They have scored 400 runs over that period, or 4.44 (repeating) runs per game.

    Their starting pitchers (Masterson, Lowe, Jiminez, Tomlin & Gomez, who started the most games in the first half of the season) have an average ERA of 4.87 since opening day. Jiminez has the worst (5.51) and Masterson the “best” (4.14).

    Suppose we had signed Willingham at the beginning of the season (which we should have done) and he had batted for Hafner all year long. W. has 65 RBI and Hafner has 26, a difference of +39. Add that to our run total, and we would have scored 439 runs over 90 games, or 4.87 (repeating) runs per game….or our current combined starting rotation’s ERA.


    Thoughts? MGBODE, still think Hafer basically == Willingham?

  • maxfnmloans

    Ramzy is a helluva writer

  • mgbode

    Mitchell is competing against MoMass for a roster spot not Gordon. Gordon is pretty much guaranteed the slot due to our investment (i.e. we don’t spend a 2nd round pick on a guy and cut him a month later).

    I guess the real question is how many WRs do we keep? we already are likely keeping 5 TE/FB slots (Watson, Moore, Cameron, Marecic, Smelley – and Alex Smith is still fighting). So, can we afford more than 5 WRs?

    Little, Gordon, Cribbs locks (Josh because of ST prowess too and he is good downfield which we should be doing more now)

    Norwood might be our best slot guy currently, he should make it. Cooper will give him some competition for that slot, but I think Norwood makes the team.

    That leaves MoMass and Mitchell (and a bunch of flotsam). Neither is a slot guy, so I don’t expect them to both make it and take Norwood’s spot. Should be interesting (yes, MoMass has the obvious edge, but his injury history and inconsistencies will play a role. a huge August could see Mitchell make it over him)

  • mgbode

    Josh W has had an amazing year, no doubt. Better than anything he has ever done before this season (he is hitting near the prime-Hafner numbers). The point was based on what he did the last 3 years coming into this one and our decision to not grant him the 3 guaranteed years that he was seeking. He was a good, but not great hitter that was injured a bunch.


    as for the numbers that you cite. please don’t use RBIs as that is a terrible measure. very dependent on the teammates. you can’t say that we would have scored 39 more runs if we had signed Josh W. also, if we had signed him (and for most dramatic effect, say we didn’t sign Sizemore and Damon, which was basically Josh-W’s salary for this season), then we would have BOTH Hafner and Josh W.

    as you know that I appreciate Hafner’s skills despite only being a good, but not great hitter and being on the DL; you should also know that I would have been happy if we had signed Josh W as well.

  • I agree with most of what you said, but I disagree on using the RBI figure as evidence for production. Currently we have no hitter that a team has to pitch around, so really, the addition of Willingham would actually increase our other batters’ numbers. He would be a semi-feared hitter that opposing teams would need to game plan for, and hence it could only help us.

    I appreciate Hafner’s past but his present is terrible and honestly, when he goes I will be interested to see what team grabs him up.

  • Harv 21

    I’m wondering if Ben Watson might be on the bubble, given last year’s concussions, drops and stupid penalties. If Moore and Cameron have good camps, maybe they’ll drop Watson and keep another WR. Or maybe they’re keeping a set number of TEs regardless.

  • mgbode

    we agree on most points, but saying Hafner’s present is terrible is where we differ.

    he is a top3 hitter on our team in ISO and OBP and is up there in a bunch of other categories, etc.

    it might be more of a damnation on the rest of the lineup, but the fact is he is not the biggest issue with our team. he has hot/cold spells, but he’s a consistent OPS+ of 120 or better overall. that is a good, but not great hitter (which is what Josh W was before this season too).

    also, of note, is that the other hitter we almost signed (Carlos Pena) has been terrible this year overall. 98 OPS+ with a .198/.330/.368 BA/OBP/SLG line.

    Casey Kotchman is also terrible at .236/.299/.377 w/ OPS+ 87, but also provides gold-glove caliber defense (so, I would say we ended up with the better end between those 2 guys).

  • mgbode

    he could be, but football outsiders had him ranked among the best pass-blocking TEs last year and he has shown an ability to catch as well. that is valueable.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You forget to mention how much you obviously like Hafner too. Unfortunately today there isn’t a single Indian other then Choo or Kipnis I think about. Perhaps alot of people are like me in that it’s difficult to find excitement on this team.

  • mgbode

    it’s funny on Hafner. I was among the masses deriding his contract and upset that he fell from being one of the best power hitters in the game and couldn’t stay healthy.

    then, towards the end of last year, I tried to look at his numbers for what he was actually delivering and saw that (while not being “Pronk!” numbers) he was helping the team more than most of our hitters. that I feel he is being unfairly criticized at this point for things out of his control and that he provides the bat and consistency that most others do not.

    and, that he has kept coming back and working that approach despite all of the injury setbacks (much like Big-Z did for the Cavs).

    so, I do not hide my fandom of Hafner and feel that it is warranted.


  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Well for me Hafner has taken on how I feel about most of the Indians and that is indifference. I think that’s how alot of people feel now unfortunately. They have seen this movie before and know how it ends. It’s like some sort of groundhog day with the Indians. But as far as Hafner goes he misses as many games if not more then he plays so when and if he does something it’s a little to late. It’s a shame his career was derailed by injurues because he came out of nowhere to be one of the top power hitters only to disappear as fast as he ascended. This is purely conjecture but I was always intrigued how his downfall seemed to coincide with baseball’s crackdown on PEDs. I’m not saying Hafner “enhanced” but the timing seemed fishy.

  • Steve

    TEH FEAR! AKA the dumbest argument in baseball.

  • mgbode

    Hafner has consistently played 60% of his games. Yes, that is a high number of misses, but not more than half.

  • What the hell are you talking about? Do you not see teams pitch around Longoria and Cabrera (Tigers) all the time? Why do you think they’re doing that, for the hell of it?

    Get a grip man.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    LoL oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooook

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I wish I had your confidence you know you know it all. It’s intoxicating!

  • Steve

    Hafner’s downfall did not coincide with the crackdown on PED’s. At all. MLB first issued the threshold test after the 2003 season. Suspension were instituted as punishments before the 2005 season. From 2004-2006, after testing and punishments had been instituted, Hafner put up a .308/.419/.611 line. In 2007, 3 years after testing, was when his performance started to slip. It really fell off in 2008, and has since bounced back up.

    Now if you care to explain how Hafner took a lot of steroids for the first three years of testing and got away with it, I’m all ears.

    Oh, and of course this presumes that steroids=power hitting, which is an incredibly flawed argument itself.

  • Steve

    Pitchers pitch carefully to every batter these days. This is not the 1960s anymore where most teams fielded a couple guys who could barely put the bat on the ball. There is no evidence that being careful with a good hitter means the next one will get juicy pitches to hit. And that assumes that Willingham is suddenly a Longoria/Cabrera type hitter. He’s not.

  • Garry_Owen


  • mgbode

    what do we get back? 🙂

  • Garry_Owen

    Anything. There has to be a team, albeit necessarily an AL rival, that’s looking for a bat for their end-of-season push. It’s not like we’ve had his bat for the last 4 years (and we better not resign him), so why not try to leverage him for a LF, 1B, or SP that will actually give us benefit for not only the end of this year but also for the future? I’d much, much, much rather trade Hafner than Choo right now. We lose almost nothing – even if we pay the rest of his contract (which the trading team would require) – and stand to gain something. Again, anything.

  • mgbode

    we have had his bat for the last 4 years, 100 games per season. MLB for MLB player trades are uncommon (though I am a proponent of them).

    and don’t be surprised if we do re-sign Hafner to a $5mil/season deal. that is about the worth of a OPS+ 120 hitter for ~100games/season (in my estimation at least).

    if we could get something useful back for him (starting quality LF?), then I would support trading him (heck, we could even sign him back this offseason 🙂 ), but I don’t think that will happen.

  • mgbode

    also, good to see you posting some. the w^3 threads are probably the easiest going ones (there has been a ton of bickering/insults going on in some of the other threads lately, which is a bit disheartening).

  • Garry_Owen

    I guess I’m just done with Hafner altogether. Sure we’ve had his bat 100x each season, but at what cost? Statistics (OPS+, WAR, etc.) aside, those are some expensive games for a player that only swings a bat and, in my opinion, hamstrings the line-up because of that. At $5 million next year, that’s $50,000 per game that I think we should invest elsewhere, specifically on a player that also brings something to the field and gives us a chance to give other guys a break at DH for a day or two at a time. We’ve missed Hafner some in the last few years, but we also haven’t really missed him.
    I agree, ML player for ML player trades are rare, but not out of the question – particularly if we could add someone else to the trade. I’ll gladly send Hafner (and pay the remainder of his contract) and another player (prospect/current bullpen – Perez?) to another team for the big league guy that we need. We could even find that deal with a team that’s not in contention.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, thanks. This internet’s a tricky thing. We all have our ideas, and we’re all pretty clever people; I’m just sick of the constant tearing down of each other that has become the primary characteristic of cyber interaction on every issue imaginable (and I can be pretty good at it).
    “Better angels of our nature,” and all of that.

  • mgbode

    agreed. i’ll debate anyone tooth and nail when i am firm on my belief (see Hafner). however, I will do so without character assassinations that are becoming more prevalent here. no reason for it and they don’t help foster the debate.

  • mgbode

    agreed, he has not lived up to his contract. but, that is why I am not opposing re-signing him either (as he’s been one of our better hitters when he’s played). if we can get him to an agreeable contract that puts his bat in the lineup for 100 games (and i’m sure Antonetti has a formula for how many $$ it’s worth), then we do it. if he doesn’t accept, then we move on.

  • Garry_Owen


  • mgbode

    tooth, meet nail 🙂

  • Garry_Owen

    I’ve said this on other days/posts, but I really think the day of the “hitting only” DH are gone – or at least should be, particularly for a mid/low-market team like the Indians. I’d like to see us break entirely away from the model, and dropping Pronk now (as much as I like him – and I really do like him) presents the perfect opportunity. Even if we aren’t able to get an “equivalent” hitter, having a LF or corner IF that is at least “close” just gives Acta so many more game-day options. Although his batting this year admittedly doesn’t really support my formula, I’m thinking about guys like Santana. If Santana lives up to his potential at the plate, I dream of a day where Acta can play Marson (particularly the new-found raking Marson) at Catcher and DH Santana, and then do the opposite on the following day. That allows us to keep, and play, two very solid catchers for an entire year. The same would be true if we had a duplicate luxury at another position (like 3B). With a guy like Pronk (or Ortiz, etc.) on the roster, you don’t have that option. You have to play the “exculsive DH” in the DH spot, which takes away important ABs from a productive guy that needs them to stay in form and could, theoretically, contribute something comparable at the plate.
    Just my opinion, of course. I’m no baseball genius, however, so I might be completely off-base here; but in the post-steriod era, I think I’m not.

  • Garry_Owen

    Tooth always beats nail.

  • mgbode

    my nail is diamond encrusted.

  • mgbode

    I think you can be correct in some situations, but what player are we going to get who hits >120 OPS+ for as small of a salary as we likely can get Hafner on in 2013?

    i would love “important ABs” going to a guy more productive than Hafner, but if we dropped Hafner today, Shelley Duncan would be getting those ABs?

  • Garry_Owen

    I don’t want to drop him. I want to trade him; and I don’t think we need to match his 120 OPS+, especially considering that his 120 OPS+ does us absolutely no good when it’s on the DL.