Sunday, March 01, 2009

Musty Old Stats

The Fan will once again state plainly that is the greatest gift to baseball fans in history. Not only can you find any kind of stat you are looking for there for any year ever, but you can get lost in stories from long ago. The deep history of baseball and its statistics are one of the major links from generation to generation. And not only does have them all, they are free to look at any time night or day.

Josh Borenstein is a generation younger than this blogger and yet his blog is filled with stats from eons past. It's just something that ties baseball fans together. His recent blog on Hank Greenberg led to a pleasant romp through the archives for Greenberg's stats. One click led to another and somehow the Fan ended up looking at the stats for Mickey Cochrane in 1930. Don't know how the Fan got there. It was probably wondering how Greenberg did not win the MVP that year. Cochrane did. (He gave his first name to Mickey Mantle by the way. The Mick's father was a big Cochrane fan.)

From there, it wasn't a big leap to looking at the league leaders for 1930. One stat caught the Fan's eye. There was a listing of pitchers with the most losses in 1930. Three of the top five were from the Boston Red Sox. Man! That must have been a really bad team. And those three pitchers? Jack Russell (9-20), Milt Gaston (13-20) and Horace Lisenbee (10-17).

From there it was another click to look at the Red Sox that year. They went 52-102. Yup, that was a bad year. In the honorable mention category, they also had a pitcher named Ed Durham that went 4-15. To show you how times have changed: As bad as that team was, they used thirteen pitchers all year. That's it. Thirteen.

1930 was just one year in a really bad stretch for the Red Sox as a franchise. The post Ruth years, after they traded their biggest star to the Yankees, were brutal. Here is a particularly tough run year by year:

  • 1926 - 46-107
  • 1927 - 51-103
  • 1928 - 57-96
  • 1929 - 58-96
  • 1930 - 52-102
  • 1931 - 62-90
  • 1932 - 43-111

Every year during that run, the team gave up over 800 runs and their run differential was -175 or worse. Yup. That's a bad stretch. And those three pitchers mentioned earlier? They weren't with the team for that entire period, but when they were, here is how they fared:

  • Jack Russell - 46-98 (he finished 85-141 over a 14 year career)
  • Milt Gaston - 27-52 (he finished 97-164 for his career). He also lived to be 100 years old so he didn't lose much sleep over his years in baseball.
  • Horace "Hod" Lisenbee - 15-33

Now where else but baseball can you have this much fun looking at statistics? And how much fun is it that we have there for us to romp around in their playground for free?

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Love Baseball Reference. Very easy to lose track of the time. Retrosheet is another good baseball database.