Although blogs hadn’t yet been invented, seventeen years ago I kept a Lansing Lugnuts weblog, which I called Joel’s Lansing Lugnut Notes. The 1996 Luggies were a new team. I began keeping the online journal because I’d been watching Midwest League (MWL) play for several summers and figured I had something to contribute to the Lansing discussion. As things worked out I did a writeup after each series, and composed a few other pages as inspiration struck. I plan to repost all of the weblog entries, and most of the other pages, to this journal over the next few months. Most will be posted 17 years to the day after they were originally written.
This was the first time I saw Brock Hanke’s name in print. The same is true of several of the book’s other contributors: John Benson, Sherri Nichols, Stuart Shea, and Sean Lahman come quickly to mind. (Tom Tippett was there, too, as the project’s programmer.) Just bringing these folks (and Pankin, in the previous edition) into my life is plenty of justification for the effort.
While this work necessarily has some biographical content, it’s largely about how GM Jon Daniels runs the Ranger’s organization–the things he emphasizes, the people he hires, the objectives he sets, the ways he communicates, the methods he uses to collect information, and the reasons behind those practices. Newberg, who’s been writing about the Rangers organization since the late 1990s, clearly knows the material.
Besides the Life Lessons, the book contains a quite a bit of biographical material, and a surprising amount of information and commentary about Sparky’s managerial methods. Sparky was more a motivator and molder than a tactician, as anyone who followed his teams knows. Ewald witnessed that during Anderson’s Tiger years, and heard many tales about how he worked with the Cincinnati team’s egos.
Paul Doherty’s look at Cy Young’s last few games with the Boston NL team after Cleveland released him was very good, as was John Holway’s look at Louis Santop and Pete Palmer’s piece on Rube Waddell’s rookie season. Arthur Ahrens’ portrait of Fred Pfeffer (Cap Anderson’s second baseman) was perhaps the finest piece in this edition of the journal. Al Kermish’s always-interesting Researcher’s Notebook included a piece about how he and Tom Hufford identified 1912 Senator player Lefty Schegg (actually Gilbert Eugene Price), and Harold Dellinger gave his account of tracking down the identity of 1884 Kansas City UA player Matthew Porter (rather than Henry Porter, as he’d previously been mis-identified).
An absolutely terrific biography, obviously well researched and equally well written. Highly recommended, though I’m sure some will disagree, as Veeck remains a controversial figure.
There will be no playoff series in the Illinois State League after all. Directors of the circuit called off the post-season games on the final day of the season, at a time when President Howard Millard was preparing to release the playoff schedule to the wire services
Howard Millard, the president of the Midwest League’s predecessor Illinois State League in 1947 and 1948, was sports editor for the Decatur (Illinois) Review (later the Herald and Review) from 1920 through 1958. For his entire tenure in Decatur Millard wrote a column called “Bait for Bugs.” He was good at his job, but covering the Three-I League for The Sporting News didn’t bring him national fame. He was unusually active in Illinois, however, founding and presiding over the Illinois Associated Press Sports Editors Association.
For a book that’s basically a long list, this one is surprisingly readable. Goldberg-Strassler, who’s the radio voice of the Lansing Lugnuts, tells us he began compiling this book when he noticed he kept repeating the same phrases to describe the action on the field. That he’s shared the list with us is a delight.
So why read the book? I can think of two reasons. You might want to mine the book for its equations; people have certainly done that, and found value. Or, like me, you might just want to read everything sabermetric. Unless you fall into those categories, you really don’t want to go there.