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Thread: My Baseball Diary (or a Canary in a Coal Mine)

  1. #1
    The Professor's Avatar
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    My Baseball Diary (or a Canary in a Coal Mine)

    October, 1917

    ...1917 has gone by the boards, and what a disaster it was. By season's end a new (soon to be old) saw was making its way through the grandstand and the local news pages:

    First in Poles, and sausage rolls
    But last in the Western Division


    With the entry of the United States into the European unpleasantness in April, Chicago (perhaps fortunately) has greater priorities than its lackluster Roebuck Nine. And with empty coffers, as usual, and the standard shoestring budget, the Canaries of 1918 can't expect to be much improved over the third-rate product of this past season. Whatever new faces don the birds on the bat will have to come from the starkly bare cupboard of talent that is the Chicago farm system. This is to say nothing of club ace Trout William's continued shelving until well into next campaign, a situation that has assured even the most optimistic of Canaries rooters that 1918 will be a bleak and forgettable year.

    The best thing player-manager Bert Bowley has going is that he can continue to pencil himself into the lineup. The steady first baseman is the lodestar of this straggling franchise. He is coming off a season in which he led the division in hits, walks, and OBP, all while playing his usual, golden, standard of defense at the corner. At 32, the Columbus Clipper seems ever less likely to see a winner during his Chicago tenure.

    The middle infield will continue to be manned by some combination of Rip Lipe and Ernie Stover at second base, with Lipe likely to see most of the action thanks to his keen eye at the plate. Both men possess steady gloves, but limited range and agility. Shortstops Freddie Chavez (+13.9 ZR) and Squiz Royer (+8 ZR) are defensive anchors, with neither expected to hit much. Unfortunately, poor franchise choices have led to a defensive black hole at the hot corner where second-year man Kid Koeller absolutely must hit more to offset his abysmal fielding (-20 ZR!!!) Nobody holds out much hope that Koeller will be able to meet this challenge. Bowley's biggest headache may be trying to shoehorn the promising bat of Bob Meusel into the lineup, most likely at the hot corner, where his iron glove may clang more frequently than Koeller's. The mind boggles! With little hope of a winner in the offing, it might be that Bowley will go for defense first and slot both Chavez and Royer into the infield, sacrificing two offensive slots for tighter defense.

    Catching duties will continue to be held down by the talented Bubbles Hargrave. Still only 25, Bubbles is a plus hitter and a plus defender, and while he might not be the acme of Western Division backstops, he certainly is in the conversation.

    The outfield is another headache for Bowley and the front office. Ed Pita, the Nicaraguan, should settle in as the regular center fielder due to his excellent range and steady glove. He should also develop into a decent, if not spectacular, hitter. The corner slots are more problematic. Dode South's days as a regular appear to be done, his legs have faded, his outfield range is non-existent, and while he can still hit, he can't hit enough to warrant being in the field. Likely left fielder Pete Schneider (for now) is rangy and should be a plus defender there, and he can hit a little (although he was drafted for his power potential, which has been slow to develop.) Right field is home to slugger Ken Williams whose bat is so valuable it allows/forces management to overlook his woeful defense. Vin Campbell can play both corner outfield positions well and has a decent, in limited action, bat.

    THE PITCHERS

    21-year-old Jewel Brunette was a last-minute addition to the starting rotation at the start of 1917. The precocious rookie ended up leading the Western Division in starts (53) and innings pitched (465) while posting a 24-26 record. There is not much to criticize in such a maiden voyage, except perhaps some recurrent control issues which, if reined in, should keep 'Diamond Jack' on a successful tack in his second season.

    With Trout William ailing, the rest of the rotation is up in the air. Aydan Paybon, the erstwhile fork-baller, missed most of 1917 with a torn finger tendon. He will return and, hopefully provide a steadying presence for the staff. Lefty Al Schulz (17-27) will have to improve his wildness if he hopes to be anything more than a borderline starter in the TCBA, but he did manage to eat some innings which, given the state of affairs at Roebuck Field, is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Red Faber (12-9) was off to his best Chicago start when a torn arm muscle ended his season. There are high hopes (but realistic doubts) that he will be as strong in 1918, but if healthy his return to the rotation is enough to inspire a small bit of euphoria.

    What it takes to make Chicagoans giddy!

    The rest of the potential starting group is a mixed bag. Larry Cheney is a positive veteran presence, but (as with many other Canary hurlers), walks too many batters. Vada Joyce, who runs amateur automobile races in the offseason and once dived out of a third story window into a hotel pool (on a two dollar bet, no less), is cut out to work from the bullpen, not start regularly. Mexican Berto Montesinos is similar in talent, if saner in personal makeup. Finally, Oddibe Sturgeon, was lovingly dubbed "Professor" by his club mates due to a passion for the funny pages (he loves the pictures) and a good-natured gullibility which left him the butt of many jokes. Most of these latter arms will work out of the bullpen should they make the club for 1918. The best news is that Art Penner, the sharp and effective fireman, should be back in good health for the Canaries to hold down the late innings (when opportunity arises) and serve as a valuable stopper.

    IN THE PIPELINE:

    *crickets*




    There are a few kids in the system who might eventually crack the Chicago club, among the contenders:

    P - Emil Bair, a 21-year-old Washingtonian with a hard, boring, fastball and sharp curve.

    SS - Emil Corning Jr, a shy kid from Madero, California and a top draft pick a few seasons ago, his bat will never be worth much, but he has incredible range and a cannon arm, and could one day potentially anchor the Canaries infield defense.

    P - Gus Sherrick, most recently starting at Reading, is a savvy player who could fill in due to injuries, but is unlikely ever to stick in the Association.

    p - Sammy Riviere, a forkball specialist from Texas whose ability to induce ground balls might be promising were he pitching for a competent defensive side.

    3B - Pat Shuba, at 26 he is hardly a prospect, but his range and glove coupled with a decent eye and moderate gap power, might earn him the hot corner gig sooner rather than later

    LF - Ben Paschal, a card hustling Alabaman with a powerful bat (but, like so many Canaries) a poor glove.

    p - Ed 'The Mailman' Eloisa, a 21-year-old from Mexico, he could end up as the best pitching prospect in the organization (not saying much), but needs some seasoning

    P - Al Chasteen, another young forkballer with good upside
    Last edited by The Professor; 04-05-2017 at 06:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    March 1918



    ...part of a pre-campaign assessment of the 1918 Chicago Westerners

    The cattle market that is the annual Transcontinental Draft of amateur baseball players has very nearly concluded its week of high profile bartering, and the Canaries have welcomed a trio of new diamond talents to the nest.

    According to chief scout Dan Rolfe, the Canaries nabbed two of their most coveted prospects, shortstops Emil Armitage and Hughie Lashley. Armitage, an eighteen year old New Yorker, possesses outstanding range and a cannon arm according to club bird dogs. Better yet, his handling of the bat promises to be exceptional -- plus contact, with some excellent power and tremendous ability to put the ball in play. Lashley, an Oklahoman, is a lanky midfielder with tremendous range, a strong arm, exceptional hands and natural instincts. Rolfe's telegram from the small town of Claremont suggested that Lashley's initiation of the double play was a "thing of pure beauty." Although he doesn't handle the lumber quite as well as Armitage, he should be a more than competent TCBA hitter and, better, has keen eye for the base on balls.

    Finally, the Canaries signed on Gene Brinker, a fluid and promising third sacker from Pennsylvania. Brinker, a quiet young man with a reputation for stubbornness, is a wonder with the glove and Rolfe has stated he could hit as well as Lashley, if not better.

    In any event, the hope in Canaryland is that the club has fortified one side of its infield for years to come.

    Meanwhile, the club has opened its spring camp in Hot Springs, Arkansas and has already been hit by the injury bugaboo. While star moundsman Trout William continues his recovery from last season's devastating elbow injury, this past week saw slugger Ken Williams, the main run producer in the birds lineup, brought low by his own elbow injury. Williams should miss about two months before returning to the Canaries. Skipper Bert Bowley has jokingly suggested the team simply forbid elbows from now on. Williams offensive role will be divided between young slugger Bob Meusel and career minor leaguer Ben Paschal to start the season.

    In other news out of Hot Springs, the club has invited a cadre of its most promising youngsters to camp. Soon to be taking flight in Canary yellow are freshmen hurlers Emil Bair, Samuel Riviere, and the once highly touted shortstop Emil Corning...

    * * * * *

    April, 1918

    Opening Day

    The Canaries headed north with only a few surprises on the usual roster of slackers and sad sacks. The opening day lineup for 1918 figures to look something like this:

    1. Rip Lipe, Second Base --- Lipe gets on base, so that counts for a lot. Ernie Stover will spell him on occasion while also finding time in the outfield
    2. Bubbles Hargrave, Catcher
    3. Bert Bowley, First Base --- Nothing is as certain in Chicago as Hargrave and Bowley in the 2-3 spots of the lineup. The rocks upon which the franchise stands.
    4. Bob Meusel, Right Field --- Long Bob has a promising bat and while he's better in left, letting him spell Ken Williams (while the latter is out) makes the most sense
    5. Pete Schneider, Left Field --- A surprise, Schneider can't resist swinging at everything, but a dynamite bat and plus glove make it impossible to deny him a shot
    6. Kid Koeller, Third Base --- Another surprise. He may yet lose out to Pat Shuba or Freddie Chavez, but his bat's potential earns him a second season at the hot corner
    7. Ed Pita, Center Field --- He is just there to chase down flies, any productive hitting is just icing...
    8. Hughie Lashley, Short Stop (R) --- Wins out by a lash, ha ha, over incumbent Chavez. He's a rookie, so we'll see how he adjusts. Very good glove, fair bat.
    9. ----------------------

    Bench: Tyler (C), Stover (IF/OF), Chavez (SS/3B), Shuba (3B), Paschal (OF), South (OF), Schulze (OF)
    Disabled List: Ken Williams, Right Field; Trout William, RHP

    The rotation has that bleak Chicago look, but figures to be a three-man show for as long as that can last. Red Faber (RHP) takes on the de-facto mantle of "ace" while Trout William mends his elbow. Rookie phenom Jewell Brunette (LHP) looks to make his sophomore campaign just as memorable as the last, and Al Schulz (LHP) earns the third rotation spot (beating out Aydan Pabon) despite his occasional control problems.

    Relief Corps: Art Penner, LHP; Berto Montesinos, LHP; Oddibe Sturgeon, RHP; Aydan Pabon, RHP
    Last edited by The Professor; 05-01-2017 at 06:49 PM.
    CHICAGO NAVIES, TCBA
    ~
    First in Poles, and sausage rolls
    But last in the Western Division


    OAKLAND OAKS
    CONTINENTAL LEAGUE

  3. #3
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    Update: Navies Brand for 1919

    If possible, Roebuck Field --> Roebuck Memorial Field

    New Team Logo:



    New Team Secondary Logo:



    Tertiary Logo(just for the record):



    Uniform:



    Cap:



    Color Settings:



    Uniforms Settings:



    EDIT:

    ...or, a Canary-based Primary Logo:

    Last edited by The Professor; 06-16-2017 at 04:38 PM.
    CHICAGO NAVIES, TCBA
    ~
    First in Poles, and sausage rolls
    But last in the Western Division


    OAKLAND OAKS
    CONTINENTAL LEAGUE

  4. #4
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    Roebuck Memorial Field:

    Last edited by The Professor; 06-17-2017 at 03:44 PM.
    CHICAGO NAVIES, TCBA
    ~
    First in Poles, and sausage rolls
    But last in the Western Division


    OAKLAND OAKS
    CONTINENTAL LEAGUE

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    DJ L'mazing attackemu's Avatar
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    Ostentatious!
    I understand that and fully understand that and I think we had a previous President who did not understand that but I understand that and we have spoken about this before.

    Please note this post was made by the 2012 NFL Losers Pool Champion.

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    Johnny Slick's Avatar
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    I ain't gettin' down to that part of town, no way no how.
    Quote Originally Posted by Schlock Treatment podcast, Episode 73
    There is only one Johnny Slick, and he is a son of a bitch.

  7. #7
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    Opening Day, 1919

    The Navies (nee Canaries) will have a different look this year, their ballpark shrouded in navy and gold - the new colors also adorning their flannels. Beyond that, the club will look familiar to fans of the sad sack birds of yesteryear.

    The Pitching Corps:

    Trout William is back - for now - with a hefty contract under his belt, opting to stay by the lake despite what would likely have been a huge payday on the open market. At his best, William brings three excellent pitches and top control to the mound, works out his defense, and keeps the ball in the yard. A run of injury-plagued seasons have reduced the ace's stamina, so the club will hope William bequeaths some big leads to a suspect (putting it nicely) relief squad.

    Workhorse Red Faber was a yeoman in 1918, and he'll be asked to eat innings again this season. He is a pure guts pitcher, winning on guile and effort rather than scintillating stuff. That said, he is the unquestioned leader, if not ace, of the Chicago moundsmen.

    Southpaw Al Schulz's 5-10 record from last campaign belied an otherwise outstanding compilation of numbers, arguably the lefty's best season in the league. Health has typically been the forkballer's bugaboo, but an erratic streak has also dogged him. He has shown excellent craft working in relief, so his leash as a starter will be short. Either way, he should contribute - MUST contribute - his best work in order to the Navies to compete in '19.

    Hard working Nick Hubley comes to the Second City by way stints with the Dugdale boys of New York and the Dugdale-led baseballers of Seattle. He has worked from the bullpen in his major league career, but has a decent grasp of the starter's craft and will be given an opportunity to make the back end of Chicago's rotation his own.

    The Canaries will operate with a reconstituted three men relief corps out of the gate. Two-season starter Jewell Brunette will begin the campaign as a spot starter and long relief man, although he is first in line to inherit a starting spot in the case of injury or non-performance. Brunette can eat innings, as his first two seasons show, but he is also too easily hit. Youth is still to the sinister-sided hurler's advantage, so he should only grow with this new challenge. Last season was a pleasant surprise for Mexican Berto Montesinos, and he finds himself (by dint of age and stamina) holding down the role of relief mainstay for the club, primarily bridging the gap to Reb McTigue, another Knights flier, who will bring a sizzling fastball to bear in the late innings as the team's fireman of choice.

    The Field:

    Chicago's real strength, on paper at least, is a deep crowd of hitters ready to launch an assault on the Western circuit. As usual, player-manager first baseman and likely future Hall of Famer, Bert Bowley anchors the infield - and the club - with an eagle eye at the plate and a sweet stroke into the gaps. He has a new understudy for 1919 in 25-year-old draft prospect Max Schaufle, a lanky mystery slugger (he won't say where he's from) who can pitch (but not well), has a glove (but can't really field...yet), and hits the ball a country mile. He'll do pinch-hitting duty for the most part, catching a few bolts of lightning in a bottle it is hoped, while he is eased onto the field.

    The keystone is as it was last year. Ignitor Rip Lipe will continue to earn the majority of time at second base (by dint of a slightly better glove than Ernie Stover, who will continue to serve as a super-sub for 1919) while also leading the lineup into battle. The majestic glove-work of Hughie Lashley will continue to be on display at shortstop -- although it is hoped that the young glovesman improves markedly as a hitter. The club, and Bowley in particular, will be patient with Hugh. His job is defense.

    The hot corner is "Long" Bob Meusel's for now, the professional hitter's hitter, but the club feels that Kid Koeller - despite a lackadaisical glove - is a potent big league hitter in his own right and can anchor the position admirably if needed. Defense is not a priority, or a strength, for either man. Their job is to plate runs.

    The outfield is deeper than it has been in years. Rookies Gus Felix and Walter Bastiaanse will rotate in left field, spelled from time to time by outfield jack-of-all-trades 'Pistol' Pete Schneider. Schneider is both a reliable late-innings glove, a dynamic bat off the bench, and a perfectly acceptable starter if called upon. The Pistol will also split some time with silky smooth centerfielder Eddie Pita, the Nifty Nicaraguan, he of the golden (and versatile) glove. Right field is still the purview of slugger Ken Williams, the big engine at the heart of the Chicago order. Altogether this is the deepest, most versatile, and competent outfield crew in recent Chicagolanders' memory. Good things are expected.

    Last season was a nightmare for All-Star catcher Bubbles Hargrave. The beloved backstop is a fine hitter, although he's lost a bit of his edge from year's past, and one of the better glove men behind the plate in all the circuit. When he's healthy, he's among the league's best. Fred Tyler and Verne Clemons are able backups, but neither is of Hargrave's caliber. If Bowley is the club's intellectual leader, Hargrave is its heart, soul, and inspiration.

    If healthy, and on their game, this Navy-clad crew should score runs a plenty. The only question, as it has so often been in Chicago this past decade, is if they can muster enough pitching to make those runs stand up.
    Last edited by The Professor; 08-08-2017 at 07:10 PM.
    CHICAGO NAVIES, TCBA
    ~
    First in Poles, and sausage rolls
    But last in the Western Division


    OAKLAND OAKS
    CONTINENTAL LEAGUE

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