Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Despite losing two in a row to the Blue Jays, the White Sox look to be headed to the postseason. The Pale Hose haven't been there since waaayyy back in 2000 (that's the turn of the millennium, for those youngsters out there). They also starred in the postseason in 1993 (and we all know how that turned out) and 1983, but you have to go all the way back to 1959 to find the White Sox' last World Series appearance.

Before even 1959, and this is a time that only Magpie would remember, the White Sox starred against the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series that nearly destroyed baseball.

Ok, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but the Black Sox scandal did great damage to the sport that the American public so desperately needed. For those who might not know, eight members of the 1919 White Sox, heavily favoured to win, threw the World Series to the Reds in exchange for $100,000 in gambling kickbacks. (According to The Inflation Calculator, $100,000 in 1919 is worth $1,229,927.10 today. That shows you how much baseball salaries have outpaced inflation. Can you imagine an athlete throwing a World Series for $153,740.89? Alex Rodriguez makes more money than that per regular season game.)

Among the throwers was one of the greatest stars of his time, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. I didn't know, so I looked it up: Shoeless Joe had a career OPS+ of 170, with several straight seasons (1911-1913) of 193, 192, 192 OPS+. Talk about talent. Talk about consistency! In 1911, the man hit .408/.468/.590, with 233 hits (but only 7 HR). (And that year he came second in batting average!) So, basically, imagine A-Rod doesn't slap that ball out of Arroyo's glove because he was paid not to.

Of course, the eight players involved were banned from baseball for life. (Remember: A-Rod not allowed to play anymore, ever. Shoeless Joe Jackson was allowed back into baseball, though — posthumously.) Without its biggest star, and now tarnished forever, the sport nearly died there. A nation reeling from a developing economic depression turned its lonely eyes to The Pastime, and the Pastime flipped it the bird.

As we all know, though, the game did not die, and it owes its good fortune to one man. This man's star eclipsed even Shoeless Joe Jackson's. I'll list some of his more salient statistics for you, so if you haven't guessed already you'll probably figure it out. Career OPS+ of 207. Had over 200 OPS+ eleven times. His 1920 and 1921 seasons are remarkably similar: 54 HR-59 HR, 36 2B-44 2B, .376/.532/.847-.378/.512/.846. (That last number is SLG, not OPS.) Of course I'm talking about George Herman 'Babe' Ruth, maybe the best hitter who ever lived. The Babe was good in 1918, and great in 1919, but exactly when the sport needed it, he posted the greatest-hitting season anybody had ever seen (until somebody named Barry emerged near the bay).

If The Babe doesn't hit everything everywhere in 1920, does Barry even get his chance? Hell, does baseball get the chance to emerge from its stupidity in 1994, and get rescued by a couple of big sluggers named McGwire and Sosa? Will baseball again be rescued by a slugger in its (inevitable) time of great need? Or, as Star Trek opined, will it be "abandoned by a society that prized fast food and faster games"?

Jays 4, White Sox 3 | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
westcoast dude - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#124627) #
Wise man say the Millenium started nine eleven 2001.
These White Sox remind me of the 1985 Blue Jays: out in front of the division so far it's a laugher; put in on cruise control and lose the ultimate goal. It happens to some of us.
Jordan - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#124634) #
So which game was Eric Hinske watching while on the basepaths last night? When your team has six infielders for four positions and you're the one on the bubble, running yourself into outs twice in one game is a really bad idea.
hugh - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#124635) #
Combine those two running gaffes with the near misses from the night before (the botched steal and the nearly-thrown-out-on-fly-ball), and you gotta wonder what's gotten into him.

Trying to make up for the lack of hitting by becoming the on base threat? Not gonna happen. Clearly.
DepecheJay - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#124636) #
Jordan, agreed that Hinske was absolutly brutal on the basepaths last night. There's no reason for him to try and take 2nd on the single in the 1st. The ball died on it's way to Dye, so he basically had no shot at getting Zaun. And with where Konerko was to cut off the ball, he should have stayed at 1st and played it safe.

The Rios flyball was clearly much worse however. I'd like to know what he was thinking about. The ball had been hanging up there ALL NIGHT, as I can think of atleast 5 flyballs that appeared to have a shot at going for extras but they would just hang up there for the outfielders to catch. He was past 2nd, and on top of that he wasn't even running full speed to retreat. To top it off, he tries to argue with the ump that he was safe when he was clearly out.

I don't believe this will effect his playing time however, as I think Gibbons is dead-set on platooning Hinske and Hill. That's a shame if it's true in my opinion, Hill has definitely outplayed Hinske.
DepecheJay - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 10:17 AM EDT (#124637) #
I have a question. Do you guys think that Hinske is still getting frequent playing time because of his relatively large contract? Or does John Gibbons geniunely believe that the Jays can't get to the playoffs without him as he's stated numerous times in the past.
sweat - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#124638) #
I didnt think the first inning out was a big mistake. They had a shot at zaun at home, and hinske figured they would be going after him. Certainly it was a risk, but Zaun scored, so no big deal. The second one was brutal, there is no doubt. Funny how Johnson almost did the same thing. Maybe the ball was really hanging up last night.
Jordan - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 10:32 AM EDT (#124639) #
I think starting Hinske was a good play last night, because El Duque is just brutal on righties and rookies both -- he would've had Aaron Hill in knots all night even if Hill weren't slumping. Oddly enough, after his nightmare June, Hinske finished July pretty much how he finished May:
Month   OPS
April   848
May     801
June    491
July    798
Most of his July production was in the power department -- his batting average hasn't rebounded to its April level and probably won't. More evidence that Hinske is a replacement-level first baseman with a pretty decent glove -- no more, no less.

Going forward, Hudson, Adams, Koskie and Hillenbrand figure to play pretty much every day, rotating through the four infield positions and DH. That leaves Hill and Hinske fighting for time at 1B/3B/DH. I actually think a rough platoon might not be a bad approach to take until Hill gets his bearings back. I wouldn't do a strict L-R platoon, since Hill needs to see some righties as well. But if Hinske plays John McDonald to Hill's Russ Adams the rest of the way, that wouldn't be so bad.

In any event, I don't see Eric Hinske back with this club next season.

Maldoff - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#124640) #
Watching the game last night, I was thinking how much I would love to see a Paul Konerko-type in the Jays lineup. Just a big bopper hitting in the 3 or 4 hole to really put a scare into the opposition each time through. While Vernon and Shea are solid hitters, they are more doubles guys then say a Konerko or Dunn.

I think if the Jays were to replace either Rios or Catalanatto with a guy who's gonna hit .265 with 30-40 homers (ie. a Joe Carter-type), this team could really take off.
Pistol - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#124643) #
For what it's worth, Joe Carter had 11 straight years of hitting at least 24 HRs, but never hit more than 35.
Rob - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#124646) #
Did anyone else see the front page of the Globe Sports section today? (Even if you haven't, it's right here.) It makes me sick that all of page S1 is devoted to hockey on the fourth of August.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#124648) #

I have not much to add to what Jordan said, about the 3B/1B/DH situation except for this. Aaron Hill will be backing up Russ Adams at short, and will probably play 5-10 games there against lefties the rest of the way.

The Jays and Chisox have actually been fairly similar this season. THT's team stats contain a nice summary. The Jays have scored 2 more runs and allowed 23 more than Chicago, but both teams have been essentially average at scoring runs given their context and much above average at preventing them. The Jays have an OBP 10 points higher while the Sox have a slugging percentage 8 points higher. The major difference between the clubs has been their record in one-run games- Chicago 39-19; Toronto 17-25.

The Jays could definitely use another bat. But, frankly, I'd prefer that it not be a Joe Carter clone. The ability to get on base is the most important thing on offence.

Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#124649) #
The Globe is just giving readers what they want. People at work have been talking hockey non-stop here all week and everybody is checking every 5 minutes to see if their favourite team has signed someone new. I don't think anyone has gotten any work done this week.
Named For Hank - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#124650) #
On Saturday, I was terrified that Blair On Baseball had been eliminated because of all the hockey coverage, but it turned out that it had just been pushed back a page to S4.

I'd give the Globe grief about all the hockey coverage, but they're all the same, and the Globe's baseball coverage makes it all okay. And I'll give them this: at least their hockey coverage during the lockout was mostly about the juniors and the national team and not about the lockout itself.
Named For Hank - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#124655) #
I had previously said that I'd be coming to Sunday's game this weekend; that is now not the case. If I shake this nasty bug that's bothering my life by tomorrow, Theo and I will be in 518 for the series opener, with Mrs. Hank arriving late.

Remember: it's cap trade in weekend for those of you not growing mustaches, dyeing your hair or creating bobblehead shrines.
Magpie - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#124701) #
this is a time that only Magpie would remember

OK, you asked for it.

The Ballad of Shoeless Joe. There are people who want to put this jerk in the Hall of Fame, which requires overlooking the confession and focusing on the .375 BAVG and 6 RBI in the 1919 World Series.

It is often forgotten that the Black Sox were double-crossed by the people with whom they were arranging the fix, and received nowhere near the money they had been promised. This put them in a fix - they had already lost four of the first five games. Nevertheless, the Black Sox attempted to double-cross the double-crossers, began playing to win, and took the next two games. Finally, according to the best information we have at this late date, someone leaned (very heavily indeed) on Game 8 starter Lefty Williams, who folded up like the 1978 Red Sox.

So what did Shoeless Joe do in the first 5 games, when the fix was in?

He went 6-19 (.316), which is OK. But he was hitless in his 5 AB with runners in scoring position, and just 1-7 with runners on base, period. He drove in 0 (zero) runs in the first five games.

In the final three games, he went 6-13 (.462), and went 4-7 with runners in scoring position, driving in 6 runs. Much of this damage came in the final game, of course. With the Sox trailing 5-0 after Williams' horrible start, Jackson hit a solo homer; later, trailing 10-1, he hit a two-run double.

This is without looking at his - erratic? - play in the outfield and running the bases.

Eight games is, of course, a tiny tiny sample size. And five games and three games are even tinier.

Lefty - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#124710) #
Wow, I had heard that the Sox players were double crossed, but never those juicey details. Makes this story even more interesting.

Did anybody get their legs broken after the double switch?
Mike Green - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#124717) #
Eight Men Out, the Eliot Asinof book and the John Sayles movie, would make a start.
Magpie - Thursday, August 04 2005 @ 11:41 PM EDT (#124731) #
Did anybody get their legs broken after the double switch?

Not that I know of.

Jackson did appear to have been somewhat afraid that shortstop Swede Risberg was capable of something like that, though.

"Swede is a hard guy."

Jays 4, White Sox 3 | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.