Self-Congratulations And Another Gem From The Hall

Nate McLouth, since his trade to the Atlanta Braves:

.263/.344/.433/.777, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 9 SB, 34 R

Andrew McCutchen, since McLouth was traded, and he replaced him in Pittsburgh:

.293/.349/.488/.837, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 9 SB, 37 R

This blog, from June 3, 2009:

Did Pirates Upgrade In Center?

Don’t get me wrong about Nate McLouth. Great guy, hustles, works hard, busted his butt at an All-Star Game, better than anything the Braves had in their outfield before tonight’s trade. I’m just not convinced Pittsburgh didn’t improve its line-up by replacing him with Andrew McCutchen….The key to this trade is that McLouth’s replacement does not come from it. McCutchen, who arrives in Pittsburgh as McLouth’s equal in speed and outfield skill, probably more than his equal for batting average, and eventually capable of producing 75% of his power, nearly made the majors out of spring training. The Pirates were sorely tempted to damn arbitration and take him north – that’s how authoritative a hitter he looked in Florida.

I do not see McCutchen keeping up homer-for-homer with McLouth and the RBI margin seems out-of-joint. But the point is, you’d be hard-pressed to criticize the Pirates for this trade – and this wasn’t the trade.


It was not McLouth for McCutchen, it was McLouth for Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez, and Jeff Locke. Also, to this point, the first guy out of the minors in the haul for McLouth, Morton, is 2-3, 3.72, with three quality starts out of eight (and three out of his last five) and the number is so low because he left injured after one inning in his first, and was pulled after five and about a 90-pitch limit in two others. In short, he’s started eight times, pitched well six, pitched startlingly well, twice.

Two months is a pretty good sample size. This is not to say the Braves made a mistake dealing for McLouth. But the Pirates came out more ahead of the roster shuffling then did Atlanta, and the difference is likely to grow with time.

BACK TO COOPERSTOWN:

Spent three days, all told, in the library, in the photo archive (actually a giant room with 25,000 images, kept in cold storage, including the original images from Addie Joss day in Cleveland in 1911 – you’ve seen them – the American League All-Stars with Walter Johnson and Cy Young and Nap Lajoie, and Ty Cobb in a Cleveland uniform). I hope to illustrate something remarkable from the photo vault in the next few days, but in the interim, another special something from the scorebook collection:

IMG_0917.jpg

This is the 1947 book of veteran New York baseball writer Tom Meany – his bibliography is a couple of pages worth and he ended up as PR Director of the Mets. And that’s Jackie Robinson’s debut game. Closer:
IMG_0917.jpg
That’s him, batting second: “Robby.”
Better still, on the preceding pages, Meany shows he was at the final Dodger exhibition games, including Robinson’s last with Montreal against the Dodgers, and then two exhibitions at Ebbets Field for the Dodgers, against… the Yankees.

5 Comments

Thanks Keith for the book suggestions and for sharing your summer vacation with us. I work with many baseball fans and when I told them you were spending time in the HOF basement, they were so envious of you. They thought it was soooooo cool. One man I work with grew up in NYC and he used to go to the Polo Grounds as a kid. He didn’t live too far from this park in particular. He has been ill, so I ordered The Early Polo Grounds book for him (and myself as well). He’s going to love it. He’s a huge baseball fan and a very very nice man.

For those fans out there who love the old days of baseball, the book many consider to be the best of them all -The Glory Of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It by Lawrence Ritter – was done through tape recorded interviews with the players themselves. fyi: you can hear some of these interviews on youtube. Youtube also has tons of actual film of the dead ball era – the best one is of Walter Johnson pitching.

“If anybody asks me who my favorite pitcher of all-time is, I say Warren Spahn.” – Whitey Ford

Hey Keith-

I just ran across your blog today and it is great stuff! I have a quick question for you. My wife and I met you at the HOF Reception on Saturday night (she got a photo with you after she told you what a big fan she was), anyway, you appeared to have a book in your jacket pocket, that I thought was Who’s Who in Baseball, although the jacket cover looked blue not red. So my question is which book was it?

Thanks in advance and keep up the great work!
Mark

ps, if you send me an e-mail I’ll forward you her photo

It’s getting to the point in Pittsburgh that, despite being a Cubs fan, I’m really hoping Pittsburgh can turn it around at some point and actually contend.
I think the McLouth trade is one that makes both teams better ultimately, however I’m not sure the organization can sell any of the trades they’ve made of late (in the last 3 years) to their fans as making them better IF they continue to lose.
Someone the other day was comparing the Pirates to the Marlins running their teams essentially the same except the Marlins would keep their young talent for 4 or 5 years and build a competitive team with them THEN dismantle them and start again.
Is it the lack of depth in the Pirate minor-league system?
The unwillingness to spend any money whatsoever?
It seems to me that Pirates could keep their payroll relatively stable (and low) with players like McLouth and Jason Bay, and the LaRouche brothers at least for a few years, then once in a position to possibly contend, spend big for one year and buy a few pieces to put them over the top. Then take it all apart the next year and go back to the beginning. That’s the Marlins formula it seems and they’ve won a couple of World Series.

Ron

Keith, I’m glad you’re back on MSNBC, because seeing all the great stuff you were finding at Cooperstown was giving me pain! Wonderful stuff!

About Tom Meany’s box score, for what it’s worth, Robinson batted second after Eddie Stanky, an Alabaman who hadn’t wanted to be on the same team with him and eventually stood up for Robinson as other teams hounded him. Pete Reiser followed, and then came Dixie Walker, who asked Branch Rickey to trade him, which Rickey eventually did. Many years later, when he was the batting coach for the Dodgers, Walker said he was wrong, and Steve Garvey, who worked with Walker, said he thought the Dodgers didn’t pay much attention to Walker’s role in the team’s history because of the position he took on Robinson.

Keith, you may want to rethink that self congratulation a moment as you assess the last twelve or so Pirate “games”….

I’m not sure if I’m watching spring training ’10 or what…

But if the Pirates truly believe in Jeff Salazar, they might want to ship him back to the minors for more steady at bats before he is completely mentally destroyed.

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