May 24, 2011

Game 33 - Another Drubbing of the Naps

May 24, 1911
Philadelphia 9, Cleveland 1

In what must have felt to the home team like a nightmarish replay of yesterday’s game, the Athletics ran roughshod over a depleted Naps lineup to the tune of 9-1.

Coombs rebounded from his back-to-back poor starts (not to mention his concussion) and pitched 9 innings of 6-hit ball. He struck out five, but he also gave up the same number of free passes (Coombs has been having trouble with walks so far this season, though he’s always walked slightly more batters than average).

Home Run Baker* went 5-for-5 with two doubles and a triple. Eddie Collins had a rare off day at the plate, going 0-5. He’s still second in the league in hitting with a .428 average (behind McInnis of course, who’s still out of the lineup today). Here’s a note about his hitting style from Sporting Life:

Cleveland critics say that “it’s a wonder that Eddie Collins, of the Athletics, isn’t a nervous wreck. He is never still when at the plate. He twitches, shrugs his shoulders, swings his bat, changes his weight from one foot to the other, and does other stunts that are noticed only in nervous people.” There may be method in his apparent nervousness!

That sounds like a lot of modern players I can think of. Good thing they didn’t wear batting gloves back then, or constantly adjusting them could have added one more tic to Collins’s repertoire.

There’s some additional intrigue to this series, as rumors have been swirling all season that Cleveland was looking to snatch the Athletics’ captain and long-serving first baseman Harry Davis away to serve as manager. Now Davis is only hitting a paltry .220 (as of tomorrow), and he’ll turn 37 in July. So managing must be looking like a pretty attractive way to continue making an impact in the baseball world. Mack and Davis addressed the rumors to Sporting Life, thoroughly denying that any such move would happen this season, though Davis expressed interest in taking up the position next season, and the unnamed reporter considered it a fait accompli that it would happen eventually**:

The large reason why Davis was not permitted to go to Cleveland by Manager Mack lies in the fact that there is nobody to fill his shoes at first sack. In addition, he wants to round out his playing career in his native city, and under certain conditions this will probably be his last year as an active participant in the game. Captain Davis was perfectly frank in admitting that the proposition of managing the Naps could be made attractive enough to have him accept. But he could consider no change this season at least.

Davis’s game is deteriorating rapidly though, so Mack might have to get creative to find an option at first base. We’ll see how this plays out as the season progresses.

* Standard disclaimer applies: he hadn't earned that nickname yet, but I'll use it anyway, because it's awesome.

** Davis did end up managing the Naps in 1912. His brief tenure was marked by adversarial relationships with the press, fans, and even players. He resigned before the end of his first season with the club in 6th place. He ended up returning to Philadelphia as a player-coach under Mack.

[Today's sources: and box score:]

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