Saturday, 10 December 2011

Life imitates "Major League" part 2

Since we now have this internet dealio, I thought I might actually try to solve the Mystery of the Missing Games. Baseball-reference showed that the Indians didn't play any games that year between May 13-19, but then, when I checked on the other AL teams, it turns out they didn't play during that week either. Was it something to do with V-E Day occurring the previous week? Nope. Baseball Library's chronology showed that all of the AL games were rained out for four straight days (see the entry for May 18). That, and having their end of the season doubleheader against the White Sox rained out (see entry for Sept. 30), probably accounts for most of the missing games. The team vs. team stats for the year for the Sox and the As show that they played two and four (respectively) fewer games against the Indians than their other opponents -- it appears that, in a season with a lot of rainouts, the Indians were hit the worst.

In the course of this research, if you can call it that, some fascinating sidelights turned up, as always, like the fact that the A's in '45 had a road record of 13-63. Putrid. The chronology for September 1945 is overflowing with interesting tidbits: a DiMaggio hit his 4th grand slam of the season, but it was Vince not Joe; the Yankees, due to the wartime player shortage, used a pitcher whose last major league appearance had been 22 years earlier; one home run was hit by the Senators in their home stadium all year, and it was an inside-the-parker; there was a no-hitter and Bob Feller's sixth career one-hitter (he would wind up with 12 for his career, along with 3 no-hitters); a contending AL team (the Senators) wrapped up their season a week before everyone else; a record was set for walks in a season; the Cubs set a record with 20 doubleheader sweeps in a season, and also wound up with 21 wins against the Reds for the season (against one loss); a batting title was won on the last day of the season; a pigeon figured in two plays; one-armed outfielder Pete Gray got his last major league hit; and Bobo Newsom and Johnny Dickshot are mentioned.

Anyways, what will the league do this year if the Indians are in contention and have played 3 or so fewer games than the other contenders? Last year, St. Louis and San Francisco would have had to make up a game on the Monday between the end of the season on Sunday and the start of the playoffs on Tuesday if the game had been of consequence to the standings (it wasn't), but there isn't time to make up a whole lost series. So there could be some weird wild stuff if the Indians are in the race for the playoffs (and the punditry says they will be).

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