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Old Leather, Angels Batting Order, and Uncle Scrooge McCourt: Halolinks


With all of the new, highly evolved stats that have been introduced, I wonder why no one has done a study about the impact of the gloves used by fielders throughout the history of the game. Hanging on the wall of my den is an old glove I had bought at a swap meet quite a few years ago. Like most gloves, this one has a popular player's name embossed in the leather, this one features "Bill Jurges". I had never heard of Bill Jurges before, so, jumping over to baseball-reference, I found out Jurges played shortstop for the Cubs and Giants from 1931 to 1947 and was a National league all-star in '37, '39 and 1940. Jurges even received 2 Hall of Fame votes in 1949. Here's what Jurges' wikipedia page has:

Jurges was born in Bronx, New York. A right-handed batter and thrower, he was a light hitter — he batted only .258 in 1,816 games over 17 seasons — but a good defensive shortstop. During his eight seasons (1931-38) in Chicago, he anchored an infield of Stan Hack (third base), Billy Herman (second base), and Charlie Grimm or Phil Cavarretta (first base). He then played seven more seasons (1939-45) with the New York Giants before returning to the Cubs as a player-coach (1946-47) and non-playing coach (1948) under manager Grimm. In 1940, he was hit in the head by a pitched ball and missed over 90 games, but he recovered to play regularly for the Giants from 1941-43.

It also mentioned Jurges managed the Red Sox 80 games in 1959. However, the most interesting thing I read had to do with an incident that happened off of the field.

On July 6, 1932, Violet Valli, a showgirl with whom Jurges was romantically linked, tried to kill Jurges at the Hotel Carlos, where both lived. Jurges had previously tried to end their relationship. Valli (born Violet Popovich) also left a suicide note in which she blamed Cubs outfielder Kiki Cuyler for convincing Jurges to break up with her. Although initial reports stated that Jurges was shot while trying to wrestle the gun from Valli, later reports, based on Valli's suicide note, stated that she was trying to kill Jurges as well as commit suicide.

This incident would form the basis for portions of Bernard Malamud's novel The Natural.

A week after the shooting, charges were dismissed against Valli when Jurges appeared in court and announced that he would not testify and wished to drop the charges.

Anyway, back to the glove. When you put on, the "fingers" barely extend past my own, and doesn't feature much of a pocket. The webbing consists of a lone strap of leather about 2 inches long between the thumb and index finger. Compared to modern-day gloves, the gloves from this era could not match the advantages players had with gloves made over the last 40-50 years. How much did this impact pre-1950 hitting stats when diving plays by an infielder were not benefited by gloves that extended an additional 3 to 4 inches and featured a deeper pocket and webbing? How many home runs are brought back into the park by outfielders reaching over the fence with over-sized gloves?

If anyone has read of a study that equipment has had on statistics, please let me know. In the meantime, here are today's links:

Scioscia thinking about Angels' batting order - Baseball
On the first day position players reported to camp, Angels manager Mike Scioscia shed a little bit of light on what his batting order will look like. It sounds as though he likes Bobby Abreu in the No. 2 slot with Torii Hunter, Hideki Matsui, Kendry Morales, Juan Rivera and Howie Kendrick to follow.

The article also mentions Aybar and Izturis as lead-off candidates.

Tax men strike out against McCourts -
The McCourts, who own the Los Angeles Dodgers (so she says; he says he's the owner and she's not), jointly pocketed income totaling $108 million from 2004 through 2009, according to documents Jamie McCourt recently filed in the couple's divorce case in Los Angeles County Superior Court. On that sum, they paid zero federal and state income tax.

I'm sure there are two sides to this story. Something that recounts the billions of dollars the McCourts spent on building ball fields for under-privileged kids, hours spent at soup kitchens, etc. I'm sure of it...right?

Rangers believe Guerrero will return to greatness - Daily Pitch:
Vladimir Guerrero arrived Tuesday into the Texas Rangers' camp, and before even stepping into the cage, manager Ron Washington is anticipating greatness.

Yes, I hope Vlad has a great season and leads the Rangers to a second-place finish in the A.L. West. Heck, they can even have the wild card.

The Angels, Pecota, and some BS from BJ - THE BOOK
Let me start with James. Sometimes I wonder how such a smart guy can write such dumb things. "We know it is not luck." We obviously don’t know that it is not luck simply because it "happens every year," and a smart and responsible sabermetrician would never say something like that.

Another Angels/Pecota story, but this one features heresy by disagreeing with Bill James. Have mercy on their soul lest they perish into the vast darkness of the non-VORPness that befalls the unenlightened!

Fan sues Royals claiming hot dog almost put out his eye - Baseball
John Coomer has filed a lawsuit against the Royals seeking more than $25,000 for injuries he sustained Sept. 8 when he was smacked in the eye with a hot dog chucked by the team's mascot, Sluggerrr.

Look, how many times do I have to tell you...Stay out of the restroom when the mascot is peeing!

February 24 - BR Bullpen
1960 - Nick Esasky, infielder

Nothing spectacular about this, just like the way his name rolls off the tongue. Nnnnick Eeessaasskee.