Don't Tell Me About the Crooked Wheel; Just Get the Hay Into the Barn

The 'Linkage' post to the right will be in the barn shortly. We had a slight bend in the URL wheel.  - Ed.

At Hey Bill:


HeyBill: have you ever analyzed the Korean War to end of Nam draft on the effect on pennant races due to absence of certain players? I assume Mays being out'52-'53 had to effect the Giants who won in '51 and then won again on Mays' return in '54. You've mentioned Martin, and Williams being out. There has to be many others who missed time due to military service, whether or not in combat. Carew missed (I think) a few weeks of reserve service for several years.
Asked by: FrankD

Answered: 2/22/2017
 I've never really studied it, no.    I would put it like this:  on August 1, 2006, the Red Sox were tied for first place.   In August, 2006, I think we had the worst run of injuries, probably, that any team has ever had.   Literally every player on our roster had some kind of injury that month, although some of them fought through it and stayed in the lineup.   Jon Lester was diagnosed with cancer.   Curt Schilling had a shoulder separation or some really serious shoulder problem.   David Ortiz was hospitalized twice with heart issues.   Manny was in and out of the lineup with leg problems.     Trot Nixon, Coco Crisp and Jason Varitek all had some serious issues.   Matt Clement, who had gone into the season as our #2 or 3 starter, was gone after being hit in the head by a line drive.   Serious stuff. . . .and lots of it.
We fell out of contention.   That winter I would talk to people about our team, about the season.   I would mention the injuries; they'd say, "Well, you know, everybody has injuries."   Nobody understood what had happened.   It doesn't matter.   When you lose, the only thing that counts is that you lost.   It made no impact on the public.   The press never really focused on it; the public never knew that it had happened.   Even Red Sox fans didn't really understand it.   Now, I talk to guys who were there, who lived through that with me. . .they hardly remember it.   It doesn't matter.   We lost.   That's all   That's what happened:  we lost.  
Same here.   When you lose, you lose; doesn't matter why.   It matters WHY you win and how you win and who helped you win.   When you lose, it doesn't matter why.  


Hmmmmm.... August 2006, THE worst string of injuries anybody EVER had.  That in itself is worth a cuppa coffee, to me... just the fa'ax, ma'am:

1)  As they went to bed on July 31st, the Red Sox had won on a walkoff to go 63 wins, 41 losses, up +1.0 in the AL East.

2)  SP4 Jon Lester had been called up on June 10 and pitched well to go 7-2, 4.76 in 81 innings although his back had begun to pain him.  The cancer diagnosis followed.

3)  SP1 Curt Schilling was 14-4 on Aug. 4 but didn't win again until he scrabbled a W the last day of the season.

4)  David Ortiz was hospitalized twice with heart (!) issues, but somewhow managed to keep hitting just as well.

5)  SP5 Matt Clement had already been hit in the head in June and wasn't availalble to be tossed onto the village cart.

6)  Trot Nixon was slugging .332/.437/.488 on July 4th, a line Edgar Martinez would be proud of, but rolled off the table to .268/.373/.394 by the end of the year.

7)  Jason Varitek was struggling all the way through, I guess; he'd OPS+'ed over 120 the prvious three years, like .269/.390/.482, but hit only .238/.235/.400 at age 34.

8)  Coco Crisp I'm not sure about; he dropped off from 34 runs scored in the 1H to 24 runs in the 2H, and maybe the Sox lost a lot of their outfield defense to a leg injury or something like that.

But in addition to those seven big name players, the 2006 had Manny Ramirez (!), the 27-year-old Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell 3B (20 HR, 80 RBI), Wily Mo Pena (.498 SLG) .... Gabe Kapler, Dustin Pedroia getting a cup of coffee, Carlos Pena.   Pitching, they had Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield ... in the bullpen Jon Papelbon getting 35 saves, Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin.


You notice that James isn't complaining that the fans won't cut the Red Sox any slack.  He's marvelling about how the Red Sox themselves won't cut themselves any slack.  This is something very remarkable.

There is some (apocryphal) story about Johnny Unitas playing semi-pro for $6 a game and throwing for 550 yards, or whatever.  His team lost 51-48 or something.  His wife asked, "How'd it go?" A teammate asked, what did you tell her.  "That we lost."

There is a real value in this, in the idea that the Space Shuttle has to make it back to ground safely; don't prep your excuses, just pull those astronauts out of the capsule.  ... James seems to have little interest in how baseball history would have played out absent the wars.


Wow, Jon Lester has 5 years to go on a $125,000,000 contract.


Dr D


Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.