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MONTHLY NEWSLETTER  |  AUGUST 2020

Whose Hall of Fame Chances Will Be Hurt Most by Shortened 2020 Season?

What does a short season mean to the players who have their sights set on Cooperstown? Will the 100 missed games have an impact on a candidate? Will someone miss out on 3,000 hits or 500 home runs because of the shortened season? Will someone who is sitting out the season miss that window to forge a case for the Hall of Fame?
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QUOTED ........................................................

“There’s nothing I like better than hitting a ball hard, clean and hard. The feel and the sound of it . . . it’s just beautiful. I love putting on that tapered uniform and going out there in front of people.”
 
— Reggie Jackson

What Is The Mendoza Line?

How did one player become the measuring stick for offensive futility?
MORE ABOUT MARIO

BORN THIS MONTH


Between 1900 and 1972, baseball had smooth, kissable cheeks. There was an unwritten rule against facial hair, and only two players violated that edict. One was Stanley “Frenchy” Bordagaray, a colorful outfielder who showed up at spring training in 1936 with a pencil-thin mustache he’d grown in the off-season for a movie role. His manager, Casey Stengel, thought it was so cute that he never ordered Bardagaray to shave it off. 

The other player who ignored convention was Wally Schang, who wore a thick mustache in 1914 when he was playing for the Philadelphia Athletics. The 24-year old catcher apparently didn’t get any flak over his “soup strainer” and the A’s won the pennant that year. It was 58 years until Reggie Jackson reported to spring camp in 1972 with a mustache. Reggie later proceeded to grow a beard and several teammates grew facial hair too, after team owner Charlie Finley offered bonuses for doing so. In October, the A’s played the clean-shaven Reds in a World Series that was called “The Hairs Versus The Squares.” Wally would have pulled for the A’s, for sure. 

Schang played at a time when managers preferred a two-catcher rotation. Catchers before 1925 were held to about 110-115 games per year regardless of how good they were. People thought the position was too demanding. That’s unfortunate, because Schang was durable and still a valuable ballplayer into his late 30s. A switch-hitter, he was productive from both sides of the plate and his .392 career on-base percentage ranks second to Mickey Cochrane among catchers.
ALL-TIME CATCHER RANKINGS
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