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Old 03-05-2012, 10:38 PM   #182 (permalink)
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1919-20 OFF-SEASON


Empire League
Hitter: Robert Ducker, Bradford (.284, 16 HR, 85 RBI, 93 R, 17 3B, 45 SB, .334 OBP, .467 SLG)
Pitcher: Ken Drummond, Liverpool (27-9, 2.61 ERA, 331.2 IP, 152 K, 1.20 WHIP, .238 OAVG)
Manager: Jeremy Gregory, Liverpool (94-60, 1st place)
Rookie: Tony Chetwynd, Bradford (16-13, 2.34 ERA, 288 IP, 91 K, 1.25 WHIP)

Dominion Association
Hitter: Robert Crober, Belfast (.339, 1 HR, 76 RBI, 101 R, 22 3B, 51 SB, .417 OBP, .463 SLG)
Pitcher: Allan "Big Stick" Milborn, Stoke (24-14, 2.06 ERA, 341 IP, 133 K, 1.14 WHIP, .236 OAVG)
Manager: Matt Arnett, Glasgow (88-66, 1st place)
Rookie: Curran Newmarch, Glasgow (.349, 3 HR, 65 RBI, 60 R, .384 OBP, .482 SLG)

Newmarch put up impressive numbers in only eighty-five games, as his playing time was limited by two trips to the DL totalling nine weeks.


When William "Gaffer" Love announced his retirement after the close of the 1914 season, there was no question that he would be standing in Clappersgate five years later, accepting his induction to the Hall of Fame. Love, who spent his entire twenty-one-year career with Leeds, finished with 3,624 hits and holds the career records for hits, runs, RBI, at-bats, singles, doubles, stolen bases, and walks. A true giant of the game, he was named the DA's outstanding hitter a record six times and won the batting titles in 1897 and 1899. A seventeen-time selection to the all-star squad, he appeared in seven Cup Finals Series, where he had fifty-three hits and a .294 average and carried home the MVP trophies in 1901 and 1907.

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The venerable William Revell, still going strong at age forty for the Bristol Dockers, recorded his 300th win when he defeated Kensington on 19 May. Later in the season, Westminster ace "Gorgeous" Henry Pitchforth repeated the feat when he beat Edinburgh 9-2 on 2 September for his 300th victory. Roger Britten's base hit in the seventh inning of the 3 August contest against Dublin delighted the hometown Nottingham crowd, as it marked Britten's 3000th career hit. The Forester first baseman later passed Ed Densmore into second-place on the all-time hits list behind recent Hall of Fame inductee "Gaffer" Love. Stoke outfielder Conor Noblett had seven RBI on three hits, including a two-run homer, in a 22-3 win over Bristol on 28 July.


Attendance was up throughout the BA, although the Spanish flu epidemic still kept crowds below their pre-war levels. That was enough, though, to prompt Hull's management to announce the construction of a new ballpark for the 1920 season. The optimistic mood was buoyed by plans to celebrate the Alliance's fiftieth anniversary. Special ceremonies to mark the occasion will be held in all the BA ballparks on opening day, and an old-timers' game, pitting former stars from the EL and DA, will be held prior to the All-Star Game.

The Rules Subcommittee announced the first major rule change since the adoption of the foul-strike rule when it ruled that the spitball and other "trick" pitches would no longer be tolerated. Not only was the practice of loading the ball with spit,, tobacco juice, licorice, slippery elm, and other substances decried as unsanitary, but batters complained that the discolored and damaged balls were difficult to see in late afternoon games. Umpires have now been instructed to remove such balls from play.

On the eve of spring training, doctors gave Glasgow starter "Uncle" Chris Ledrew the bad news: medical science had done all that it could to treat the elbow injury he suffered at the end of the 1919 season, and it wasn't enough to permit him to return to the diamond. An eighteen-game winner last year, Ledrew, had accumulated a 54-43 record in a Gaelics uniform. Dublin relief ace John "Kingfish" Pynchon tore a shoulder muscle in a spring game on 13 March and will miss the first half of the season.


A disappointing season turned disastrous as Westminster lost their two best players to serious injuries late in the season. On 13 September, in a game at Camberwell, Aidan "Tido" Mabley left the game in the fifth inning complaining of pain in his left elbow. A post-game examination confirmed the team's worst fears: he had ruptured a ligament, and, as a result, will likely sit out all of next year. Ten days later, in a 23 September game against the Whitecaps at home, Devin Mabson, trying to beat out an infield hit, collided with Camberwell first baseman Greg Helton and landed awkwardly on his right knee. He was carried from the field in a stretcher, and doctors diagnosed it as a fractured kneecap. The outfielder will be on crutches for seven months at least, which means he'll miss the beginning of the 1920 season.

The loss of Mabley and Mabson provided a cruel coda to the 1919 season. Earlier in the year, left hander Christopher O'Shinnick, in his eleventh start, went down with an elbow ailment that required surgery, which put him on the shelf for the remainder of the campaign. That began a rash of injuries, big and small, that ravaged the Peers, preventing them from sustaining any forward momentum and necessitating a raid on the team's minor-league talent, whether or not they were ready for the big leagues. There were, nevertheless, some pleasant surprises. Infielders Tim Savill, Nick Ilett, and Jonathan Henn performed well in their limited time on the big club, and no doubt will compete for full-time jobs in spring training. Savill and Henn, in particular, ascended rapidly through the ranks, having been signed to their first professional contracts in the spring and moving up from the Third Tier through the Second Tier to the majors in one year. American right hander Jerry Parker made the same quick trip from the amateur ranks to the big leagues and performed creditably in a spot starter role, going 7-6 with a 3.97 ERA. Meanwhile, rookie Robert Nethersole took over the main catching duties after veteran Jonathan Wallace's batting average slipped below .200 and responded with a .260 mark in sixty-one games while throwing out forty-six per cent of baserunners attempting to steal on him. All in all, the season to come is one that Westminster fans will greet with a mixture of hope and trepidation.
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